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Gov. Reynold signs executive order aiming to help rural Iowa communities

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is hoping to help rural areas of the state through an executive order.  Reynolds signed the order Wednesday that creates the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, according to a release. They say the initiative will identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes through a partnership with the Iowa Rural Development Council. with co-chairs Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Sandy Ehrig of the Iowa Rural Development Council.

Rural America is spending 40% more on energy bills

Rural households across the United States spend a disproportionately high share of their income on energy bills — about 40 percent more than their metropolitan counterparts, according to a new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) coalition. The problem is most glaring in the East and Southeast, and among low-income households across all regions.

All wildfires are not alike, but the U.S. is fighting them that way

In cities we know how to keep houses from burning. We have to relearn that in areas where human developments mingle with forests. It will need to be a local task, not just a federal one.  So far, the 2018 fire season has produced a handful of big fires in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado; conflagrations in Oklahoma and Kansas; and a fire bust in Alaska, along with garden-variety wildfires from Florida to Oregon. Some of those fires are in rural areas, some are in wildlands, and a few are in exurbs.

Two rural communities cross the political divide

When Massachusetts and Kentucky residents from politically polar-opposite regions met, it was “love at first sight.” Led by Paula Green, who has led “conflict transformation” efforts for decades in Bosnia, Rwanda and other trouble spots around the world, Hands Across the Hills has included more than a dozen hours of direct dialogue — last October in Leverett and then in April in Whitesburg, Ky.

United States Drought Monitor Shows Growing Drought

An active summer pattern continued over the central and northern Plains and into the upper Midwest, with several areas seeing well above normal precipitation associated with thunderstorms. Along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, precipitation was plentiful and widespread as ample moisture continued to be transported into the region. The precipitation along the Gulf also helped to keep temperatures 1-3 degrees cooler than normal for this time of year.

People on food stamps may no longer be able to shop at farmers’ markets

Squabbles over a government contract may prevent low-income families from having easy access to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. At issue: The ability of low-income Americans on government assistance to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to buy food at farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets have to be equipped to accept the EBT cards. If markets are not able to operate devices that can handle EBT payments, vendors must use manual paper vouchers instead. Congress has approved $4 million each year so the USDA can provide EBT equipment to markets and farmers, the USDA said.

Missouri governor signs law banning marriage of 15-year-olds

Missouri — long the easiest state in the nation for 15-year-olds to wed — has outlawed the practice. Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed into law Senate Bill 655. Before, Missouri was one of 25 states with no minimum marriage age. And Missouri was the only state that allowed children age 15 to marry with only one parent’s approval, even if the other parent objected. Children younger than 15 needed a judge’s approval.

Wisconsin dairy farms no longer burning, burying plastics, thanks to recycling company

Wisconsin farms use and dispose of hundreds to thousands of pounds of plastic items each year, but only a small portion of it is accepted by many recycling centers.  That is why Revolution Plastics has stepped up to accept agriculture plastics like silage bags, bale wraps and oxygen barriers that other recycling centers are unable to.   "Ag plastics used on Wisconsin dairy farms come covered in silage, mud and sometimes manure."  said Price Murphy, director of operations for Revolution Plastics. "Feed, in particular, leaves distinct aroma on the plastics that is hard to get out.

Florida Announces 1.6 Million for Support Projects in Rural Communities

Governor Scott announced that more than $1.6 million has been awarded to support projects in rural communities across the state. This grant funding was provided through the Rural Infrastructure Fund to help with the planning, preparation and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities. These projects will result in job creation, capital investment and the strengthening and diversification of Florida’s rural economies. During Gov. Scott’s time in office, every county has had a decrease in unemployment and every region in Florida has experienced job growth.

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