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A rural city's aggressive push for more housing

In rural Oregon, a lack of new and good quality housing hampers economic development in communities that are desperate for investment.   The lack of new housing means rural communities miss out on valuable property taxes that could be used to provide many of the amenities enjoyed by urban residents.   In the small eastern Oregon city of John Day, government officials have a plan to reverse this trend by offering generous financial incentives for new home construction and remodels. John Day, pop. 1,674, currently has 170 acres of underdeveloped land that has almost no tax value.

Commodity prices decline, farmer suicides rise

Ag suicides are the greatest unreported tragedy of its kind in America and around the world. If veteran suicide in America is epidemic, ag suicide is pandemic. Here's the hard data: Suicides among a group labeled Farming/Fishing/Forestry totaled 84.5 per hundred thousand. Far behind in second place was Construction/Extraction at 53.3 per hundred thousand. A few weeks ago, Washington state legislators unanimously passed House Bill 2671 which establishes a pilot program for free suicide prevention for employees of the agriculture industry.

House approves massive bill to fight opioid addiction

The House overwhelmingly passed legislation Friday that would give several federal agencies more tools to fight opioid addiction and death in the U.S., and open the door to more treatment and prevention for the public. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act passed in an easy 396-14 vote following months of hearings and debate. The legislation helps to direct some of the $4 billion in funding for the crisis that Congress approved as part of a long-term spending deal this year.

Rural Mainstreet Index at Highest Level in Almost 5 Years

For a fourth straight month the overall index rose above growth neutral. On average, bankers expect farm loan defaultsto rise by only 3.0 percent over the next 12 months. • Over the past year, average annual cash rents on farmland declined by 3.0 percent to $239 per acre. More than one-third of bank CEOs identified rising regulatory costs as the top economic challenge to their banking operations over the next five years.

Investing in Rural America

Senate and House Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday released a report, "Investing in Rural America," on the needs of rural America and promised to push congress to invest more in rural areas.In a call to reporters, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., the ranking Democrat on the committee, said, "Many rural communities are still recovering from the Great Recession, more than 10 years after it hit us. Millions of rural residents lack reliable access to broadband. The rural population is aging and shrinking, and wages have been stuck for too long.

What the U.S. Could Learn from Australia about Financing Infrastructure

As an Australian, I’ve have been resisting the temptation these past few months to react to the Trump Administration’s big infrastructure plans with “The U.S. could learn a lot from my country.” The international comparison gambit rarely works well in America, and I don’t want to appear too parochial. But I have learned a lot from the Australian example, and I think now is the time to share, as the Trump Administration pursues a plan of federal infrastructure investment intended to stimulate state, local and private investments.

USDA Launches Interactive Map of Opioid Epidemic Resources

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a new interactive feature on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural opioid misuse webpage. Now webpage visitors can use an interactive map to learn about, access or replicate actions rural leaders are taking in small towns across the country to address the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment and recovery opportunities. The interactive map can be viewed at

Florida lawmakers wrongly diverted money meant for conservation, judge rules

State lawmakers failed to comply with a voter-approved constitutional amendment to buy and preserve environmentally sensitive lands, a judge ruled. Leon Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with environmental groups in the lawsuit centered on whether lawmakers defied the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative by improperly diverting portions of the money to such expenses as staffing. Legislative leaders have repeatedly disputed such allegations as they continued to make such budget allocations. Attorney David Guest — representing the Florida Wildlife Federation, the St.

Nearly 41,000 homes in Louisiana could be at risk of chronic flooding by 2045

By 2045, nearly 41,000 homes in Louisiana could be at risk of chronic disruptive flooding caused by sea level rise.   The report says nearly 99,000 people could be affected by floods that would happen 26 times a year or more. The value of the homes affected by the flooding is pegged at nearly $4.3 billion, contributing $36 million in property taxes. Louisiana faces an additional problem: the number of poor people who live in homes at risk of flooding.


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