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Rural

Wild hogs can now be shot from helicopters in North Carolina

Now wild hogs can be culled by aircraft in North Carolina — provided they are shot by federal or state wildlife control officers.  The 2016 North Carolina Farm Act, which lawmakers passed July 1, contains two sentences making the change.

A look at how and why North Dakota became a leader in deployment of fiber optic Internet

A fiber optic connection is considered the “gold standard” for quality, high-speed Internet access, and in the Midwest, it’s in pretty short supply. Except in North Dakota. In the region’s most sparsely populated state, 60 percent of the households, including those on farms in far-flung areas, have fiber. (That compares to 24 percent in the Midwest, where most of the existing fiber networks serve urban areas.) In all, North Dakota ranks fifth in the nation in fiber access.

Kansas extends ‘angel investor’ tax credit; North Dakota mulls changes to its program

Lawmakers in two Midwestern states have given close scrutiny in recent months to a targeted tax credit that has become an increasingly popular policy tool for trying to help entrepreneurs and startup companies. Known as “angel investor” tax credits, these incentives encourage investment in early-stage firms by mitigating some of the potential loss if a company fails. Most states in the Midwest have some form of this tax credit. Kansas’ 11-year-old program was on track to sunset this year, but passage of SB 149 extended it for five years.

The True Cost of Rural Hospital Closures

After 66 years in business, my hometown hospital recently closed its doors to patients. Gone is the emergency room, skilled nursing facility, lab, radiology, and physical therapy services — as well as 67 full-time jobs.  Meanwhile, in the past six years. 72 rural hospitals in the U.S. have closed, including nine already in 2016.  One in three rural hospitals is at risk of closing, and according to the National Rural Health Association’s Journal of Rural Health, closure rates have increased 600 percent in the put five years.

Broadband Access: We are all in the middle of somewhere

Fast Internet access is the critical element in building healthier rural economies that create opportunity and improve quality of life. Here are some ways to get your community focused on the need for speed. Lack of Leadership is a deal breaker. Transitioning to the digital age implies change, and many rural communities are not thrilled about change. It is critical to have at least one trusted local champion. The local champion or champions should introduce the concept and work with the community to drive the efforts.

Farmers, Fisherman have highest suicide rates

Farmers, lumberjacks and fishermen have the highest suicide rate in the U.S., while librarians and educators have the lowest, according to a large study that found enormous differences across occupations. The study didn't explore the reasons behind the differences, but researchers found the highest suicide rates in manual laborers who work in isolation and face unsteady employment. High rates were also seen in carpenters, miners, electricians and people who work in construction. Mechanics were close behind.

After the Flood

Larry Winkelmann has never seen flooding like he has seen this spring. The 68-year-old cow/calf producer from Burton, Texas, located halfway between Houston and Austin, saw about 400 acres of his grassland under water earlier this month. Flooding has been an issue in the region for several months now. Corrie Bowen, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Wharton County, said heavy rains in mid-April caused the Colorado and San Bernard Rivers in his county to flow out of their banks.

USDA Announces Telemedicine Funding to Address Opioid Epidemic in Appalachia

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced five Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant awards to help provide treatment for the growing opioid epidemic in rural central Appalachia. Vilsack made the announcement as he hosted a town hall in Abingdon to address the opioid crisis in rural America, the first in a series. In January, President Obama tasked Secretary Vilsack, who is chair of the White House Rural Council, with leading a federal interagency effort focused on rural opioid use.

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