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Closing the digital and economic divides in rural America

These experiences of rural Americans highlight the need for expanded universal service programs, like the Lifeline program, that provide discounted communications services to eligible, low-income populations. The program was established by the FCC during the Reagan administration in 1985, but recent efforts by the agency to apply stricter scrutiny on eligibility criteria and to limit the program benefits will greatly affect the Mulgrave family and so many others like them who struggle to maintain this required service.

Economic Returns to Rural Infrastructure Investments

Farm Foundation has released six papers commissioned to examine specific issues critical to rural infrastructure development. Understanding the economic returns on investing in rural infrastructure improvements is a critical element in the decision-making process for public and private investors. “As the nation addresses rural infrastructure needs, it is vital that public and private decision makers have the best information possible on the economic and social returns of their investments,” says Farm Foundation President Constance Cullman.

USDA Launches Webpage Highlighting Resources to Help Rural Communities Bridge the Broadband e-Connectivity Infrastructure Gap

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a new webpage featuring information about the importance of rural e-Connectivity and the ways the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing to help deploy high-speed broadband infrastructure in rural America. “Rural high-speed broadband e-Connectivity is as important for economic development as rail, roads, bridges and airports – and as vital as the buildouts of rural telephone networks were decades ago,” Perdue said.

California Vineyards Struggle Amid Farmworker Shortage

The ongoing battle over immigration could hit wine lovers in the wallet as many California vineyards are struggling to find seasonal workers to assist with harvesting the 2018 crop. Wine makers face a perfect storm of problems regarding the issue: The ongoing battle about U.S. immigration policies and competition from other higher-paying, local industries, such as construction, which are helping the area recover from last year’s wildfires.

In a changing climate, will fire make a bigger run in Washington’s west-side forests?

The findings, detailed in a study that he led, show that trees had yet to return to some of the driest edges of burn zones, which were dominated by shrubs and grasses. In other areas, trees did take root, but there were fewer of them than in moister, cooler times.On the east side, in forests dominated by thick-barked ponderosa pine, low-intensity fires in centuries past often came every five to 30 years, clearing out brush and small trees.

Corporate ag reports huge profits while farmers struggle to feed their families

All the talk around the farm bill is about the differences in proposals for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — a conversation we need to have. But, there is little talk about why so many families in rural America, including farm families, need food stamps in the first place. We have a bona fide farm crisis on our hands. According to the USDA, farm income has dropped for a fifth straight year, often below costs, and will be the lowest in 12 years.

From The Dairy Crisis To Rising Interest Rates, An Agricultural Economist Answers

In face of the recent dairy price crisis, the focus has been on making the U.S. dairy support system more robust, with no real energy on the supply control side. Since dairy is increasingly a global market, it is hard to see a policy solution to this crisis. If low prices continue, that will reduce farmers' incentives to adopt new technologies, and over time demand might finally catch up with supply, but it could be a long hard slog to get there.

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