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.
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.
Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced a historic commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade and rebuild rural water infrastructure. “USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures,” Hazlett said.
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.
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.
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.
“Trade, not aid.” That’s what farmers, ranchers and their elected officials keep telling the Trump administration they want. They have worked hard over the years to grow their export opportunities, forging critical relationships in China, Mexico, the European Union, Canada and other markets.
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.
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.