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Rural News

Rural residents pool cash to save last bars, gathering sites

Sioux City Journal | Posted on January 4, 2017

Once-bustling Renwick, Iowa, lost its grocery, hardware store, school and Ford dealership years ago, but when its sole bar closed last June, it seemed to some residents there wasn't much of a town left. So a group of seven friends and spouses who had met for beers at the bar for decades took matters into their own hands. One of them bought the place and the others pooled their money to fix it up, showing up after work to replace floors and walls on steamy summer nights before reopening in September as the Blue Moose Saloon. It was an impressive achievement but one that is becoming more common as population continues to trickle away from rural America. Residents of some towns are scrambling to hold on to at least a few places where people can still get together. It's not just bars but groceries, cafes and other stores.

Rural-urban divide missing in Idaho, survey finds

Capital Press | Posted on January 3, 2017

The rural-urban divide that splits many states hasn’t reached Idaho yet, a new survey shows. The University of Idaho survey found that residents of Idaho’s two main urban counties see eye-to-eye with their rural counterparts in Owyhee County on many natural resource issues, such as public lands grazing and logging. Owyhee County in southwestern Idaho is heavily dependent on agriculture, particularly raising livestock. Some 80 percent of the county’s economic output is tied to the farming industry.

College helps Okla. tribe build meat plant

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on January 3, 2017

The University of Arkansas Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences and School of Law are helping the Quapaw Tribe design and build a meat processing plant near Miami, Okla., to produce and maintain a sustainable local food supply, the college announced in a news release. The $1 million facility, expected to begin operations in May 2017, also will provide the school’s students opportunities for training. The plant will include a classroom, laboratory and test kitchen, and is being designed to process up to 50

New Michigan law helps protect pets from animal abusers

Detroit Free Press | Posted on December 31, 2016

A package of bills intended to keep pets away from known animal abusers was signed into law Wednesday by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.  The bills passed the Legislature with strong bipartisan support in December. The bills allow Michigan animal shelters to conduct a criminal background check using the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) and determine whether someone has a criminal history of animal abuse before allowing adoption of an animal. Earlier versions of the bills would have required a criminal background check, but the legislation was watered down during the recent lame duck session.

City approves expanded plans for Costco poultry plant

Watt Ag Net | Posted on December 29, 2016

City council in Fremont, Nebraska, unanimously approves plans that would expand proposed size of poultry plant and hatchery. The new plans state that the plant would cover an area of 360,000 square feet, up substantially from the earlier proposed size of 250,000 square feet. The other amended plan is for an associated hatchery. The first proposal was for the hatchery to cover 75,000 square feet, but the revision calls for 85,000 square feet.Fremont citizens in attendance at the council meeting voiced worries that the city may end up paying more for infrastructure improvements to support the larger poultry plant.In order to support the poultry plant between 50 and 75 contract growers would be needed to raise nearly 17 million broilers annually. Nebraska currently has about 1 million broilers

PETA: Still Wasteful An Ocean Away

Consumer Freedom | Posted on December 22, 2016

As we approach the end of 2016, charities across America will be passing the hat. As usual, people should do their homework and make sure they give to a group that will use their money as intended. That means cross the Humane Society of the United States (doesn’t run a single pet shelter) and PETA (wastes money on juvenile street theater) off your list if you’re a discerning donor. It turns out things aren’t much better overseas. According to PETA Germany’s financials—viewable here if you sprechen some Deutsch—almost half the group’s donations are spent on staff salaries. Most of the remainder is spent on PR. And not a dime from these financials appears to go towards feeding a cat, dog, or any other animal, with other expenses being for legal work, rent, depreciation, and travel. Perhaps it’s for the better that PETA doesn’t appear to run any animal centers in Germany. PETA does run an animal shelter here in the US at its Virginia headquarters, but the food it gives to pets may consist of their last meal. According to a filing PETA made with the state, in 2015 it killed about 1,500 animals at its headquarters and had an adoption rate of just 3%.

Freezing in record lows? You may doubt global warming

Science Daily | Posted on December 22, 2016

If you're shivering from unusually teeth-rattling cold this holiday season, global warming is probably the last thing on your mind. "The local weather conditions people experience likely play a role in what they think about the broader climate," says Utah State University researcher Peter Howe. "Climate change is causing record-breaking heat around the world, but the variability of the climate means that some places are still reaching record-breaking cold. If you're living in a place where there's been more record cold weather than record heat lately, you may doubt reports of climate change."Howe says people's beliefs about climate change are driven by many factors, but a new study in which he participated suggests weather events in your own backyard may be an important influence.

Researchers estimate 10,000 metric tons of plastic enter Great Lakes every year

Science Daily | Posted on December 22, 2016

A new study that inventories and tracks high concentrations of plastic in the Great Lakes could help inform cleanup efforts and target pollution prevention. Researchers found that nearly 10,000 metric tons -- or 22 million pounds -- of plastic debris enter the Great Lakes every year from the United States and Canada.

Using the ERS County Economic Types To Explore Demographic and Economic Trends in Rural Areas

USDA- ERS | Posted on December 20, 2016

The 2015 ERS County Typology Codes classify all U.S. counties according to six categories of economic dependence: farming, mining, manufacturing, Federal/State government, recreation, and nonspecialized counties. ERS developed this typology to help characterize the socioeconomic diversity of rural America. Counties are usually classified as dependent on a particular sector when the share of employment or earnings in that sector is markedly above the average. While both rural and urban areas are now classified under the typology, this article focuses on how the diversity reflected in the typology can be used to better understand variation in demographic and economic trends in rural areas. The significance of these economic specializations can be seen in population trends for several major county types. Population trends reflect both migration and natural increase (the number of births minus deaths). Short-term changes in population growth largely reflect changing migration patterns, while long-term trends are also influenced by age structure and trends in fertility and mortality.Recreation counties have seen the most robust population growth since 2000. Many of these counties attract retirees and others looking for amenities like open spaces and water views. However, growth in these counties slowed sharply during and after the Great Recession, reflecting declines in discretionary income and mobility associated with the downturn.Population growth in government-dependent counties was also relatively strong in the 2000s before slowing in more recent years. Meanwhile, rural manufacturing counties, hard hit by the recession and its aftermath, went from modest population growth in the early 2000s to slight population decline in more recent years.

Productivity Is Major Manufacturing Job Killer: Not Mexico

Creighton University Economic Outlook | Posted on December 15, 2016

Politicians from both sides of the aisle are fond of blaming outsourcing and imported manufac-tured goods for U.S. manufacturing job losses. While it is correct that U.S. manufacturing has lost jobs during a period of solid U.S. job growth “the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Between 2000 and 2015, U.S. manufacturing lost 29.6 percent of total sector employment, or 4.7 million production jobs, as the nation experienced a 9.1 percent job gain outside of manufacturing. Over the time period, agriculture lost 76,000 jobs for a 8.5 percent loss. Has any Washington politician recently called for bringing back our lost agriculture jobs? Between 2000 and 2015, the overall U.S. economy, or gross domestic product, expanded by 38.4 percent while the U.S. manufacturing sector rose by a much stronger 58.8 percent. During this period of time, manufacturing productivity expanded at a pace of 4.6 times that of the overall economy. If manu-facturing productivity had expanded at the same rate as the overall economy, the U.S. would lost 2.2 mil-lion fewer jobs. In other words, rising productivity generated manufacturing job losses of 2.2 million between 2000 and 2015. But who were the beneficiaries of the productivity gains? From 2000 to 2015, adjusted for inflation, manufacturing workers’ annual wages increased by 27.9 percent, while manufactur-ing profits expanded from 4.9 percent of manufacturing GDP to 10.6 percent of GDP in 2015.