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Community Heart & Soul™
Field Guide, available as a free download, spells out step-by-step how to inspire residents to shape the future of their communities, based on what matters most to them. Whether you are a city planner, elected official, or a resident concerned about your town's future, I hope you will take a moment to download the Field Guide and start the conversation about strengthening the social, cultural and economic vibrancy of your town.

Please join me and Director of Programs Alece Montez-Griego along with Golden, Colorado, City Manager Mike Bestor and Heart of Biddeford Executive Director Delilah Poupore for a free Heart & Soul Matters talk, Community Heart & Soul™: Building a Blueprint for Successful Small Towns, on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

Overcoming Patient Engagement Barriers: Urban And Rural Success Stories

Video highlighting successful patient engagement programs. Features the High Plains Research Network, which serves eastern rural Colorado, and describes how the network tailors its outreach to the community through the insights of the
community members involved in the network. The section on the High Plains  Research Network begins at 5:35 in the recording. Date: 09 / 2014

Family farms dominate U.S. agriculture - The United Nations has designated 2014 as the "International Year of Family Farming" to highlight the potential family farmers have to help feed the world. But what is a family farm? USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) defines family farms as those whose principal operator, and people related to the principal operator by blood or marriage, own most of the farm business. Under the ERS definition, family farms represent 97.6 percent of all U.S. farms and are responsible for 85 percent of U.S. farm production. Other definitions rely on who

supplies the labor. Large farms often rely heavily on hired labor, but farm families who own the farm and provide most of the farm's labor still account for 87.1 percent of U.S. farms, with 57.6 percent of farm production. Some farms also
hire firms to perform some farm tasks. If we account for the labor provided by those firms, family farms that provide most of the labor used on the farm still account for 86.1 percent of farms and nearly half of production. A chart can be
found in "Family Farming in the United States" in the March 2014 Amber Waves.

Safety on Rural Local and Tribal Roads – Source: National Association
of Development Organizations

unemployment rates reflect patterns established during the recession - During
the 2007-09 recession, unemployment rates rose fastest in the West, South,
South Atlantic, and parts of the Midwest. States most reliant on
manufacturing—including Michigan, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and North
Carolina—were hit especially hard. Many of the States with the smallest
increases in unemployment were located in the Great Plains and had relatively
high employment shares in agriculture, which was largely unaffected by the
recession. Similarly, States in the West South Central region (which includes
Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas) saw their unemployment rates held in
check by growth in oil and gas drilling. Since 2009, unemployment rates have
fallen in all States, with large improvements in a few. In general, States that
experienced the largest increases in unemployment rates during the recession
have seen the largest reductions in unemployment rates during the recovery.
Still, most of the hardest-hit States continue to have above-average
unemployment rates. As a result, the current geography of county unemployment
rates still reflects the patterns established during the recession. Many of the
counties with the lowest unemployment rates (below 4.7 percent) are located in
or near the Great Plains. The highest unemployment rate counties (above 8.7
percent) are concentrated in the West, South, and South Atlantic, as well as in
Appalachia and parts of the Rust Belt. A chart is found in the October 2014
edition of Amber Waves.

The Shifting Economics of Global Manufacturing: How Cost
Competitiveness Is Changing Worldwide

by Harold L. Sirkin, Michael Zinser, and Justin Rose

Four factors are most responsible for the dramatic shifts in manufacturing
competitiveness from 2004 to 2014. The factors are now blurring the traditional
boundaries between low-cost and high-cost regions.

Wages. The range of
hourly pay differentials for manufacturing workers remains enormous. But
rapidly rising wages have significantly eroded the competitive advantage
of a number of major exporters. Although manufacturing wages rose in all
25 countries from 2004 to 2014, nations such as China and Russia have
experienced more than a decade of annual increases ranging from 10 to 20
percent. In other economies, wages have only risen by 2 to 3 percent per

Exchange Rates. Changing currency
values can make an economy's exports either more expensive or cheaper in
international markets. Currency shifts from 2004 to 2014 have ranged from
a nearly 26 percent devaluation of the Indian rupee against the U.S.
dollar to a 35 percent increase in the Chinese yuan.

Labor Productivity. Gains in output
per manufacturing worker—or productivity—have varied widely around the
world from 2004 to 2014 and explain some of the biggest shifts in total
manufacturing costs. Manufacturing productivity rose by more than 50
percent in countries such as Mexico, India, and South Korea from 2004 to
2014 but shrank in others, such as in Italy and Japan. Some economies with
low wage rates are not particularly competitive in terms of unit labor
costs when wages are adjusted for productivity.

Energy Costs. Prices for natural
gas have fallen by 25 to 35 percent since 2004 in North America because of
large-scale production of shale gas resources. In contrast, they have
risen by 100 to 200 percent in economies such as Poland, Russia, South
Korea, and Thailand. This has had a significant impact on the chemicals
industry, which uses natural gas as a feedstock for production. Likewise,
the industrial price of electricity has risen sharply in manufacturing
economies such as Australia, Brazil, and Spain. As a result, overall
energy costs in many countries outside of North America are between 50 to
200 percent higher than they were in 2004. This has caused major changes
in competitiveness in energy-dependent industries.

Of course, factors other than
wage rates, productivity, exchange rates, and energy costs also weigh heavily
on corporate decisions about where to focus supply chains. Logistics costs, the
overall ease of doing business, and the presence of corruption—among other
issues—can affect the attractiveness of potential locations. In our research,
we have found that manufacturing growth in a number of countries that have very
attractive direct costs is stunted because of weaknesses in these areas. (See
Exhibit 5.) These factors are local in nature—and can vary widely in different
locations even within countries. Therefore, we have not modeled them into our
cost index. Wise manufacturers, however, must account for these factors when
they make decisions. Full


WEBINAR: Arts and Community: Funding Opportunities and
Resources from the National Endowment for the Arts, October 20, 2014 (Monday)
1:00 PM – Eastern Time

There is no registration and no fee for attending this webinar.

This webinar will explain funding and resources provided by
the National Endowment for the Arts to support arts-based community development
activities. Through its programs the Endowment supports American
communities in their efforts to engage the arts in making places more livable.
It will explain Challenge America Fast Track, Art Works, and Our Town funding
guidelines and walk through some new resources that provide technical
assistance to communities.

About the Speaker: Jason Schupbach is the Director of
Design Programs for the National Endowment for the Arts, where he oversees all
design and creative placemaking grantmaking and partnerships, including Our
Town and Design Art Works grants, the Mayor's Institute on City Design, the
Citizens' Institute on Rural Design, and the NEA's involvement in the HUD Sandy
Recovery Taskforce Rebuild by Design Competition.

Webinar: Potential
Uses of the Business & Industry Program for Cooperative, October 23rd,
2014 1:00 PM through 2:00 PM Register

Please join USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Services' Brenda
Griffin and Bruce Reynolds for a presentation and discussion with NCBA CLUSA on
cooperative trends in business and industry.

The recently proposed revisions published in the Federal
Reserve will be explained:

Loan guarantees for
farmer stock purchases are no longer limited to start-up cooperatives.

Loan guarantees for
preferred stock issued by a cooperative or by a fund that invests
primarily in cooperatives.

Loan guarantees for
financing transfers of business ownership will no longer require a single
purchase transaction when the purchased entity is in the process of
converting to either an Employee Stock Ownership (ESOP) or to a worker

Loan guarantees for the
purchase of transferable stock between members of a cooperative.

WEBINAR: Free Heart & Soul Matters Talk, Nov. 5
is 4-5 p.m., Eastern, Wednesday, Nov. 5. The first 50 to register receive
a free, bound copy of the Community Heart & Soul™ Field Guide.

Don't miss Community Heart & Soul™: Building a Blueprint for
Successful Small Towns. Find out about Community Heart & Soul
and how the method has led to significant, measurable change in small towns and
rural communities. You'll hear from Orton Executive Director David Leckey
on how Heart & Soul leads to real, positive change, and Alece
Montez-Griego, director of programs, with an overview of the method. Plus Mike
Bestor, city manager, Golden, Colorado, and Delilah Poupore, executive director
of Heart of Biddeford, Biddeford, Maine, on how Heart &
Soul matters in their towns, with time for Q&A! Register now»

GAME: New Community
Planning Game Attracts Youth

promotion for its new community planning game, CommunityPlanIt, Emerson
College's Engagement Game Lab highlights the frustration that can
come with trying to get to a midweek town hall meeting where ideas are often at
risk of getting lost in the crowd. As an alternative approach and as a way to
engage a broader cross-section of community members in the planning process,
the Engagement Game Lab presents Community PlanIt as an online game that is fun
and also boosts offline engagement.

tested in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Salem, Massachusetts, the game is
structured around local missions and challenges submitted by government
agencies or community organizations. Individuals register to play online in
either a stakeholder or observer role and their progress is evaluated by the
administrating organization (as an example, in Philadelphia, staff from the
mayor's office held this role), which allocates "coins" for winning steps along
the way. Players pledge their "coins" to one of a list of pre-selected
nonprofits; the organizations with the most pledges are then able to convert
their "coins" into cash. The project is funded nationally by the Knight
Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, along with a range of other local

Just as the
Lab promotes Community PlanIt's "powerful data collection tool" that makes it
possible for local planners and decision-makers to "analyze citizen input and
truly incorporate it into the planning," it has also been looking closely at
who has been playing in each city, and doing related research. Participation in
the last few cities has revealed that the game has had particular success
drawing students under the age of 18. Referring to the individuals in this
young demographic, Eric Gordon, director of Engagement Game Lab, told Co.Exist
"This is their first introduction to anything to do with civic engagement. They
provide really meaningful input into these issues." Building on these findings
and as a way to get Community Planit to even more local areas, Engagement Game
Lab is now in the process of developing open-source curricula for students and



Community Health Worker National Education Collaborative

Provides information to assist in the development of community health worker
(CHW) college programs, including educational resources, curricula,
credentialing, and promising delivery strategies.

Organization: Arizona Area Health Education Center Program

National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

Provides access to results for this annual survey focused on substance abuse
and mental health issues. Includes information on prevalence and services.
Rural-specific data is available in detailed tables that list "geographic
characteristics." Data is also made available by state and for regions
within states. Organization: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

Assets & Opportunity Initiative Unveils Local Data

CFED, in partnership with Citi Community Development,
unveiled the Assets
& Opportunity Local Data Center. This new tool provides data and information
on household financial security at the county and city level, including
estimates of household wealth and financial access. The Local Data Center
provides localized financial security data on four key measures: asset poverty,
liquid asset poverty, unbanked and underbanked rates. Using the Local Data
Center's Mapping
Tool, users can drill down to the county or city level to see how residents
in their community are faring when it comes to their ability to absorb
financial shocks or access safe and affordable financial products and services.
For example, we found that the percentage of unbanked households in major U.S.
cities (those with populations over 200,000) ranges from a low of 11% in
Irvine, CA, to a high of almost 75% in Newark, NJ. With these key insights,
policymakers, practitioners and assets advocates can better understand the deep
levels of financial insecurity in the communities they serve.

To learn more about Family Assets Count, click here.

To view the Assets & Opportunity State and Local Data
click here


National Environmental Education Foundation Requests
Applications for Capacity-Building Grants - DEADLINE: October 30, 2014

Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to nonprofits working
to improve and promote the responsible use of a public land or water site
anywhere in the United States....

Foundation Grants - Application
deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Awards funding for projects and programs related to rural youth leadership,
rural cooperative education, community leadership development, and farm and
agriculture safety.

Military Scholarship - Application deadline: Nov 15, 2014

Offers a scholarship to a master's-level counseling student who has experience
with military communities and commits to serving military personnel for at
least two years after graduation.

American Turkish Society Announce Spring 2015 Curriculum
Development Grants - DEADLINE: November 15, 2014

Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded to elementary and
secondary school teachers in the United States to develop innovative curricula,
projects, or other classroom activities about Turkey....

Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation
Phase II (CAPE 2) - Application
deadline: Nov 19, 2014

Awards funding to land grant institutions to develop and implement innovative
early warning systems for emerging community behavioral health issues, such as
substance use and abuse; relationship abuse; and mental illness or depression.
Sponsor: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Area Competition Funding for Health Center Program (Areas Served with a Project
Period Start Date of May 1, 2015) - Application deadline: Nov 19, 2014

Funding to provide comprehensive primary health care services to an underserved
area or population. Sponsor: Bureau of Primary Health Care

ACHE Seeks Submissions for Student Essay Competition in
Healthcare Management - DEADLINE: December 5, 2014

Prizes of up to $4,000 will be awarded to health
administration students for essays that address an issue or issues they will
face as future healthcare executives....

Wells Fargo and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
Accepting Applications for Community Grants - DEADLINE: December 10,

Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded in support of
highly visible projects that link economic development and community well-being
to the stewardship and health of the environment....

Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries Accepting School
Library Grant Applications - DEADLINE: December 15, 2014

Grants of up to $7,000 will be awarded to help libraries
expand, update, and diversify their book collections at schools where 85
percent or more students qualify for free or reduced lunches....

Assistance and Training Grant for Rural Waste Systems - Application deadline: Dec 31, 2014

Grants for organizations that assist communities with water or wastewater
operations through technical assistance and/or training. Sponsor: USDA Rural

Safety Grants - Application
deadline: Jan 7, 2015

Awards funding to local- or regional-level agricultural health and safety
intervention projects. Sponsor: Agricultural Safety and Health Council of

for Healthy Living - Improving Minority Health and Eliminating Health
Disparities (R43) - Letter
of Intent (Optional): Dec 27, 2014, Application deadline: Jan 27, 2015

Awards funding to
small business concerns (SBCs) to develop a product, process, or service for
commercialization that would result in the reduction of disparities in
healthcare access and health outcomes. Sponsor: National Institutes of Health

Middle School Students Invited to Submit Entries for
Christopher Columbus Awards - DEADLINE: February 2, 2015

The program challenges students in grades six to eight to
identify a problem in their community and apply the scientific method to create
an innovative solution to that problem....

Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association
Accepting Applications for Leadership Grant - DEADLINE: February 13,

A grant of up to $2,500 will be awarded to a nursing program
in support of programs that foster the development of leadership skills in
nursing students....

Suzette M. Agans

Community and Economic

Rural Development | U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave., S.W. | Washington, D.C. 20250-3253

Phone: 202.401.1922 | Fax 202.401.7311


"Committed to the future
of rural communities"

"Estamos dedicados al futuro de las comunidades rurales"

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for



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