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National Trends in Local Food Systems from the USDA

Farm sector profitability expected to weaken in 2015

U.S. net farm income—a measure of the sector’s profitability—is forecast to be $73.6 billion in 2015, down nearly 32 percent from 2014’s forecast of $108 billion. The 2015 forecast would be the lowest since 2009 and a drop of nearly 43 percent from the record high of $129 billion in 2013. Lower crop receipts (-$15.6 billion) and livestock receipts (-$10.1 billion) are the main drivers of the change, as production expenses are projected up less than 1 percent ($2.5 billion) and government payments are forecast to increase about 15 percent ($1.6 billion) in 2015. Net cash income is forecast at $89.4 billion, down about 22 percent from the 2014 forecast. Net cash income is projected to decline less than net farm income primarily because it reflects the sale of carryover stocks from 2014. This chart is found in 2015 Farm Sector Income Forecast, released February 10, 2015.

The Broad Strokes of Art's Economic Impact
Do you have students in your economics class who love the arts? This Extra Credit infographic highlights the vital role the arts play in our economy.

The Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Collective released a free e-book, Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement, co-edited by Democracy Collaborative Senior Research Associate Thomas Hanna and cooperative development consultant Andrew McLeod. Additionally, Thomas’s blog on locally owned power in Nebraska was featured in Yes! Magazine. For more information on worker- cooperatives, take a look at this new video from the Toolbox for Social Education and Action (TESA) and GRITtv.



SelectUSA Announces Availability of State Business Incentives Database
The SelectUSA team has announced the launch of the State Business Incentives Database, a national database created by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). With almost 2,000 programs from all 50 states, DC, and federal agencies, the database gives economic developers, business development finance professionals, and economic researchers a convenient resource for searching and learning about state incentive programs.  The example below shows a portion of the 36 entries in the Michigan output.


Community Builders WebinarCreative Approaches to Economic Development: What it Takes to Attract and Retain Businesses in Today's Economy on February 25, 2-3pm Eastern.  Register at the above link.

WEBINAR: Rural Issues and Trends webinar series again starting in March. This FREE, three-part series will discuss the rural narrative, migration patterns, and leadership demands. All times are Noon-1pm Central time. If you are interested to read more and/or register, please visit http://z.umn.edu/ruralwebinar

  • March 19: Rewriting the Rural Narrative
  • May 14: The Brain Gain of the Newcomers
  • July 16: Rural Leadership Demands

RECORDED WEBINAR: Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Resources:  Two webinars have been held GAP 101 and 102, the following links take you to the recordings of these webinars: 

A Three-Part Webinar Series: A Dialogue on Generational Diversity and Community Building

Please join us for a 3-part webinar series on generational diversity for community leaders wanting to become better equipped to support their community building process. These one-hour webinars will take place on:

  • Thursday, March 12, "Generations Research and its Implications for Community Decision Making." Presenters: Ahmet Binerer, Senior Associate, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, Craig Schroeder, Senior Fellow, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.
  • Thursday, April 2, "Engaging the Generations in Philanthropy." Presenters: Judy Johnson, Executive Director, Washington County Community Foundation, Indiana; Bonnie Hildreth, President and CEO, Barry Community Foundation, Michigan
  • Thursday, April 23, "Engaging the Generations in Economic Development." Presenters: Nicole Sedlacek, Executive Director, Holt County Economic Development, Nebraska; Judy Sjostedt, Executive Director, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, West Virginia

As part of the series, you will receive our new whitepaper, Understanding Generational Diversity: Implications for Community Building. We’ll also share a Story Bio for each of our presenters so that you can learn more. During the third webinar, we’ll provide a guide to organizing a Community Dialogue on Generational Diversity in your own community as an action step and follow up to the series.

TELECONFERECE: The next CommunityMatters® capacity building call on Creative Rural-Urban Alliances will be on Thursday March 12 from 4-5 pm Eastern. Registration coming soon at communitymatters.org 



Funding forYour Project

Last year, the National Endowment for the Arts launched an incredible resource, Exploring Our Town, that shares the lessons learned from their Our Town projects. This year, the NEA has renewed its commitment to helping local communities and federal agencies learn new approaches for local leadership to engage arts stakeholders, and to integrate arts and culture stakeholders into local community revitalization strategies. Check out the exciting new grants and programs that are part of their plan for the next 50 years in creative placemaking!

AADE Foundation Invites Applications for Innovative Use of Media and Technology Award  - DEADLINE: March 2, 2015

A grant of $3,000 will be awarded to support the development and/or implementation of a concept for the innovative use of media and technology to advance diabetes self-management education....


Taproot Foundation Offers Pro Bono Professional Services to Nonprofit Organizations  - DEADLINE: March 1, 2015

Pro bono marketing, human resources, information technology, and strategy management consulting services valued at $45,000 will be awarded to qualified nonprofit organizations....

Applications Available for ArtPlace America’s New Community Development Investments Program
ArtPlace America has announced a new program that will provide funding and support to place-based, non-governmental organizations that are interested in sustainably incorporating arts and cultural strategies into the organization’s planning and development work.  Selected organizations will receive up to $3 million and gain access to national creative placemaking experts, a financial capital consortium, a federal grants advisory team, and a community documentation and research team.  Eligible applicants include organizations from: Alaska or California; a nonmetropolitan area of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas or Minnesota; or a metropolitan area of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia.  Applications are due on March 12.  Additional information on the Community Development Investments program is available here.

Kohl's Department Stores Accepting Nominations for 2015 Scholarships - DEADLINE: March 13, 2015

Scholarships of up to $10,000 will be awarded to youth between the ages of 6 and 18 who, through their voluntarism, have had a positive impact on their communities....

Migrant Education: Department of Education Announces Funding Opportunity – DEADLINE – April 20, 2015

The purpose of the Migrant Education Program (MEP) Consortium Incentive Grant program is to provide incentive grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) that participate in a consortium with one or more other SEAs or other appropriate entities to improve the delivery of services to migrant children whose education is interrupted. Through this program, the Department of Education provides financial incentives to SEAs to participate in high-quality consortia to improve the intrastate and interstate coordination of migrant education programs by addressing key needs of migratory children whose education is interrupted. Click here for the application requirements and the established priorities for funding.

DOE Announces $13 Million to Strengthen Local Solar Markets and Spur Solar Deployment

The U.S. Department Energy Department (DOE) has announced $13 million in funding to help communities across the country reduce market and policy barriers to solar deployment and recognize communities for taking the initiative to go solar.  The funding opportunity will establish a national recognition and technical assistance program for local governments driving greater solar deployment and making it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access affordable and renewable solar energy to meet their electricity needs.  Once the program is established, communities that participate will gain access to a network of nationally recognized leaders and receive expert assistance and national distinction while supporting local efforts to spur solar market growth and deploy solar energy faster and cheaper.  Full applications are due on April 27.  Click here to view the full announcement with instructions on how to apply.  

South Arts Invites Applications for Literary Arts Touring Program  - DEADLINE: May 1, 2015

Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded in support of programs that engage writers from outside the applicant's state to give readings and conduct educational workshops or similar events....



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