• Simple Item 5
  • Simple Item 4
  • Simple Item 6
  • Simple Item 3
  • Simple Item 1
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Suzette's Letter, April 2018

PUBLICATIONS

  1. Number of stores authorized to accept SNAP benefits grew by over 50 percent in the last decade

In 2016, low-income participants in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) received an average of about $126 in benefits each month to purchase eligible food items in authorized retail food stores. To become an authorized SNAP store, retailers are required to meet various criteria based in part on the types of food offered for sale. As of September 2016, over a quarter million (260,115) food retailers were authorized to redeem SNAP benefits. From 2007 to 2013, the number of SNAP-authorized stores grew by 53 percent. This increase coincided with a sharp rise in the number of SNAP participants that was largely due to the economic downturn, including the Great Recession of 2007-09, which increased demand for food assistance. Much of the growth in the number of SNAP stores was the result of more convenience stores applying for and receiving authorization to accept SNAP benefits. The number of SNAP-authorized convenience stores doubled from 2007 to 2016. By 2016, convenience stores accounted for 45 percent of all SNAP-authorized stores, but these stores accounted for just 6 percent of SNAP redemptions.

 

  1. Multiple-adult households without children account for over a quarter of U.S. food-insecure households

The prevalence of food insecurity—having difficulty providing enough food for all household members at some time during the year—varies across U.S. demographic groups. While some types of households may be less likely to be food insecure, the household groups could be so large that the households in the groups who are experiencing food insecurity make up a large share of all food-insecure households. For example, multiple-adult households without children had a lower food insecurity prevalence (8.0 percent) than single-mother households (31.6 percent) and single-father households (21.7 percent) in 2016. However, in the Nation as a whole, multiple-adult households without children—households that include married and unmarried couples with no children, or grown children, as well as households made up of relatives or roommates over the age of 18—are more numerous than single-parent households, so these multiple-adult households make up a larger share of all food-insecure households. In 2016, multiple-adult households without children accounted for 27 percent of all food-insecure households; single-mother households accounted for 20 percent; and single-father households accounted for 4 percent.

  1. Households that buy fruits and vegetables directly from farmers tend to possess health-oriented attitudes and behaviors

A recent ERS study analyzed spending on fruits and vegetables by the 4,826 households that participated in USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS). Among these households, 170 bought some of their fruits and vegetables directly from farmers at roadside stands, farmers’ markets, or other direct-to-consumer (DTC) outlets during their week of participation in the survey. Another 3,388 households bought fruits and vegetables exclusively at nondirect food stores. The researchers found that purchasing fruits and vegetables at a DTC outlet was positively associated with several healthy practices. For example, people buying fruits and vegetables directly from farmers were more likely to have a vegetable garden (45 versus 25 percent of non-DTC shoppers), to be aware of USDA’s MyPlate campaign to promote Federal dietary guidance, and to search the internet for information on healthy eating. Households that bought fruits and vegetables directly from farmers were also more likely to rate the healthfulness of their diets as excellent or very good.

 

  1. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. farms run by multiple operators

Commercial-sized farms often require more management and labor than an individual can provide. Additional operators can offer these and other resources, such as capital or farmland. Having a secondary operator may also provide a successor when an older principal operator phases out of farming. In 2016, nearly 40 percent of all U.S. farms had a multiple operators. Because nearly all farms are family owned, family members often serve as secondary operators. For example, 64 percent of secondary operators were spouses of principal operators. Some multiple-operator farms were also run by multiple generations, with a difference of at least 20 years between the ages of the youngest and oldest operators. These multiple-generation farms accounted for about 7 percent of all U.S. farms. Large-scale family farms and nonfamily farms were more likely to be operated by multiple generations, at about 20-25 percent of those farms. However, the operators in nonfamily multiple-generation farms were likely unrelated managers from different generations.

 

  1. SNAP policy index captures trends in State policies for administering SNAP

USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the Nation's largest food assistance program. For much of the program's history, administration of SNAP was largely uniform across States. However, welfare reform legislation in 1996 and subsequent legislative and regulatory changes have allowed States increased flexibility to administer some components of the program. ERS researchers recently developed an index that reflects how accommodative, or encouraging, State policies are to enrolling individuals in SNAP. This SNAP policy index is composed of 10 State policies related to eligibility, ease of enrolling and participating, participation stigma, and outreach to attract new participants. The index ranges between 1 and 10, with a higher number indicating more accommodative policies are in place. For the Nation as a whole, the index grew steadily from 1997 to 2014, meaning that States tended to adopt policies encouraging enrollment. Between 1997 and 2000, policies that relaxed eligibility and reduced stigma played the largest roles in the rising index. After 2000, policies that made enrolling and remaining in the program easier played a larger role.

  1. Elder veterans relied more on agriculture for employment, while working age veterans relied more on manufacturing

Nearly 19 million veterans lived in the United States in 2015. Almost 18 percent of them lived in rural (nonmetro) counties, compared to 15 percent of the U.S. adult civilian population. About 45 percent of rural veterans were working age (18 to 64 years old); the rest were elder veterans (65 years or older). Overall, about 21 percent of elder rural veterans reported currently working (full- or part-time) or having last worked (if retired or unemployed) in the agriculture industry. By comparison, less than 3 percent of working-age veterans reported the same. Instead, working-age veterans relied more on the manufacturing industry for employment. About 19 percent of working age veterans reported currently working or having last worked in manufacturing, compared to 7 percent of elder veterans. Both working age and elder veterans relied about equally for employment in some industries —including education and health, wholesale and retail trade, and construction.

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. Hospitals are healing communities

Hospitals can tackle food insecurity, obesity, and chronic disease while promoting healthy, local, and sustainable food systems. Created with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Health Care Without Harm’s “Delivering community benefit: Healthy food playbook” inspires and supports hospital community benefit professionals and community partners in developing initiatives to promote healthy food access and healthy, local and sustainable food systems. The playbook offers resources to address diet-related community health needs throughout the community health engagement process. The playbook features case studies from leading hospitals from across the country and 25 guidance resources that support community health needs assessments; developing implementation strategies; and evaluating, reporting, and communicating results.

  1. USDA Webinars Regarding the Community Connect Grant Program

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will host webinars focused on the Community Connect Grant Program. These webinars will inform participants about the major eligibility and regulatory requirements of the program and will provide detailed guidance on how to submit a successful application. There will also be time for participants to ask the speakers specific questions about putting together an application. On March 15th, the Community Connect Grant Program's Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) was published in the Federal Register.  A copy can be found here. You can register for the April 5th session here and the April 10th session here. We recommend you do this registration early and run a system check to ensure quick access on the day of the webinar.

  1. USDA Webinars Regarding the Community Connect Grant Program Environmental Requirements - FY2018

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will host webinars focused on environmental requirements for the Community Connect Grant Program. These webinars will inform participants about the major environmental requirements of the Community Connect Program. There will also be time for participants to ask the speakers specific questions on environmental reviews. You can register for the April 5th session here and the April 12th session here. We recommend you do this registration early and run a system check to ensure quick access on the day of the webinar.

  1. U.S. Dept. of Transportation - Putting SIBs, TIFIA and TIGER to Work in Your Community

CDFA is hosting a webinar on April 12th focused on the financing tools available through the US Department of Transportation. We have several great speakers lined up to participate, and if you haven't already registered, I hope you'll consider joining us. As you may already know, the recently passed federal spending bill allocates $1 billion to the TIGER program, making our upcoming webinar especially relevant to anyone considering applying for TIGER funds.

  1. National Good Food Network | Crafting Winning LFPP/FMPP Proposals

This webinar will explore best practices for planning and writing LFPP/FMPP proposals, emphasizing that designing effective and impactful goal-based programs is the foundation of successful grant applications. We will put special emphasis on addressing the opportunity's evaluation criteria, ensuring you put your best foot forward. This webinar will be geared to those who are less experienced in writing grant proposals, particularly proposals for US government grants. April 12th | 2PM EST

  1. National Good Food Network | National Food Hub Survey

Learn from an in-depth survey of food hubs across the US. Designed, run and analyzed by Michigan State University's Center for Regional Food Systems in cooperation with the Wallace Center and the NGFN Food Hub Collaboration, this is truly the definitive word on food hubs in the US in 2017. April 19th | 3:30PM EST

USDA's Letter, February 14, 2018

PUBLICATIONS

  1. Counties with a higher number of independent grocery stores per capita are concentrated in rural areas

To examine the number and location of independent grocery stores, a recent ERS study used Nielsen’s TDLinx data on grocery stores—stores with a full line of major food departments and at least $1 million in sales. Independent grocery stores are those whose owners operate fewer than four stores. In 2015, 21,510 independent grocery stores generated $70 billion in sales, or 11 percent of U.S. grocery sales. The study found that independent grocery stores outnumber chain grocery stores in remote rural counties not adjacent to urban counties. In 2015, remote rural counties had an average of 2.1 independent grocery stores compared with 1.9 chain grocery stores. Of the 319 U.S. counties with more than three independent grocery stores for every 10,000 residents, 91 percent of them were remote rural counties or rural counties adjacent to an urban county. Close to half of these 319 counties were located in Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.

  1. In 2016, 81 percent of SNAP benefits were redeemed in super stores and supermarkets

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides participants with electronic benefits to purchase food in authorized retail food stores. In fiscal 2016, over $66 billion in SNAP benefits were redeemed, accounting for about 10 percent of the Nation’s spending on food at home. As of September 2016, 260,115 stores were authorized to accept SNAP. Convenience stores accounted for the largest share of SNAP stores (45 percent), but less than 6 percent of all SNAP benefits were redeemed in these smaller stores. Conversely, large super stores, which sell a wide variety of food and nonfood items, and supermarkets together accounted for only 14 percent of SNAP stores, but 81 percent of national SNAP redemptions. Super stores and supermarkets generally have a wider variety of foods and lower prices than smaller stores. Because SNAP benefits are for a fixed dollar amount, participants have an incentive to stretch their benefits by seeking out the best values when choosing where to spend their benefits.

  1. The regional composition of U.S. imports has remained stable over time

The share of U.S. agricultural imports from regions consisting primarily of developed economies remained stable from 1995 to 2015, at just over 60 percent. This contrasts with the destinations for U.S. agricultural exports, which shifted further toward developing regions. There was a compositional shift in import shares, however, from one developed region to another. In particular, a decline in the share of U.S. agricultural imports supplied by Europe was offset almost exactly by an increase in the share supplied by Canada and Mexico. Canada (a high-income economy) and Mexico (an upper-middle-income economy) are partners of the United States in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), whose trade-liberalizing provisions were gradually applied to intraregional agricultural trade during the 1994-2007 period. With respect to other parts of the world, the import shares from fast-growing exporters in South America and the former Soviet Union declined, even as those regions increased their participation in the global agricultural market. There were modest increases in import shares from developing East Asia and South Asia, which is consistent with their growing roles in global trade.

  1. About half of rural counties now experiencing more deaths than births

Declining birth rates, increasing mortality rates among working-age adults, and an aging population have led to the emergence of natural decrease (more deaths than births) in hundreds of U.S. counties—most of them rural counties. During 2010-16, 325 rural counties experienced sustained natural decrease for the first time, adding to 645 rural counties with natural decrease during 2000-09. Areas that recently began experiencing natural decrease (the dark blue areas) are found in New England, northern Michigan, and high-poverty areas in the southern Coastal Plains. Such counties also are found in and around the margins of Appalachia, expanding a large region of natural decrease extending from Maine through northern Alabama. Between 2000 and 2016, over a thousand rural counties still experienced population growth from natural increase (more births than deaths).

  1. Households with obese children differ from those with no obese children

A recent ERS study used data from USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) to look at how households with at least one obese child differ from households without any obese children. The study found that the parents with obese children were less likely to be married, employed, or have a college degree. For example, the shares of fathers and mothers who were employed were lower among obese-child households (87 percent for fathers and 60 percent for mothers) relative to parents in nonobese-child households (93 percent for fathers and 63 percent for mothers). In addition, less than a quarter of fathers and mothers had a college degree or higher among obese-child households, whereas more than one third of fathers and mothers had the same level of education among nonobese-child households.

  1. 2020 Census Faces Challenges in Rural America Brief

New research from the Carsey School of Public Policy, in a brief named “2020 Census Faces Challenges in Rural America,” identifies rural areas where special outreach and operations will be needed to get a complete and accurate count. It also addresses key Census-related issues that will be important for rural leaders to monitor between now and April 1, 2020.

  1. Highlights from the 2016 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE)

U.S. Census Bureau has released “Highlights from the 2016 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE),” which provides single-year median household income and poverty statistics. The report includes many county-level maps showing income and poverty rates in 2016 and changes from 2007 to 2016.

  1. Rural America in Crisis: The Changing Opioid Overdose Epidemic

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a report, “Rural America in Crisis: The Changing Opioid Overdose Epidemic.” Authors discuss the history of the opioid epidemic and its effect on rural communities, as well as key functions of public health programs that can help prevent opioid overdoses.

  1. Rural poverty remains regionally concentrated

Poverty is not evenly distributed throughout the United States. Americans living in poverty tend to be clustered in certain U.S. regions and counties. Nonmetro (rural) counties with a high incidence of poverty are mainly concentrated in the South, which had an average poverty rate of nearly 22 percent between 2011 and 2015. Rural counties with the most severe poverty are located in historically poor areas of the Southeast—including the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia—as well as on Native American lands, predominantly in the Southwest and North Central Midwest. The incidence of rural poverty is relatively low elsewhere, but generally more widespread than in the past due to a number of factors. For example, declining employment in the manufacturing sector since the 1980s contributed to the spread of poverty in the Midwest and the Northeast. Another factor is rapid growth in Hispanic populations over the 1990s and 2000s—particularly in California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and Georgia. This group tends to be poorer than non-Hispanic whites. Finally, the 2007-09 recession resulted in more widespread rural poverty.

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. BroadbandUSDA Toolkit

BroadbandUSA released Sustaining Broadband Networks: A Toolkit for Local and Tribal Governments to help local and tribal governments meet the current and future broadband needs of their communities. The Toolkit discusses five actions to support long-term broadband network sustainability.

  1. SBA HUBZone

The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain access to opportunity, encouraging economic development in historically underutilized areas, and promoting employment growth. SBA Webinar series on the HUBZone program can be found here. The webinars are designed to help small businesses get and maintain their HUBZone certification, survive HUBZone status protests to contracts, maintain good recordkeeping to ensure compliance in the program, locate HUBZones, and compete for HUBZone contracts.

  1. Federal Reserve Community Investment Explorer

The Federal Reserve has aggregated transaction-level data from Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), and Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which, collectively, invest several billion dollars into low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities each year.

  1. Opportunity Zone-eligible census tracts by state

The recent tax law created a new vehicle, “Opportunity Zones” (Section 13823), to spur investment in companies and projects in distressed communities. As covered in detail during a recent SSTI members-only webinar, the tax incentive provides investors who reinvest capital gains into these zones with the ability to defer taxes on those gains and, if the Opportunity Zone investment is held at least 10 years, to waive taxes on any new capital gains. Zones must be declared this spring by each state’s governor, and only 25 percent of a state’s high poverty or low income census tracts may be included. 

  1.  Governors target diverse strategies to build rural broadband capacity, spur economic growth 

With more than 30 percent of rural America still lacking access to what the FCC considers adequate broadband, governors from across the country are working toward diverse strategies to build rural broadband capacity. By providing rural communities with access to full-speed, stable broadband, these governors hope that they can revitalize rural communities by helping small business formation and expansion as well as improve educational achievement/workforce training for rural citizens. Governors have announced new initiatives in Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Wyoming, and in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker is calling for Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule changes to increase access to broadband internet across the country.  

  1. First Nations Q&A Webinar on Feb. 14 at 1:00 p.m. Mountain

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is accepting grant proposals for its Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF) for projects that focus on youth and incorporate culture and tradition to address social issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, mental health or other social issues in Native communities. First Nations expects to award approximately 20 grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 each for projects of no longer than one year in length. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, March 8, 2018. Meanwhile, there will be a free Question & Answer (Q&A) webinar for interested applicants on February 14, 2018, at 1 p.m. MT. It will provide an opportunity for applicants to ask general questions about the Native Youth and Culture Fund, the grant application, selection criteria, guidelines or other topics. Participation in the webinar is NOT mandatory, but applicants are strongly encouraged to register and attend.

To subscribe or unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Suzette's Letter, September 9, 2017

PUBLICATIONS

  1. First Nations Development Institute Releases Second Quarterly Results from Monitoring Food Prices, Indicating that American Indians and Alaska Natives Continue to Pay Higher Costs

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) – as part of its work to combat food insecurity, eliminate food inequities, and support economic and business development in Native American communities – recently released the second quarterly results on food prices on Lower 48 reservations and in Alaska Native villages. First Nations is in the process of a 12-month study on food prices in tribal communities. Preliminary results for tribal communities in the contiguous United States indicate that for the second quarter Native shoppers paid on average $8.26 more for a basket of items. Similarly, in Alaska Native villages, shoppers on average paid $33.32 more when compared to the national average for the same basket of food items. To review the First Quarter 2017 findings, click here. To see a news release about the original Indian Country Food Price Index from July 2016, go here.

  1. Low education rural counties have worse economic outcomes on average than other rural counties

Rural (nonmetro) counties with the lowest levels of educational attainment face worse economic outcomes on average than other rural counties. ERS classifies 467 counties as “low education” counties—those where at least 20 percent of working-age adults (ages 25 to 64) do not have a high school diploma or equivalent; nearly 80 percent of these counties are rural. About 40 percent of low education rural counties are also persistent poverty counties, with poverty rates of 20 percent or higher since 1980. Between 2011 and 2015, low education rural counties had an average poverty rate of 24 percent, compared to 16 percent for all other rural counties. Low education rural counties also had a higher average child poverty rate on average (34 percent) than for all other rural counties (23 percent). In addition, the unemployment rate of low education rural counties was about a percentage point higher.

  1. Manufacturing employment declines were highest in the Eastern United States between 2001 and 2015

Manufacturing provides more jobs in rural America than many other sectors. In 2015, rural manufacturing jobs totaled 2.5 million, compared to 1.4 million farm jobs. Rural manufacturing jobs were also about equal to rural retail jobs, almost double rural construction jobs, and five times rural mining (including oil and gas extraction) jobs. However, U.S. manufacturing employment has been declining since the 1950s. Between 2001 and 2015—a period that included the recessions of 2001 and 2007-09—manufacturing employment fell by close to 30 percent. In addition, 71 percent of U.S. counties experienced a decline in manufacturing employment. Counties with the largest relative declines were concentrated in the Eastern United States, the traditional hub of U.S. manufacturing. In 2015, almost 20 percent of manufacturing jobs were located in rural counties. Factors such as globalization and rapid changes in technology have contributed to the decline in U.S. manufacturing employment.

  1. Different forms of outreach can increase farmer participation in County Committee elections

County Committees (COC) are critical to the delivery of farm support programs and make numerous program decisions, such as whether or not a producer is in compliance with the program’s eligibility requirements. However, participation in COC elections have declined over time. An ERS experiment tested the impact of using different forms of outreach on voter participation during the 2015 COC elections. Some voters received ballots with information about candidates printed on the outside. Other voters received postcards with deadlines and candidate information. A third group of voters received both, and a baseline group received neither. Compared to the baseline, the experiment found that printing candidate information on the outside of the ballot plus sending postcards increased voter participation by nearly 3 percent. This information may offer a relatively low-cost outreach strategy to encourage participation in future elections.

  1. The share of beginning midsize farms held steady from 2005 to 2014

The aging of the overall farm population raises questions about whether there are enough beginning farms to replace those that exit farming. Between 2005 and 2014, the share of beginning farms generally declined across all farm sizes, though overall farm numbers were relatively steady during this period. A beginning farm is one where all operators have 10 years or less farming experience. Very-low sales farms—those with annual gross cash farm income (GCFI) under $10,000—had the most beginning farms across these years, but also saw the greatest decline: from 27 percent in 2005 to 24 percent in 2014. By comparison, the share of beginning midsize farms—those with GCFI between $350,000 and $999,999—hovered around 9 percent during this period. In 2014, that represented about 12,000 midsize farms.

  1. Almost three-fourths of the average dollar Americans spend eating out covers restaurant services

Rising prices for farm commodities generally have a larger impact on grocery store price tags than on restaurant menus. The reason? Different cost structures, as shown by ERS’s Food Dollar Series. This series apportions total annual expenditures by U.S. consumers on domestically-produced food and beverages to 12 industry groups based on the value added by each industry. In 2015, farm production and agribusiness industries accounted for 13.8 cents of the food-at-home dollar (foods and beverages purchased from grocery stores and other retailers) and 3.2 cents of the food-away-from-home dollar (foods and beverages from fine dining establishments, fast casual chains, and coffee shops). Thus, grocery store prices are more closely connected to farm prices than restaurant prices. The largest share of the away-from-home food dollar—72.3 cents in 2015—was spent on the services provided by restaurants, including the labor of baristas, bakers, and busboys. Sixty-two percent of this value added by foodservice establishments (44.7 cents) covered the salaries and benefits of employees involved in preparing and serving meals and cleaning up afterwards.

  1. Adults in households with more severe food insecurity are more likely to have a chronic disease

ERS researchers recently examined the association of food security status with 10 chronic diseases in working-age adults living in households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level. They looked at the prevalence of the chronic diseases across four levels of household food security, ranging from high food security (household had no problems or anxiety about consistently obtaining adequate food) to very low food security (eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced). The researchers discovered that adults in households that were less food secure were significantly more likely to have one or more chronic diseases and the likelihood increased as food insecurity worsened. Low-income adults in households with very low food security were 40 percent more likely to have one or more of the chronic diseases examined than low-income adults with high food security. Moreover, the researchers found that food insecurity status was a stronger predictor of chronic illness than income for low-income working age adults.

  1. In recent years, population has declined in rural areas

Population change includes two major components: natural change (births minus deaths) and net migration (in-migrants minus out-migrants). While natural change has gradually trended downward over time, net migration rates tend to fluctuate in response to economic conditions. Population growth from natural change (more births than deaths, also known as natural increase) was the norm historically. Between 2010 and 2016, however, the increase in rural population from natural change (270,000 more births than deaths) has not kept pace with the decrease in population from net migration (462,000 more people moved out than moved in). Declining birth rates, increasing mortality rates among working-age adults, and an aging population have led to the emergence of natural decrease (more deaths than births) in hundreds of U.S. counties—most of them rural.

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. 5 Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities

Join us for a free webinar, 5 Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities, on Thursday, September 28, 2017, from Noon to 1:00 p.m. There are a number of things that local government officials can do to help their communities retain youth. The webinar, presented by Pam Schallhorn, Community and Economic Development Educator, University of Illinois Extension, will be based on research done at the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Lincoln, Nebraska over the last decade, and will provide strategies communities can use to get young people to stay in their communities or return after college. There is no cost to attend the webinar, however pre-registration is required.  Register online or contact Nancy Ouedraogo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  1. Grants Under First Nations' Native Arts Initiative
    First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has launched a new Supporting Native Arts grant opportunity under its Native Arts Initiative (formerly known as the “Native Arts Capacity Building Initiative” or NACBI). Applications are due by Thursday, October 19, 2017. The Request for Proposals for the Supporting Native Arts grant opportunity can be accessed here. First Nations invites interested applicants to join one or all of our Application Q&A webinars, which will be held prior to October 19, 2017, as follows:

Suzette's Letter, August 1, 2017

PUBLICATIONS

  1. Percent of residents receiving SNAP benefits in 2016 varied across States, reflecting differences in need and program policies

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) served an average of 44.2 million people per month in fiscal 2016. The percent of Americans participating in the program declined from 15.0 in 2013 to 13.7 in 2016, marking the third consecutive year of a decline in the percent of the population receiving SNAP. Between 2015 and 2016, 41 States and the District of Columbia saw a decrease in the percent of residents receiving SNAP benefits, while 9 States experienced no change or increases. The percent of State populations receiving SNAP benefits ranged from a low of 5.8 in Wyoming to a high of 22.6 in New Mexico, reflecting differences in need and in program policies. Southeastern States have a particularly high share of residents receiving SNAP benefits, with participation rates of 15.0 to 19.5 percent. Kentucky had the largest decline from 2015 to 2016, with the percent of residents receiving SNAP decreasing from 17.4 to 15.0 percent.

 

  1. Forty-three percent of households with food-insecure children in 2014-15 had incomes below the Federal poverty line

In 2014-15, 17.9 percent of U.S. households with children under the age of 18 were food insecure—they had difficulty putting enough food on the table for all their members. In about half of these households (8.6 percent of U.S. households with children), children were food insecure and experienced reduced dietary quality and food intake. Food insecurity is closely related to income as poor households are more likely to experience food insecurity. In 2014-15, 43 percent of households with food-insecure children had incomes below the Federal poverty line and one-quarter had incomes between the poverty line and 185 percent of the poverty line. Households with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty line may be eligible for programs like the free- or reduced-price National School Lunch Program. An ERS review of scientific research studies shows that participation in USDA school meals reduces food insecurity. However, about 19 percent of households with food-insecure children in 2014-15 may have been ineligible for such assistance.

  1. Changes in farm commodity prices have a muted effect on grocery store and restaurant prices

Favorable weather conditions as well as droughts and floods can lead to changes in production levels of farm commodities and, in turn, swings in their prices. Volatility in farm commodity prices—measured by the Producer Price Index (PPI) for Farm Products—and in intermediate foods—measured by the PPI for Processed Foodstuff and Feedstuff—is often greater than price volatility in grocery stores and restaurants. Intermediate foods, such as vegetable oils and refined sugar, are used to produce final foods like cookies and bread. Prices at each stage generally move in the same direction, but the magnitude of the price changes varies. For instance, in 2016 the Farm Products PPI declined by 9.7 percent, the Processed Foodstuff and Feedstuff PPI fell by 2.7 percent, while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Food (foods purchased in stores and eating places) rose, slightly, by 0.3 percent. Price fluctuations for intermediate foods and final foods are muted relative to that of farm products, since foods at later stages of production include less volatile costs for processing, transportation, packaging, and other wholesale and retail overhead costs. According to ERS’s Food Dollar Series, farm and agribusiness costs only represented 10.8 cents of every dollar spent on domestically-produced food in 2015.

  1. U.S. certified organic cropland has increased most years since 2002

Although the organic sector shows substantial regional and commodity concentration, all 50 States now have some organic production and processing. In 2015, the United States had 3.2 million acres of certified organic cropland and 2.2 million acres of certified organic pasture (including rangeland). That land accounted for less than 1 percent of all U.S. cropland and pasture, but continued the long-term growth trend in the organic sector. Between 2002 and 2015, U.S. certified organic cropland increased most years. The adoption of organic systems has been relatively higher in some sectors. For example, U.S. markets for organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs have been developing for decades. In 2015, 5 percent of fruit and vegetable acreage was managed under certified organic systems. In contrast, less than 0.3 percent of corn and soybean acreage—the two most widely planted U.S. crops—had adopted organic systems.

  1. Services—such as finance, real estate, and administration—had the highest share of employment for both rural and urban areas in 2015

In 2015, every industry group, except for farming, employed more workers in urban (metro) areas than in rural (nonmetro) areas. However, the share of employment in each industry varied in each area. For example, farming—counting both self-employed operators and their hired workers—accounted for about 6 percent of all rural employment, compared to 1 percent in urban areas. Manufacturing also employed a larger share of the rural (11 percent) than the urban (6 percent) workforce. Services—such as finance, real estate, and administration—had the highest share of employment for both rural and urban areas. But urban areas had a higher share of employment in services: 57 percent compared to 41 percent in rural areas. Trade, transportation, and utilities had the second highest share of employment, about 17 percent for both rural and urban areas.

  1. Urban areas offer higher earnings for workers with more education

The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey show that workers with higher levels of education had higher median earnings, both in rural and urban areas. Urban workers without a high school diploma earned about the same as their rural counterparts. However, at every higher level of educational attainment, the typical urban worker earned increasingly more than the typical rural worker with the same education. For example, the 2015 premium for working in an urban area was an estimated $2,088 a year for workers with a high school diploma—and $10,534 for those with a bachelor’s degree. Some studies suggest that higher urban earnings may encourage workers to leave rural areas, but factors like family ties and proximity to natural amenities (such as forest and lakes) may help keep or attract workers to rural areas. Educational attainment is only one of many potential characteristics that determine the wages that workers earn. Other characteristics not shown in the chart—such as work experience, job tenure, and ability—may also contribute to earnings.

  1. Protecting Our Infants Act: Report to Congress
    Summary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services response to the Protecting Our Infants Act (2015), including background information about prenatal exposure to opioids; neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS); evidence-based treatment and prevention programs; and suggestions to bridge the gap in barriers to care. Includes examples of successful rural programs and recommended guidelines for the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder among reproductive age women.
    Additional links: Protecting Our Infants Act: Final Strategy
    Sponsoring organization: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    Date: 2017
  1. Support and Available Options for Small, Underserved, and Rural Practices
    New section of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website, enabling practices with 15 or fewer clinicians to receive free, customized technical assistance, including help choosing and reporting on quality measures, guidance with strategic planning, and support optimizing health information technology.
  2. Urban-Rural Divide: Mapping Broadband Access
    Describes how access to broadband varies across the country. Includes a county-level map of broadband access. Discusses how broadband impacts rural people, including its impact on healthcare access.
    Sponsoring organization: Community Commons
    Date: 06/2017
  1. Rural population change varies across the United States

The number of people living in rural (nonmetro) counties stood at 46.1 million in July 2016, representing 14 percent of U.S. residents. Population in rural counties continued to decline slightly for a sixth straight year in 2015-16, according to the Census Bureau’s latest estimates. Rural population loss has been relatively small—192,000 fewer people in 2016 compared with 2010, a decline of just 0.4 percent. However, this overall trend masks substantial regional and local variation. Population declined by 790,000 people in the 1,350 rural counties that lost population since 2010. Extensive population-loss regions are evident throughout the Eastern United States. On the other hand, 466 rural counties grew at moderate rates (below the national average of 4.5 percent) and added 245,000 people. Many of these counties are located in recreation or retirement destinations, such as in the Intermountain West or southern Appalachia. The remaining 160 rural counties that increased at rates above 4.5 percent added 353,000 people. The highest rates of growth during 2010-16 occurred in rural counties with booming energy sectors, such as those centered in western North Dakota’s Williston Basin. However, these counties experienced a considerable population slowdown in 2015-16, in line with declines in oil and gas production.

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. How to Make Your Payments Processes More Efficient & Safe

Tuesday, August 1 | 3:00 p.m. ET | 12:00 p.m. PT

Learn about the Small Business Payments Toolkit, a free, newly updated educational resource created by the Business Payments Coalition. Designed for small businesses, the Toolkit will help you learn how to make your incoming and outgoing payments processes more efficient and safer. We’ll cover basic information on payment options and discuss pros and cons of each type.

  1. How to Avoid Losses Due to Payments Fraud

Tuesday, August 8 | 3:00 p.m. ET | 12:00 p.m. PT

In this second part of the Small Business Payments Toolkit series, we’ll describe current payment fraud schemes that small businesses should watch out for and provide important information on how to avoid being victimized by fraudsters. Your takeaways will include greater awareness of fraud threats and knowledge of fraud prevention tools that can help protect the valuable assets of your small business.

  1. Add More Revenue Streams to Your Service-Based Business

Wednesday, August 16 | 1:00 p.m. ET | 10:00 a.m. PT

Trading "hours for dollars" is an easy way for small business owners to make money, but not the smartest way to leverage your time. In this webinar produced by SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, attorney John Corcoran will teach you how to “scale up,” including:

  • How to add $50-100K in new revenue streams with your existing clients and network
  • How to get off the “time for dollar” roller coaster 
  • 10 income streams you can implement in your business today 
  • How you can get paid in advance to create your first one-to-many group program or offering (so you can build a more scalable business you love) 

  

promisetag

Our FB Feed