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Suzette's Letter, December 16, 2016

PUBLICATIONS

  1. Rural America at a Glance, 2016 Edition
    A report that provides an overview of social and economic factors affecting rural America. Includes data and statistics about employment, population, poverty, and income trends.
    Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service

 

  1. Small-Scale Manufacturers See New Markets Tax Credits as Future Hope

The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund announced it was awarding an unprecedented amount of tax credits to investors focused on job creation and other economy boosters in communities hit hard by poverty. The amount of the credits, known as New Markets Tax Credits, totaled $7 billion, with about 60 percent of that going to urban areas.

  1. EDA Proposes New Rules for RLF Program

EDA is proposing important changes to the regulations governing the RLF program that are intended to reflect current best practices and strengthen EDA's efforts to evaluate, monitor, and improve RLF performance.

  1. How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development

In its ongoing commitment to producing resources for community engagement with the arts, the National Endowment for the Arts has published How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development. The book features 28 essays from thought leaders active in arts-based community development as well as 13 case studies of projects funded through the NEA’s creative placemaking program, Our Town.

  1. Energy Department Initiatives Create Opportunities for Efficiency, Innovation

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the Zero Energy Districts Accelerator, an initiative to develop best practices for establishing commercial districts that have net-neutral energy consumption. The accelerator is now one of 12 listed under the Better Buildings Initiative, which also includes dedicated programming for community and manufacturing initiatives. DOE’s most recent annual report finds that collectively, Better Buildings programs saved 160 trillion Btus of energy and 2.3 billion gallons of water while collecting more than 400 resources on implementation processes and technologies through 2015. Read more...

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. 1.Webinar Series Will Get You Ready and Set to “GO” on a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has scheduled a new series of four free First Nations Knowledge webinars that will help Native organizations and tribal communities get ready and set to “GO” on conducting a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment, with the last in the series focusing on moving forward with action planning after the assessment. Please register for each webinar individually:

  • January 17, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Moving Forward! Community-Based Policy and Action Plans"

    Developing action plans from the CFSA data; experience gained through community engagement during the CFSA. This webinar will highlight success stories from two organizations or tribes.  Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2798412501323018754

 

Suzette's Letter, November 28, 2016

PUBLICATIONS

  1. 1.Rural America at a Glance, 2016 Edition
    A report that provides an overview of social and economic factors affecting rural America. Includes data and statistics about employment, population, poverty, and income trends.
    Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service

 

  1. 2.Unemployment rate for rural veterans at its lowest since before the Great Recession

The unemployment rate for rural veterans has declined steadily since reaching its peak of 10.3 percent in 2010. In 2015, it stood at 5.0 percent, its lowest rate since the start of the 2007-09 recession. The unemployment rate for young rural veterans (ages 18 to 34) has seen a large decline too—from a high of 15.7 percent in 2009 to 7.9 percent in 2015. Young veterans often face high unemployment due to service-related disabilities and a lack of civilian work experience, which is a greater obstacle when the economy is weak. The recent drop in unemployment for all veterans partly stems from the post-recession national economic upturn. Public and private efforts that help veterans transition into the workplace quicker and into better paying jobs that fit with their skills have also reduced the time that veterans remain unemployed. These efforts include greater recognition of the skills veterans learn during their service—such as discipline and timeliness—and the value of those skills in the workplace.

 

  1. 3. One in six U.S. households with children were food-insecure at some time in 2015

In 2015, 16.6 percent of U.S. households with children (6.4 million households) were food insecure at some time during the year. In about half of these households, only adult household members were food insecure as the children had normal or near-normal diets and meal patterns. However, in 7.8 percent of households with children (3.0 million households) both children and adults were food insecure. In 0.7 percent of households with children (274,000 households), food insecurity among children was so severe that caregivers reported that children were hungry, skipped a meal, or did not eat for a whole day because there was not enough money for food. In some households with very low food security among children, only older children may have experienced the more severe effects of food insecurity while younger children were protected from those effects. In 2014, 1.1 percent of households with children reported very low food security among children.

  1. 4.An Agenda for President-elect Trump to Move America Toward an Innovation Economy

President-elect Donald Trump made strong appeals during his campaign to restore economic opportunity for workers, particularly those displaced by changes in the manufacturing and energy sectors. An economy driven by transforming America’s scientific research into good-paying jobs and high-growth businesses would deliver on the promises Trump made to voters. SSTI has a policy agenda to provide entrepreneurs and investors with the support they need to make this transition to an innovation economy. Read more...

  1. 5.Local Impacts of Federal R&D Investments

As the United States undergoes a political transition, much remains to be seen in how the Trump Administration will approach the economy. One way to support economic development on both a federal and regional level is by leveraging research and development. Building capacity for scientific research is an underlying principle of the Innovative Science and Technology for Economic Prosperity (iSTEP) model – a comprehensive policy platform for converting the United States’ strength in R&D into greater economic prosperity – which has received bipartisan support from an overwhelming majority of voters. Roughly three-fourths of prospective voters in the 2016 presidential election support increasing federal funding for research, according to bipartisan polling supported by the Innovation Advocacy Council, an initiative of SSTI. Recent research also shows that scientific R&D grants distributed at the federal level can have significant effects on regional economies. Read more...

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. The Children's Health and Education Mapping Tool
    An interactive mapping resource that focuses on education and health disparities among low-income children using geographic information systems (GIS). County-level data and statistics included for child health, education, and socioeconomic status.
    Sponsoring organization: School-Based Health Alliance
  1. A Framework for Understanding Poverty: 10 Actions to Educate Students

Explore class differences and 10 actions you can implement in the classroom to improve the success of low-SES students. This webinar is based on Ruby Payne’s book A Framework for Understanding Poverty, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies. Thursday, December 1, 2016, 11:00am-12:00pm CST  

  1. Webinar Series Will Get You Ready and Set to “GO” on a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has scheduled a new series of four free First Nations Knowledge webinars that will help Native organizations and tribal communities get ready and set to “GO” on conducting a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment, with the last in the series focusing on moving forward with action planning after the assessment. Please register for each webinar individually:

  • December 13, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Go! Conducting Your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Conducting the assessment; analyzing the data; dissemination and confidentiality of data; how to use data for strategic/project planning and grant proposals; how to use data for policy development. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3422440325667269378

January 17, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
"Moving Forward! Community-Based Policy and Action Plans"

Developing action plans from the CFSA data; experience gained through community engagement during the CFSA. This webinar will highlight success stories from two organizations or tribes.  Register here:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2798412501323018754

Suzette's Letter, November 4, 2016

PUBLICATIONS

  1. White House Rural Council Rural Strategies that Work Memo

The White House Rural Council has released a memorandum entitled Rural Strategies that Work, which presents strategies for Federal work in rural America that have resulted in improved outcomes over the course of the Obama Administration. Authored by Secretary Vilsack, Office and Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Muñoz and National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients, the memorandum presents policies and administrative actions that increase rural communities’ ability to access and leverage local and Federal resources.

 

  1. Midsize farms are more common in the northern Great Plains and Heartland regions

Midsize farms, those with gross cash farm income (GCFI) between $350,000 and $1 million, represent an important link in the chain of family farms. Many U.S. midsize farms start out as successful small commercial farms, and as many as 15 percent of today’s midsize farms will become tomorrow’s large farms. In 2012, the U.S. had 125,441 midsize farms—the majority of which (over 70,000 farms) specialized in cash grains and oilseed crops. Another 15,000 midsize farms specialized in beef cattle. Midsize farms were found in greater proportions and numbers in the northern Great Plains (North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska) and the Heartland (Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana) because these regions are best suited to growing cash grains and oilseed crops. In 2014, midsize farms in these two regions contributed nearly half of the total value of production on midsize farms. That same year, midsize farms accounted for about 6 percent of U.S. farms and 21 percent of the total value of production.

  1. On-farm renewable energy production varies regionally

Since the early 2000s, farms have increased renewable energy production with technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and methane digesters. From 2007 to 2012, the number of farms generating on-farm renewable energy more than doubled to nearly 58,000—or 2.7 percent of U.S. farms. This does not include the roughly 16,600 farms that leased wind rights to others or that produced ethanol and biodiesel on the farm. Adoption of on-farm renewable energy systems varies across the country but it is concentrated in the Western United States, Illinois, and New England. In these regions, about two in five farm businesses produce renewable energy in some counties. The Southeastern States, which have fewer subsidies and programs supporting renewable power, had low adoption rates.

  1. Across income groups, fast food largest source of food-away-from-home calories

Federal food intake surveys conducted between 1977 and 2012 reveal that meals and snacks from fast food places accounted for more of Americans’ away-from-home calories than food from full-service restaurants, school cafeterias, or other away-from-home eating places. In 1977-78, eating places with no wait staff (fast food) provided 5.7 percent of daily calories for those age 2 and older, while food prepared by restaurants with wait staff provided 3.2 percent. By 2011-12, fast food’s share of calories had increased to 15.8 percent, while restaurant foods provided 8.9 percent of daily calories. Fast food’s ranking as the largest contributor to away-from-home calories held true for both higher income individuals (household income above 185 percent of the Federal poverty line) and individuals with incomes below that amount. In all of these surveys, higher income consumers obtained a larger share of their calories from foods prepared by restaurants (11.2 percent in 2011-12) than did lower income consumers (5.8 percent in 2011-12).

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. Webinar Series Will Get You Ready and Set to “GO” on a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has scheduled a new series of four free First Nations Knowledge webinars that will help Native organizations and tribal communities get ready and set to “GO” on conducting a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment, with the last in the series focusing on moving forward with action planning after the assessment. Please register for each webinar individually:

  • November 15, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Set! Designing your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Identifying priority issues for focus in the CFSA; designing the assessment tools, methods and questions; publicizing the work and setting up logistics for success. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7049058483607326210
  • December 13, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Go! Conducting Your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Conducting the assessment; analyzing the data; dissemination and confidentiality of data; how to use data for strategic/project planning and grant proposals; how to use data for policy development. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3422440325667269378
  • January 17, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Moving Forward! Community-Based Policy and Action Plans"

    Developing action plans from the CFSA data; experience gained through community engagement during the CFSA. This webinar will highlight success stories from two organizations or tribes.  Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2798412501323018754
  1. 2.Applicant Process Webinar November 16, 2016 | 1-2:00 PM (EST)

This webinar is hosted by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project as part of a BFRDP Education Enhancement Team.  There are resources and tools to support inexperienced applicants with the application process. Visit New Entry’s BFRDP Assistance Page at https://nesfp.org/BFRDP for more information and assistance from this project.

Suzette's Letter, October 21, 2016

PUBLICATIONS

  1. Growing Rural Economies and Opportunities through Social Media

From Facebook to Snapchat, rural businesses are exploring how to use social media to improve their customer’s experience and expand their customer base. Over the last eight years, USDA and the Obama Administration have partnered with rural communities to build more opportunities that support rural small business owners, farmers and ranchers through applied research. 

  1. Food insecurity fell in 2015 for minority-headed households and households with children

The prevalence of food insecurity in the United States declined from 14.0 percent of households in 2014 to 12.7 percent of households in 2015. Some types of households saw greater declines than others. Food insecurity for both Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics dropped from 2014 to 2015: the former declined from 26.1 to 21.5 percent, while the latter from 22.4 to 19.1 percent. Households with children younger than 18 saw a significant decline in food insecurity—from 19.2 percent in 2014 to 16.6 percent in 2015. Among these households, those headed by single mothers saw their food insecurity prevalence drop from 35.3 percent to 30.3 percent. The prevalence of food insecurity for households with children under 6 years old dropped from 19.9 to 16.9 percent as well.

  1. Pew Research Highlights State of American Jobs, Skills

The majority of Americans say new skills and training are critical to their future job success and to remain competitive in changing workplaces, according to a new report issued by the Pew Research Center in association with the Markle Foundation. This was particularly true for individuals working in STEM occupations, where roughly two-thirds of employed adults responded that ongoing training and skills development would be essential to their development. The State of American Jobs combines an analysis of government economic data with a survey of more than 5,000 adults conducted during the summer of 2016. The report includes: analysis on trends in job and wage growth by occupations; public assessments of the job situation and worker readiness; views on job satisfaction; the types of skills required for work; and, public views about the value of college education. Read more...

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. October is National Cooperative Month!

As part of this month’s celebration, USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) is holding a series of training and informational webinars to showcase the many important ways cooperatives empower our daily lives. For the full calendar of events for Co-op Month, visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/all-programs/cooperative-programs, or to request special accommodations, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: Scott Cessarich, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Jesus Lucero, USA Cooperative Youth Council, Hnin Hnin, Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, and Morgan Crawford, North American Students of Cooperation

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/57tvjzrooxe4&eom 

 

10:30 am-12 pm EST Facilitator: Claudette Fernandez, RBS Cooperative Programs / Community Economic Development

(Whitten Bldg - 107A) Speakers: Cornelius Blanding, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Mai Nguyen, California Center for Cooperative Development, and Nikki Marin Baena, Southern Reparations Loan Fund

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/8gljluzevxt8&eom

  1. NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Informational Webinar

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program helps fund organizations implementing programs throughout the United States that train beginning farmers and ranchers, through workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance. Eligible applicants include collaborative state, tribal, local or regionally-based networks or partnerships of public or private entities such as state cooperative extension services, community-based organizations, colleges or universities; and other organizations providing services to beginning farmers and ranchers. NIFA will host a free informational webinar for interested applicants on Oct. 26 from 1-3 p.m. EST.

  1. Webinar Series Will Get You Ready and Set to “GO” on a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has scheduled a new series of four free First Nations Knowledge webinars that will help Native organizations and tribal communities get ready and set to “GO” on conducting a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment, with the last in the series focusing on moving forward with action planning after the assessment. Please register for each webinar individually:

  • November 15, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Set! Designing your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Identifying priority issues for focus in the CFSA; designing the assessment tools, methods and questions; publicizing the work and setting up logistics for success. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7049058483607326210
  • December 13, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Go! Conducting Your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Conducting the assessment; analyzing the data; dissemination and confidentiality of data; how to use data for strategic/project planning and grant proposals; how to use data for policy development. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3422440325667269378
  • January 17, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Moving Forward! Community-Based Policy and Action Plans"

    Developing action plans from the CFSA data; experience gained through community engagement during the CFSA. This webinar will highlight success stories from two organizations or tribes.  Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2798412501323018754
  1. White House Rural Council Innovation Exchange

We invite you to join a White House Rural Council Innovation Exchange for a discussion with rural experts on the unique challenges and opportunities rural communities face and the innovative and strategic approaches that have led to successful outcomes in small towns across America. While the presentation will focus on Federal engagements with rural and tribal communities, staff working with resource-strained or high-need urban and suburban communities are encouraged to attend as several strategies presented will be transferrable.

  • Logistics: Tuesday, October 25th from 1:30pm-2:30pm EST. Call-in: (877) 369-5243; Code: 0964758#. Please respond to this calendar invite to RSVP.
  • Format: Agency presentations followed by audience Q&A. Participants are encouraged to submit questions and/or your own rural success stories in advance to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

  • Presenters:

Bert Wyman, White House Rural Council

Stephanie Bertaina, Office of Sustainable Communities, EPA

Claudette Fernandez, Community Economic Development, USDA

Max Finberg, AmeriCorps VISTA, CNCS

Jennifer Hughes, National Endowment for the Arts

Jason Walsh, White House Domestic Policy Council

  • Pre-reading: In advance of this session, we invite you to read the White House Rural Council’s Rural Strategies that Work memorandum, released earlier this month. Authored by the Chair of the White House Rural Council and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, OMB Director Donovan, Domestic Policy Council Director Muñoz and National Economic Council Director Zients, the memo details how agencies have addressed rural challenges such as limited institutional capacity, geographic isolation, low population density and persistent poverty.
  1. 5.2017 BFRDP Applicant Webinars Announcement

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) staff at NIFA will give a webinar to present information for the FY17 Request for Applications. The webinars are for applicants and their partners involved in networks and collaborations that offer education, training and technical assistance to new farmers. October 26, 2016 | 2-3:30 PM (ET)

 

  1. 6.Applicant Process Webinar November 16, 2016 | 1-2:00 PM (EST)

This webinar is hosted by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project as part of a BFRDP Education Enhancement Team.  There are resources and tools to support inexperienced applicants with the application process. Visit New Entry’s BFRDP Assistance Page at https://nesfp.org/BFRDP for more information and assistance from this project.

  

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