- 1.Rural Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Toolkit
This new toolkit, developed by the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, provides information, strategies, and resources to help rural communities implement substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. Browse program models and examples, and learn how to implement, evaluate, and sustain a program in your community and disseminate program results.
Between the 2001 and 2007-09 recessions, U.S. manufacturing employment fell by close to 30 percent. In many communities, the closing of a manufacturing plant can reduce local employment, earnings, and government tax revenue. To improve understanding of the factors affecting the survival of manufacturing plants, ERS studied plant survival over a 15-year period (1996 to 2011). Over this period, the average survival rate—the share of plants that were still employers—in rural (nonmetro) counties was 57 percent. By comparison, plants in urban (metro) counties had an average survival rate of 53 percent during this period. Survival rates also varied by ownership structure: Overall, independent plants (single-unit plants with only one physical location) had a 59-percent survival rate, while multi-unit plants had a 50-percent survival rate. Independent plants located in rural counties had the highest average survival rate (62 percent). Although States and regions have long tended to put more effort into recruiting and retaining multi-unit plants, the research shows that independent plants are more likely to survive—in both rural and urban counties.
- 3.Households shopping at supermarkets, supercenters, and warehouse club stores have highest healthy basket scores
Over the past two decades, some store formats—including supercenters, dollar stores, and warehouse club stores—have increased their share of Americans’ spending on “at-home food”—food and beverages purchased from retail stores. Shifts between store formats could have implications for shopping patterns. A recent ERS study computed “healthy basket” scores for monthly at-home food and beverage purchases. The higher the score, the closer a household’s purchases aligned with healthy-diet expenditure shares. Baskets were categorized by the format accounting for the household’s largest share of food expenditures. Scores were highest for households predominantly shopping at warehouse club stores (8.3), supermarkets (8.2), and supercenters (8.0). Household food baskets dominated by purchases from drug stores, convenience stores, and dollar stores had the least healthful purchases. Over 2008-12, an average of 67 percent of households in the data predominantly shopped at supermarkets, 17 percent at supercenters, and 6 percent at warehouse club stores. The other 10 percent shopped predominately at drug, dollar, convenience, and other store formats.
Efficient irrigation systems can help maintain farm profitability in an era of increasingly limited and more costly water supplies. More efficient gravity irrigation uses the force of gravity and field borders or furrows to distribute water across a field. It may also use laser-leveling to improve flood irrigation. More efficient pressure-sprinkler irrigation delivers water under lower pressure sprinklers and systems using drip/trickle tubes and micro-spray nozzles. The efficiency of irrigation systems is particularly important in the Western States—such as Nebraska, California, and Texas—where water demand for agriculture is greatest and diminishing water supplies are expected to affect future water availability. Data from USDA’s Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey (FRIS) show that irrigated agriculture in the West has become more efficient over time. More efficient irrigation systems (both gravity and pressure-sprinkler) were used on about 36 percent of total irrigated acres in the West in 1994, but increased to nearly half by 2013. More efficient pressure-sprinkler irrigation alone accounted for about 15 percent in 1994, but more than 37 percent in 2013. The share of acres using more efficient gravity systems peaked in the late 1990s, but then declined as farmers increasingly turned to the even more efficient pressure-sprinkler systems.
According to USDA’s 2013 Farm to School Census, 35 percent of all U.S. school districts reported serving local food in school meals during the 2011-12 school year. Twenty-two percent of all school districts served at least one locally-sourced food item daily or more than weekly, and 19 percent of school districts—containing 30 percent of U.S. school children—served local food daily. ERS researchers analyzed data from the Farm to School Census to identify which types of school districts were more likely versus less likely to serve local foods frequently in school meals. Rural school districts were 11.2 percentage points less likely to serve local food daily than school districts in cities, after accounting for other school district characteristics, such as region, enrollment level, per capita income of the surrounding county’s residents, and county-level density of farmers’ markets. School districts in suburbs and towns were also significantly less likely to serve local food daily compared to districts in cities.
While households spend more money on food as their incomes rise, food expenditures represent a smaller portion of income as households allocate additional funds to other goods. In 2015, U.S. households in the highest income quintile spent an average of $12,350 on food—both from grocery stores and eating out. This spending accounted for 8.7 percent of their incomes. Middle income households spent an average of $5,799 on food, or 12.4 percent of their incomes. Households in the lowest income quintile spent less for food on average—$3,767 in 2015—but their food expenditures accounted for 33 percent of their incomes. Two years earlier, the lowest income quintile spent 36.2 percent of their incomes on food. The share of income spent on food depends on several factors, including food prices and incomes. While retail food price inflation was relatively low in 2013, income levels were also lower than in 2015, contributing to the higher percent of income spent on food in 2013 by the lowest income households. Food expenditures as a share of income could fall in 2016 and 2017 across income levels due to declining retail food prices in 2016 and a continued trend downwards in prices for some foods in 2017.
According to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis state personal income data, national per capita income grew 4.0 percent from 2015 to 2016, and growth since 2012 is at 12.0 percent. States are experiencing this growth disparately, however, with five-year growth rates ranging from -0.6 percent (North Dakota) to 17.6 percent (California). Over this period, few states experienced significant changes in their performance relative to their peers — just four states moved more than five rankings — but shifts between income quintiles and variable growth rates suggest that more movement will be witnessed over the next few years.
- 8.Majority of Native Americans Live in Rural Areas and Small Towns, Not in Urban Areas as Commonly Reported, According to New “Twice Invisible” Report
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today published a report that clears up a longstanding “urban legend” that has had a negative impact on Native communities. The report – Twice Invisible: Understanding Rural Native America – challenges the commonly held belief that the majority of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in cities and urban areas. The Twice Invisible report looks closely at Census data and uses a definition of “rural” areas developed by the Housing Assistance Council that is calculated with a formula that takes into account population and housing density. Using this definition, First Nations’ researchers found that 54% of American Indian and Alaska Native people, or a majority, live in rural and small-town areas on or near reservations, contrary to common myths. The report was authored by Dewees and Benjamin Marks, First Nations’ Senior Research Officer, and was made possible by support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Catalyzing Community Giving initiative. The full report can be downloaded from the Knowledge Center on the First Nations website here.
USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the Nation’s largest food assistance program. In an average month in fiscal 2016, 44.2 million people—about 14 percent of the Nation’s population—participated in the program. Unlike other food and nutrition assistance programs that target specific groups, SNAP is available to most needy households with limited income and assets, subject to certain work and immigration status requirements. As a means-tested program, the number of people eligible for SNAP is inherently linked to the health of the economy. The share of the population receiving SNAP benefits generally tracks the poverty rate and, to lesser degrees, the unemployment rate and the poverty rate for children under age 18. Improvement in economic conditions during the early stage of recovery may take longer to be felt by lower educated, lower wage workers who are more likely to receive SNAP benefits, resulting in a lagged response of SNAP participation to a reduction in the unemployment rate.
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is offering a FREE three-part First Nations Knowledge webinar series that will help you manage and grow your agricultural business. These are perfect for existing Native farmers, ranchers and food producers, and will be especially helpful for entrepreneurs looking to launch an agriculture-related business. You do not need to attend all of the webinars in the series even though they build off of each other over the three-week period. However, we believe it would greatly benefit participants to tune into the complete series in chronological order. If that's not possible, the webinar recordings and materials will be posted soon after each one is completed under the "Previous Webinars" tab on the www.firstnations.org/fnk webpage. The first webinar in the series has been completed, but please register for each of the remaining webinars individually at the links below.
- Webinar 1: (Completed) Understanding the Local Food System & Defining Your Ag-Business Opportunity | Held on Wednesday, May 17, 2017
This webinar provided an overview of the current status of the U.S. food system and explained how this impacts your tribal agricultural business opportunity. It reviewed case-study examples of tribally-controlled agricultural and local food enterprises. It also helped guide entrepreneurs through a process of exploring their personal motivation behind the ag-business concept and helped entrepreneurs’ define their personal and business goals. All of these facets will be combined to help the entrepreneur clearly develop a draft ag-business concept.
- Webinar 2: Understanding Your Market & Developing a Marketing Plan | Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2 p.m. Mountain Time (1 p.m. Pacific / 3 p.m. Central / 4 p.m. Eastern)
This webinar will build on Webinar 1 to help ag entrepreneurs understand the opportunities, as well as potential limitations, of their location and local foods market. We will also explore key concepts related to sales and marketing, including understanding local needs, defining your products and services, and selecting your distribution channels. All of these topics will be combined to help the entrepreneur develop a clear and focused marketing plan.
- Webinar 3: Defining Your Key Business Operations & Developing a Financial Plan | Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2 p.m. Mountain Time (1 p.m. Pacific / 3 p.m. Central / 4 p.m. Eastern)
This webinar will build on the lessons learned in Webinars 1 & 2 to help ag entrepreneurs explore their risks and develop a plan for operational and staffing needs. We will also explore key financial principles and concepts such as investment requirements, pricing strategies, and operating expenses that are all directly related to profitability. We will also look toward the future to explore potential exit strategies. All of these topics will be combined to help the ag entrepreneur develop a clear and focused plan for operational and financial management.
Kresge is bringing together staff from the Environment Program, Investments team, and Social Investment Practice to consider how they can use the full range of capital tools to advance a water-equity agenda that reflects the needs and priorities of low-income communities and supports solutions to address the climate-related impacts on water systems.
A team of researchers at Stanford has created a "Living Map" of innovative ways to finance water projects in the United States that they hope will help regions finance water infrastructure upgrades.
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