News

Input needed on Conservation Stewardship Program farm bill updates

On Nov. 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program. A public comment period is now underway, and we encourage you to submit a comment on the changes, especially if you have held or applied for a CSP contract.

The comment period is an extremely important time for farmers’ and ranchers' voices to be heard, as USDA is required to read and address each comment they receive.

Increased access to clean drinking water could improve student health

Children spend a significant portion of their days in school for most of the calendar year, and public health advocates are concerned that too many are not drinking enough water, which can lead to a host of negative issues.

Jordan Rasmussen, policy manager for the Center for Rural Affairs, says insufficient water intake poses long-term health risks, and because dehydrated brains are not as sharp, children find it harder to stay focused in class.

Deadline nears to comment on Conservation Stewardship Program changes

Farmers who want to weigh-in on changes to the nation's Conservation Stewardship Program have five weeks to submit comments to the United States Department of Agriculture.

CSP offers farmers five-year paid contracts on working lands in an effort to control soil erosion, improve water quality, protect wildlife habitat and support other conservation practices. Paul Ackley farms 800 acres in southwestern Iowa and said the program helped him improve profitability.

From the executive director: connecting housing and economic development 

The Center has long focused on strategies to support economic vitality for small communities. Our work to assist small businesses, develop value-added agriculture, and improve policy all focus on creating widespread opportunity for people who live in rural areas.

Increasingly, we see small town housing as an economic development issue. While adequate and affordable housing is a quality of life issue, it also plays an important role in economic development. A lack of local housing can undercut successful business start-up or business growth strategies.

Civity and Center staff connect to create welcoming communities

The Center for Rural Affairs strives to help create vibrant, rural communities through its work. But, what does that mean to those who live outside of rural America?

Recently, Center for Rural Affairs community organizers Gladys Godinez and Jordan Feyerherm joined host and Civity communications consultant Gina Baleria on the podcast “This is Civity.” Their discussion focused on the work done at the Center to encourage inclusion and connection in rural communities.

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