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Health care in rural America—sacrificing to survive

Driving two hours for routine health care check-ups may seem absurd to most people, but for those living in small, rural communities throughout the U.S., this is their reality. With the nearest hospital potentially hundreds of miles away, those in rural communities do not receive equal access to quality medical treatment.

Case studies reveal unique approaches to addressing climate change in rural areas

According to a 2019 survey conducted by the Center for Rural Affairs in Iowa, 91 percent of rural Iowans are “very or extremely concerned” by climate change affecting their lives. Of those individuals having an elevated concern level, many are taking steps to address it. 

The climate leaders in these case studies have taken action in their own ways. 

Conservation enrollment open

For farmers and ranchers interested in expanding conservation on their operations, two of the nation’s largest working lands programs—the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)—are open for applications. 

CSP and EQIP offer financial assistance to implement conservation practices, with EQIP offering support for individual practices and CSP providing support for a planned set of practices. CSP participants are required to demonstrate existing conservation efforts to enroll, while EQIP participants are not.

Growing your intercultural competence

You don’t know what you don’t know. If we want to grow and improve ourselves, we have to know where we need to focus our energy and attention. If our goal is to be more capable and effective engaging with difference and diversity, we must first explore our own differences.

Just like the the 10,000 hour rule, intended to improve our intercultural competency (or any other skill), we need to make a commitment to intentional and ongoing practice of engaging with difference to improve.

Grant funding available for producers looking to diversify their operations 

Agricultural producers interested in diversifying and taking on a new element to their operation are encouraged to apply for a Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA Rural Development has $37 million in grant funding available for this program in 2020. Individuals and groups of producers can apply for grants up to $75,000 for planning, and $250,000 for implementation and working capital.

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