• New Videos Showcase Civic Engagement Successes

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  • National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Center (NARDeP) Releases New Policy Resources

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  • Phase V of SET Launching in January 2015

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Featured News

Finance Overhaul Casts Long Shadow on the Plains

August 12, 2010

Far from Wall Street, President Barack Obama's financial regulatory overhaul will leave tracks across the wide-open landscape of American industry.

Designed to fix problems that helped cause the financial crisis, the bill will touch storefront check cashiers, city governments, small manufacturers, home buyers and credit bureaus, attesting to the sweeping nature of the legislation, the broadest revamp of finance rules since the 1930s.

In Nebraska farm country, those in the business of bringing beef from hoof to mouth are anxious, specifically about the bill's provisions that tighten rules governing derivatives. Some worry the coming curbs will make it riskier and pricier to do business. Others hope the changes bring competition that will redound to their benefit.

Farmers like Jim Kreutz use derivatives to soften the blow should the price of feed corn drop before harvest. His brother-in-law, feedlot owner Jon Reeson, turns to them to hedge the price of his steer. The local farmers' co-op uses derivatives to finance fixed-price diesel for truckers who carry cattle to slaughter. And the packing plant employs derivatives to stabilize costs from natural gas to foreign currencies.

Derivatives are financial instruments whose value "derives" from something else, such as interest rates or heating-oil prices. The first derivatives were crop futures, which appeared in the U.S. at the end of the Civil War and became a standard facet of business for companies across America.

President Obama and other proponents say the financial overhaul will prevent the kind of reckless lending and borrowing that sank the financial system and left taxpayers with the check. They say non-financial companies are worrying unduly about the derivatives portion of the legislation.

The full impact won't be known for years, but in Nebraska nerves are already on edge.

To read the full story, visit The Wall Street Journal

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Community Behavioral Health Early Warning System -Index Partner Communities - Call for Proposals 2015

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Regional Rural Development Centers are partnering to implement a national program of early warning systems with respect to community-level incidence of behavioral health issues (e.g. substance abuse, mental illness). Increasing behavioral health issues impose costs on communities via treatment, law enforcement, and long-term impacts on individual and family productivity. The incidence of these issues and how they are expressed varies by place and across time, so local monitoring and intervention techniques are important.        

Learn More    |    January 30, 2015

Bonnie Teater Award Nominations are Due April 1

The Southern Rural Development Center is pleased to announce that nominations are being sought for the Bonnie Teater Community Development Early Career Award for 2015. This award honors the work of a "rising star" who has already achieved great things in his/her early career in community development.

Learn More    |    January 26, 2015

Phase V of SET Launching in January 2015

Stronger Economies Together, a partnership between Cooperative Extension Service, USDA RD, the four Regional Rural Development Centers, NIFA, and Purdue Center for Regional Development, is launching Phase V. SET V is taking a brand new approach based on an extensive review of the program. Significant improvements to engage participants has been made; a civic engagement module added which will increase stakeholder involvement and buy-in; and a more streamlined approach which reduces the number of modules and gives greater flexibility to adapt to the capacity of that region. Most importantly, significant time will be devoted to launching the plan into implementation.

Learn More    |    December 11, 2014

Understanding Communities: Online course offers tools for community development

Would you like to understand how communities work? Are you curious about why good ideas sometimes fall flat? Do you watch groups struggle to make decisions without adequate data? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions we invite you to register now for Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics.

Learn More    |    December 1, 2014

Rural America at a Glance, 2014 Edition

While urban employment now exceeds pre-recession levels, rural employment remains well below its 2007 peak. The total rural population has declined slightly for several years, as slowing natural population growth fails to offset net migration away from rural areas; this is the first time rural population declined since data became available in 1950 that could detect such a trend. This report highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas, focusing on the U.S. rural economy, including employment, poverty, and population trends.

Learn More    |    November 11, 2014