Webinar: Committee of Negativity: Getting Past the Old Guard

Just saw a notice that Becky McCray and Deb Brown of SaveYour.Town are hosting their next webinar: Committee of Negativity: Getting Past the Old Guard. I hear about negativity concerns fairly often and think you will find these presenters helpful. Info is below. “All small towns have one, a committee of negativity that can’t find anything right with what you do. We’ve all been there and been frustrated with their reactions. Join Deb and I as we share stories and methods for diffusing the committee of negativity,” said… Read More →

Results of Texas Rural Leaders and Economies Survey Released

The report documenting results of the Texas Rural Leaders and Economies Survey is now posted on the Rural Communities website. A few economic highlights are below. For more information view the complete report online. Future posts will discuss local institutions, keeping young people, and rural leadership. Leaders tended to view overall economic conditions and retail conditions similarly. Most respondents rated their economies and retail sectors as stable. Perceptions of decline across both city and county respondents were more evident in rural counties not adjacent to urban areas.  … Read More →

Choices Issue on Local Foods

The Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (the national association for U.S. ag economics) has a policy-relevant journal directed toward non-economists. The current issue relates to local foods and includes a number of policy-relevant articles of interest to many of you. Check it out at Choices.

The Shape of U.S. States According to Commuting Patterns

My colleague John Robinson sent me a link to What if the United States Were Shaped According to Economics? by Ross Pomeroy. It’s always fun to see our usual state borders distorted or color-coated, whether by GDP or status as a tourism destination. Alasdair Rae and Garrett Nelson used American Community Survey commuting flows to identify functional economic regions. Pretty cool. Texas is broken into six states. It is important to think about the fact that this map is based on commuting patterns and not, say, spending patterns…. Read More →

Winning Football and Community Success

‘Tis the season. Or ’twas the season anyway. Texas high school football playoffs. I like small town football. Both my brothers played six-man football in Kansas. My son goes to a small school where the elementary kids get to run out on the field with the football players and stay there through the Star Spangled Banner. You see everyone at a small town football game. That’s what I really love–the sense of community around rural schools and their activities from junior high volleyball games to Kindergartners’ Veterans Day… Read More →

Rural Texas Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage

Yesterday I retweeted a Census Bureau infographic with national statistics on rural and urban poverty, income, health insurance coverage and housing. There are several positive messages in that data, including lower poverty rates for rural, lower rates of people living alone, and higher rates of children living in a married family households (being a single householder or the child of a single householder can be difficult). There were also some less pleasant statistics, including a larger share of rural residents without health insurance, a smaller share with a… Read More →

Thinking Beyond the Town Line: Strengthening Rural Development through Cooperation

We talk about regionalism all the time. Collaboration and partnership with surrounding communities is crucial for rural areas. Check out this great webinar recording from the Orton Foundation. Vibrant examples from Michigan, Kentucky, and South Carolina with an intro by of Brett Schwartz of NADO explaining why regionalism is important. Hang in there for the Q&A where the panelists discuss the tension and complementarity of collaboration and competition, among other things. Click the video image below to view the webinar or click here: Some really good thoughts in… Read More →

ERS releases 2016 Rural Development at a Glance

USDA ERS released its 2016 Rural Development at a Glance publication this month. As always, interesting points to ponder. This table with counties coded by dominant industry is interesting and shows the diversity of industry among Texas rural counties.         We like to think of Texas as a fairly rural state, but Census data shows that only 15.3% of Texans live in rural areas v. 19.3% across the entire U.S. In fact, Texas ranks as the 36th most rural state by that measure (alternatively, the… Read More →

Igniting the Spark for Community Development: Developing Community Readiness, SRDC Webinar

Often communities struggle with getting their citizenry involved in community betterment. Join the Southern Rural Development Center Tuesday, November 15, at noon Central to explore the concept of community readiness, and discuss programs and methods that encourage public engagement.

Economic Impacts of USDA International Market Development Programs

Very excited to be part of this project looking at Economic Impacts of USDA International Market Development Programs, which was featured by Iowa Public Broadcasting TV.