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.  

Rural Leaders Share Ideas to Improve Communities

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The Texas Rural Leadership Program participants share ideas to improve communities in this video.

Upcoming Webinar: Do something with those empty lots downtown!

From Glenn Muske at eXtension’s Entrepreneurs and Their Communities: You know those empty lots downtown? It’s time to put them to good use. We’re co-sponsoring (or offering points for) this webinar by SaveYour.Town to give you practical ideas and solutions other towns have used successfully to make empty lots into something useful. Don’t you have a roofless building in your downtown, too? Either one that burned or the roof just fell in because of disrepair? Well, you’ll get ideas for those, too. More examples of real places that… Read More →

Farmer Hayek: Do cities make us more productive?

Levi Russell over at Farmer Hayek picks up the issue of agglomeration economies today, encouraging further thought on a Burgh Diaspora post on the same topic. Interesting discussion, and I’ve added my thoughts to the Farmer Hayek comments. Always thought-provoking over at Farmer Hayek, and always fun when they delve into regional economics and politics.

Drinking Water Week 2016

It’s a busy week. In addition to being Small Business Week, May 1-7 is Drinking Water Week (resources here). Water in general and drinking water in particular are concerns for many of our rural areas. The Texas A&M Health Science Center recently linked compounds (nitrates, atrazine and arsenic) in rural water to birth defects. Learn more about Extension water resources here.

Ag in Uncertain Times Webinars on Local Foods – May 3

The current ag environment is often high-risk provides opportunities for diversification. Tune into the Ag in Uncertain Times webinar Tuesday, May 3, at 11:00 central. Participate at this link. Presentation Topics Overview of Local Food Systems in the West – Martha Sullins, Ag Business Management Specialist, Colorado State University Extension Product Development and Food Safety Issues for Farms – Karin Allen, Assistant professor, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences, Utah State University Farm Tourism – Shermain Hardesty, Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of… Read More →