Stateline Midwest ~ June 2012

Across the Midwest there is expected to be significant turnover this year in state legislatures. And particularly after another round of redistricting, agriculture’s voice in the legislature is at risk of being drowned out as more districts become urban or suburban, a shift that has been occurring for decades.

The Midwestern Legislative Conference and The Council of State Governments were represented at a recent meeting of the White House Rural Council in Washington, D.C. Formed in June by presidential executive order, the council is being led by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and is focusing on how the federal government can help foster economic growth in rural areas. 

State agriculture departments increasingly are branding produce and goods to guide a variety of purchasing choices. Whether influencing state residents to buy local produce or promoting exports to other states and countries, states are increasing their agriculture markets. 

Rural states should prepare to have fewer federal dollars in their economies.  The Obama administration has proposed cuts in USDA funding and Congress has announced a ban on earmarks, which have historically been a boon to some rural areas.

Kansas lawmakers are hoping the creation of Rural Opportunity Zones will help address a long-time concern in many parts of the state: the loss of population.

The availability of high-speed access varies widely in the Midwestern states. 

In Kansas, as is the case in many states, the data on job growth are clear: Most new jobs in a local economy are produced by the community’s existing small businesses, rather than by startups or relocations.

State eNews Issue #42 | March 17, 2010
 

Communication and cooperation among federal agencies and states are essential to the success of a national broadband plan, which the Federal Communications Commission released March 16.

That was the message Irene Flannery of the FCC and Cynthia Schulz of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration delivered at the National Association of State...

Suggested State Legislation: According to a NCCUSL summary:
The Uniform Limited Cooperative Association Act (ULCAA) is designed to promote rural development by creating the option of a statutorily-defined entity that combines traditional cooperative values with modern financing mechanisms.

RESOLVED, that Congress of the United States and the United States Department of Agriculture make the Rural Development title of the Farm Bill reauthorization a priority in terms of both programming and funding.