The 2012 Fall Rural Affairs News for state staff issue recently went out to state Farm Bureau staff and leaders to share upcoming events and items of interest. Below are excerpts from the newsletter:
UPCOMING AFBF RURAL DEVELOPMENT MEETINGS
AFBF Annual Meeting, Nashville. Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 3-4 PM:
Roger Brooks, President & CEO of Destination Development International will be a session speaker at AFBF’s annual meeting in Nashville. He will speak about “Things You Can Do Today to Make a Difference Tomorrow.” Here is the session description:
There are nearly 30,000 counties, cities, towns and villages in North America and more than 28,000 of them are rural. This workshop provides tips and tricks − inexpensive marketing and community-improvement actions you can implement immediately to increase local spending, attract visitors, extend their stays and increase sales. Using case histories, advertising examples, and dozens of photos, you will learn how merchants have doubled their sales for just pennies and tricks that will pull customers into your farmstands and communities. You will learn ways to get everyone on the same page and pulling in the same direction to make your community a better place. In this engaging and humorous address, you’ll see and hear the stories of what works and what doesn’t, and learn the things you need to do to win as rural America works to reinvent itself.
15th Annual National Value-Added Agriculture Conference, May 19 – 21, 2013 in Rogers, Arkansas. Conference participants will have the opportunity to interact with innovative business owners and economic developers to discuss rural entrepreneurism, adding value to agricultural products, agritourism and rural economic development. The conference will include breakout sessions and tours to allow maximum interaction between participants and practitioners. Registration cost is estimated to be $150. Conference Hotel is $119/night at Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas – Hotel, Spa & Convention Center, 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway, Rogers, Arkansas 72758. More info coming soon.
2013 AFBF Rural Development Conference, September 10 – 12, 2013, in partnership with Illinois Farm Bureau in Bloomington, Illinois. Participants will learn about proven rural development action programs that can easily be adapted for use by state and county Farm Bureaus. The conference will include educational presentations, a tour of innovative community building projects and time for state Farm Bureaus to share successful programs. Registration cost will be $100. The host hotel will be The Chateau for $89/night, which includes free shuttle from the airport, breakfast and wireless internet.
Wealth Creation and Rural Livelihoods: future and archived webinars are available online.
National Good Food Network: future and archived webinars are available online.
AFBF RD CONGRESSIONAL WORK
Farm Bureau continues to work for the extension of tax provisions that expire at the end of this year. This includes the continuation of tax-free scholarships provided by the National Health Service Corps to students pursuing careers in primary healthcare who agree to work in underserved areas.
AFBF supports S. 2620, the Rural Hospital Access Act. There is a critical shortage of healthcare facilities and qualified healthcare professionals in rural communities. In addition, many rural residents depend on small, rural hospitals that face unique healthcare delivery challenges due to their size and type of patients. The Rural Hospital Access Act reauthorizes the Medicare-Dependent Hospital (MDH) and Low-Volume Hospital (LVH) Programs, which are vital to rural Americans. These hospitals serve rural Americans and are dependent on Medicare revenue due to the high percentage of Medicare beneficiaries who live in rural areas. Farm Bureau sent the attached letter of support.
CoBank announced it has designated $3 million for matching funds for cooperatives through the “Sharing Success” Program. CoBank serves U.S. agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and farm credit associations. The matching contributions are available for a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $5,000. CoBank began formally accepting applications August 1, 2012, and applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis.The program will run through December 31, 2012, or when the $3 million matching fund is exhausted. CoBank is also increasing their focus on community by Growing Rural America.
Foundation for Rural Education and Development (FRED) Scholarships: Scholarships for students from rural areas who are interested in pursuing a career in telecommunications or show an interest in returning to rural areas. Application deadline: February 15, 2013.
INTERESTING ITEMS ON RURAL ISSUES
Creating Rural Wealth: A New Lens for Rural Development Efforts by John Pender, Richard Reeder and Alexander Marre. Rural development efforts that create and maintain a broad portfolio of wealth may be central to sustainable rural prosperity.
Pop-Up Grocery Store Model Expanding Nationally: From San Francisco to Seattle and Chicago, pop-up grocery stores are providing healthy options to low-income consumers in food deserts. Studies show that they can be successful in changing eating habits if quality is prioritized and health education is provided.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Gardens: This program, run by the Department of Agriculture, allows citizens eligible for food stamps to use their food stamp funds to purchase plants and seeds to grow food in addition to groceries. This program is meant to help people with lower incomes pay for nutritious food in order to encourage better health throughout America. SNAP does not pay for all the food that a person or a family needs each month, just some of it. For more information, please visit http://www.snapgardens.org .
Build Your Own Walk-In Cooler with Less Expensive Compressor Technology
Technology developed by CoolBot allows farmers to build cheaper, homemade coolers instead of purchasing more expensive units, allowing them to increase yields without having to make a large investment.
Finding Appropriate Behavioral Healthcare for Farm People : October 4, 2012. Minnesota Farm Guide article discusses how few farm crisis hotlines, helplines and websites exist in agricultural states and regions. Currently, only eight states offer farmer-friendly telephone crisis counseling and referral services.
What Are You Doing To Tell Your Ag Story – One of the National FFA competitive events this year in Indianapolis is Telling Your Story for State FFA Officers. This competition judged the Officer’s approach and ability to share their story. Of added value is the Telling Your Story rules PDF, which contains media planning resources and a refresher for those in the media, marketing, advertising and public relations worlds [blog].