Have you seen this? It’s Obama’s agenda for rural America. Some excerpts (italics mine; some items reworded for brevity and clarity):
- Funnel subsidies to small farms, not agribusinesses
- Ban meat packers from owning livestock
- Strictly regulate CAFOs
- Establish Country of Origin Labeling
- Encourage Organic and Local Agriculture
- Encourage Young People to Become Farmers
- Partner with Landowners to Conserve Private Land
- Support Small Business Development: Provide capital for farmers to create value-added enterprises, like cooperative marketing initiatives and farmer-owned processing plants. Establish a small business and micro-enterprise initiative for rural America.
- Connect Rural America with broadband
- Combat Methamphetamine
- Improve Healthcare
- Improve Rural Education: Provide incentives for talented individuals to enter the teaching profession, including increased pay for teachers who work in rural areas. Create a Rural Revitalization Program to attract young people to rural America and retain them. Increase research and educational funding for Land Grant colleges
I’m speechless. In a good way.
The town I grew up in has about 2000 people. The goal of most of the college-bound students (perhaps 20-25% of the class) is “get the hell out of here ASAP and only come back for Thanksgiving.” Small towns and rural areas have huge problems with alcohol, drugs, unemployment, crumbling schools…and they get less attention than inner cities because the overall population is smaller.
So I’m thrilled to see these goals, which touch not only food and environmental issues that are close to my heart, but also infrastructure and quality of life issues, too.