A big congratulations to MACDEP members Wendy Wedum for receiving the NACDEP 2011 Excellence in Community Development Work Award and Bruce Smith for receiving the NACDEP 2011 State Distinguished Extension Community Development Service Award. Awards will be presented at the upcoming NACDEP Conference in Charleston in March. Well done, Wendy and Bruce!
Rural Unemployment Rises in November
The Daily Yonder reports that unemployment rose four-tenths in rural counties in November 2010 (the latest month where county data is available).
The map above shows all mainland U.S. rural counties. Brown counties had unemployment rates that rose from October to November. Blue counties had unemployment rates that fell from October to November. The regional patterns are readily apparent: Unemployment was rising in the northeast, southeast, Kentucky and the Ozarks, the Upper Great Plains and the Northwest. Unemployment was falling in the Deep South, Ohio, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico and parts of Utah, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
The Impact of the Great Recession on Long-Term Services and Supports
As reported by the AARP Public Policy Institute, to understand current state LTSS budgets, it is important to consider the larger state budget and economic context, including the impact of ARRA stimulus funds. Enrollment in the Medicaid program also serves as an important indicator of economic recovery and is also a lagging indicator. Higher overall enrollment in Medicaid generally accompanies economic downturns. Most economists agree that Medicaid enrollment lags 18 months past the first sign of economic recovery. According to the June 2010 National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers Fiscal Survey of the States, most states projected 2011 tax revenues from major sources (personal income, corporate, and sales taxes) below prerecession levels. Only nine states and the District of Columbia project revenues above 2007 levels in 2011, and about half of these states project less than a 5 percent increase over prerecession levels. Some states expect to remain significantly below 2007 levels—as much as 30 percent or more, as indicated by the map below.
These gaps between revenues and expenditures are difficult to close. And, while state tax revenues are down substantially, states must still contend with increasing service demands due to the economic decline.
Thirty-one states reported that they would reduce funding for aging and disability services (non-Medicaid) and state-only funded services in FY 2010 (as seen on the map above). No obvious regional patterns emerge in the reductions states reported. The most significant reductions were in Missouri and Oregon, with reductions of more than 25 percent. Surprisingly, there is limited correlation between states that had significant percent declines in state tax revenue and the size of non-Medicaid expenditure reductions.
Poverty Highest in Rural Areas, Increases With Recession
As reported by The Daily Yonder, nearly one in six people living in rural America fell below the poverty line in 2009, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, and poverty rates in rural counties continue to be higher than in rural and urban communities. In 2009, the poverty rate in rural America was 17.26%, according to the Yonder’s analysis of Census Bureau data. The rate in exurban counties was 13.3%; and in urban counties, the rate was 13.9%. The national poverty rate in 2009 was 14.4%. Rural, urban and exurban poverty rates were higher in 2009 than before the recession began in late 2007. The map below shows the distribution of poverty in rural America 2009. Blue counties have poverty rates below the national average of 14.4%. Dark blue counties have poverty rates under 10%. Brown counties have rates above the national average — and the dark brown counties are high poverty communities, where more than 20% of the population earns less than the poverty threshold.
The map below shows in blue those 688 rural counties that had dropping poverty rates in those years. About one-third of rural counties had declining poverty rates during these recession years. Most of those were west of the Mississippi. The brown counties (1,338 of them) had rising poverty rates. The dark brown counties had poverty rates that rose by more than five percentage points. These were in familiar pockets of rural poverty — the Delta and Eastern Kentucky.
New Study Reveals Family Caregivers Want Web-Based and Mobile Technologies to Help Them Care for Their Loved Ones
United HealthCare Services reports that a study of 1,000 technology‐using family caregivers surveyed understand that they can benefit in various ways from using additional technologies to support their caregiving. The top expected benefits are saving time (77% believe they would benefit somewhat or a great deal), making caregiving easier logistically (76%), making the care recipient feel safer (75%), increasing feelings of being effective (74%), and reducing stress (74%). The technologies with the greatest potential can best be seen by plotting a graph of the percentage of caregivers who think a technology is helpful by the percentage who report that one or more barriers would prevent them from trying it, as indicated by the figure below.
Baby Boomers Dissatisfied with Direction of Country
According to the Pew Research Center, Baby Boomers are more downbeat than other age groups about the trajectory of their own lives and about the direction of the nation as a whole. Some of this pessimism is related to life cycle -- for most people, middle age is the most demanding and stressful time of life. Some of the gloominess, however, appears to be particular to Boomers, who bounded onto the national stage in the 1960s with high hopes for remaking society, but who've spent most of their adulthood trailing other age cohorts in overall life satisfaction. At the moment, the Baby Boomers are pretty glum. Fully 80% say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today, compared with 60% of those ages 18 to 29 (Millennials), 69% of those ages 30 to 45 (Generation Xers) and 76% of those ages 65 and older (the Silent and Greatest Generations), according to a Pew Research Center survey taken earlier this month.
Rural Wage Gap Increases
The Daily Yonder reports that rural workers earn wages that are, on average, only three-quarters the scale of the national average. The average rural wage has risen over the past decade, from $25,964 in 2001 to $33,513 in 2009. When inflation is calculated, it means that rural wages rose 7.5% between 2001 and 2009. Still, the average rural worker only earns 74% of the average urban worker. The map below shows how the average wage varies across rural America. Dark pink counties have average wages above the national average of $45,831.
The graph below compares wages in rural, urban, and exurban counties in 2009.
2011 Montana Economic Outlook Seminar
Billings, February 1, Crowne Plaza
Bozeman, February 2, Best Western GranTree Inn
Butte, February 3, Holiday Inn Express
Kalispell, February 11, Hilton Garden Inn
Sidney, March 15, USDA/ARS
Miles City, March 16, Bureau of Land Management
All seminars begin at 8 AM and end after the luncheon at 1 PM. See agenda and register online.
CDS Webinar Certificate Series III
February 3, 10, 17, 24 @ 1:00-2:00 pm MST
Funding for Your Cause - Effective Tips for Funding Non-Profits in Challenging Times! Register or email or call (614) 221-1900 ext 227 for more information. If you would like to participate in the planning or presenting of future CDS Webinars, please contact Connie Loden.
Rural Sociological Society and Community Development Society Call for Papers – Extended Deadline
The Rural Sociological Society and Community Development Society are pleased to jointly announce a call for papers for a co-hosted conference on “Reshaping Rural America in an Urban Society: Innovative Approaches for Community Change,” which will be held in Boise, Idaho, on July 28-31, 2011. Deadlines for submission has been extended to February 15, 2011. Abstracts and proposals may be submitted via email or through conference website, which also provides guidelines for submission.
Community Development Academy
March 28 through April 1, Excelsior Springs, Missouri
Registration is underway for Course 1, "Building Communities from the Grassroots" and Course 2, "Empowering Communities for the Future" which will be held at the Elms Hotel, Excelsior Springs, Missouri (just outside of Kansas City) March 28 - April 1, 2011. Click here for more information and to register for the courses. A limited number of scholarships are available for those from community groups and organizations to assist with registration costs. Registration is open until March 14th but space is limited. If you have any questions please contact Steve Jeanetta at (573) 884-3018 or Johanna Reed Adams at (573) 882-3978.
Creating Opportunities in an Evolving Economy - NACDEP's 2011 Gathering
March 7-9, Charleston, South Carolina
The 2011 conference will highlight the role of Extension Community Development professionals in assisting communities in adapting and capitalizing in a more accountable economy. The conference provides a forum for Extension educators, scholars, researchers, partners and government officials to explore the breadth of topics related to community development. See new brochure for details and click here to register.
National Extension Conference on Volunteerism 2011
April 18-21, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Registration is open for the 2011 National Extension Conference on Volunteerism to be held April 18-21, 2011 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Please visit the website listed below to learn more about this exciting professional development opportunity! You may also register online! A Conference Footprint (Agenda) is available as well as a list of all of the workshop presenters and abstracts for each of the workshops available during the 5 concurrent sessions.
Mobilizing Rural Communities Conference Webinar Series
February 11th, 2011 (11am) Mid-Legislative Update: Offensive and Defensive Strategies Across the Region, March 8th, 2011 (9am) NCCP Work Supports Analysis Orientation: Montana and North Dakota Tools, April 12th, 2011 (10am) Innovative Approaches in Indian Country, May 10th, 2011 (10am) Facilitating Career Pathways & Workforce Development, June 14th, 2011 (10am) Native American Credit Counseling, July 12th, 2011 (10am) Behavioral Economics, August 9, 2011 (TBD) Corporation For webinar instructions, contact Christine Barsky.
EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection Solicitation for Grant Proposals to Address Children’s Environmental Health
Deadline: February 18, 2011
EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection is pleased to announce the release of a solicitation for grant proposals to address children's environmental health in underserved communities by building capacity for these communities to reduce environmental exposures in child-occupied settings (e.g. homes, schools and child care centers). Funds available for award are expected to total approximately $1.5 million, and EPA intends to award approximately 15-20 awards, each for an amount not to exceed $100,000.
Deadline: March 1
The Steele-Reese Foundation supports projects in education, health, human/social services, arts/humanities, and conservation/preservation.
Seventh Generation Fund
Deadlines: June 1 and October 1
Seventh Generation Fund supports Native communities whose goals and objectives closely match one of our program areas including Arts and Cultural expression, Environmental Health & Justice, Human Rights, Intergenerational Leadership, Sacred Earth, Sustainable Communities, and Women's Leadership.
Ben and Jerry's Foundation Grants
The Foundation supports nonprofit community organizations throughout the United States that bring about progressive social change by addressing the underlying conditions of societal and environmental problems. The broad goals of the program are to further social justice, protect the environment, and support sustainable food systems. Grants of up to $15,000 are provided to grassroots, constituent-led organizations that are using community organizing strategies to accomplish their goals as well as organizations that provide technical support and/or resources to such groups. The Foundation does not make grants to support social service programs. Letters of interest may be submitted at any time.
First Nations Development Institute
First Nations’ Native Youth and Culture Fund provides grants of $5,000 to $20,000 for projects that focus on youth and incorporate Native culture and tradition to address issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, mental health, and other social issues.
|Community Development "In the News"
Natural Gas Prices Drop
Natural-gas prices fell Thursday as winter headed into its final months with plenty of gas still on hand across the country. Natural-gas futures for March gave up 18.2 cents, or 4 percent, to settle at $4.319 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a 10 percent drop from Friday. Denver Post; Jan. 28
USDA Approves Genetically Modified Alfalfa
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Thursday that he would authorize the unrestricted commercial cultivation of genetically modified alfalfa, setting aside a controversial compromise that had generated stiff opposition. New York Times; Jan. 27
Oil Prices Fall
U.S. crude prices slid again Thursday, ending below $86 a barrel, as domestic inventories rose and a Kuwaiti oil executive warned about the run-up in prices since summer. Los Angeles Times; Jan. 27
New Food Tracking Rules Boosts Data Industry
In response to a new federal food safety law and growing consumer interest, vast amounts of new data are being generated about the complicated path that food takes from field to supermarket shelf. And, increasingly, some of that information is being offered to curious shoppers, who in some stores can wave a smartphone above an apple or orange and learn instantly where it was grown, who grew it and whether it has been recalled. They can even contact the farmer, if they feel moved. Washington Post; Jan. 24
Sales of Buffalo Meat Increase
Trendsetting consumers and restaurants on the East and West Coasts caught on. Grass-fed, sustainable and locally grown, obscure concepts to most people 15 years ago or so when the buffalo meat market first emerged, became buzzwords of the foodie culture. Nutritional bean counters, obsessing over lipid fats and omegas, found in buffalo a meat they could love. New York Times; Jan. 22
Changes in American Job Climate
Experts expect growth in high-paying, high-skilled jobs and low-paying, low-skill jobs and less expansion in the middle, while automation and globalization may entirely eliminate certain sectors. USA Today; Jan. 13
2010 Wettest Year, Tied for Hottest
New government figures for the global climate show that 2010 was the wettest year in the historical record, and it tied 2005 as the hottest year since record-keeping began in 1880. New York Times; Jan. 12
Gold, Grains Standout Commodities in 2010
From gold to grains to oil, commodities finished 2010 at or close to their highest levels in years. Gold closed Friday at $1,421.40 an ounce, up roughly 31 percent for the year after an almost uninterrupted climb since January. Grains and soybeans capped off a rally that started this summer, and oil prices ended the year at levels many analysts considered unachievable just six months ago. Salt Lake Tribune; Dec. 31
Governor Optimistic About State Economy
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, repeating familiar themes in his final State of the State address, told lawmakers and a statewide broadcast audience Wednesday night that Montana’s economy is beginning to boom and can easily finance a top-drawer education system, without making big budget cuts. Helena Independent Record; Jan. 27
Industry and Lawmakers Target State Constitution
Legislative supporters of extractive and other industries want to ask voters to change the Montana Constitution's "clean and healthful environment" provision to help aid development. The declaration in the Constitution's inalienable rights has long been a sore point for those who say it gets in the way of development — while conservationists and others hail it as forward-thinking language that has helped preserve the state. Great Falls Tribune; Jan. 27
Montana Projected to Be Fourth in Age by 2015
This month, a tidal wave of baby boomers — 7,000 Americans each day — begin reaching that milestone. In relative terms, Montana rides on the cusp of that wave. In fact, by 2015, projections rank Montana fourth in the nation in percentage of seniors. By 2025, "mature" Montanans will number 240,000 — up by more than 100,000 from today. Billings Gazette; Jan. 16.
Blackfeet Woman Honored for Role in Trust Suit
Nora Lukin, 91, of the Blackfeet Tribe, was honored for her role in the $3.4 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit over mismanagement of land royalties owned Native Americans is bittersweet. The settlement of the U.S. government's century-long mishandling of money from oil drilling, grazing and timber harvesting on Native American properties nationwide was celebrated Saturday at the Blackfeet Community College here, where the fight to right the wrong began. Great Falls Tribune; Jan. 16.
Montana's Ag Sector Hit $3 Billion in 2010
Montana farms and ranches had a $3 billion year in 2010, thanks to good weather and strong prices. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that Montana had shattered several crop records in 2010. Farmers harvested 215 million bushels of wheat, and became the national leader in lentil production. Billings Gazette; Jan. 13.
Farmers, Ranchers Oppose Eminent Domain Bill
A bill meant to help the Montana-Alberta Tie power line condemn a small piece of property for its northern Montana route ran into a buzz-saw of landowner opposition Wednesday, as ranchers and farmers blasted the measure as an assault on private property rights. Montana Standard; Jan. 13
EPA Rejects State Air Quality Rules
Federal environmental officials said Thursday they plan to reject Montana air quality rules that allow oil and gas companies to obtain emissions permits after they have already started drilling. The Environmental Protection Agency said the rules do not meet requirements of the Clean Air Act. Helena Independent Record; Jan. 7