We've posted the streaming audio and video from the Rural Community Conference; Simply click on the session or keynote speaker to listen and watch. We'll also make available a DVD of this material in the coming weeks.
Also, our MACDEP Annual Meeting will take place at the upcoming Extension Conference in Bozeman on Oct. 18; please send us your comments and agenda items and plan to join us in person or via conference call. Contact for more info.
Phosphorus Shortage Raises Concern
The Daily Yonder reports that modern farming methods depend increasingly on fossil fuels and major plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Like oil, we are seeing the same coming shortages in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. A New York Times writer recently said that phosphorus availability is "the gravest natural resource shortage you've never heard of." The fact is, corporate and political control of essential plant nutrients may be the gravest long run competition issue you've never heard of. The following graphs illustrate falling phosphate production and the resultant price increase:
OECD Report Encourages Governments to Fight Obesity
A new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development examines the current obesity epidemic, giving new comparative data, trends and projections across OECD countries and outlining causes and costs. It also notes ways in which the private sector and governments encouraged obesity and makes recommendations for ways they can contribute to combating it. The following graph compares past and projected obesity rates for OECD countries:
Rates are highest in the United States and Mexico and lowest in Japan and Korea, but have been growing virtually everywhere. Children have not been spared, with up to 1 in 3 currently overweight. Severely obese people die 8-10 years sooner than those of normal-weight, similar to smokers, and they are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Obesity is a burden on health systems, with health care expenditure for an obese person at least 25% higher than for someone of normal weight.
Census Bureau Releases "Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009"
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that real median household income in the United States in 2009 was $49,777, not statistically different from the 2008 median. The nation's official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008, the second statistically significant annual increase in the poverty rate since 2004. There were 43.6 million people in poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million in 2008, the third consecutive annual increase. The following graph displays poverty rate data from 1950 to 2009.
The graph below indicates poverty rates by age group for the same time period:
Census Bureau Releases 2009 American Community Survey Data
On September 28th, the U.S. Census Bureau released the results of the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS), one of a series of data products the Census Bureau is releasing in the coming months that provides information on the nation's population. This release is based on survey responses collected during the 2009 calendar year and provides data about the nation's socioeconomic, housing and demographic characteristics. In addition to the ACS data released, the Census Bureau is releasing a set of briefs on seven topics: poverty, median household income by state, men's and women's earnings by state, food stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receipts by state, health insurance coverage among children, disability among the working age population, and usual hours worked during a week at all jobs held. As an example, the map below displays the variation in poverty rates by state for the 2009 ACS.
Consolidated Federal Funds Report Released
Released on August 31, 2010, the Consolidated Federal Funds Report: 2009 describes the distribution of federal funds by department and agency, and by state and county. The map below shows federal funds allocation by state for fiscal year 2009.
A companion report also released the same day, Federal Aid to States: 2009, shows federal grants to state and local governments. Federal spending includes expenditures or obligations for grants, salaries and wages, procurement contracts, direct payments for individuals for retirement and disability, and other direct payments. The map below shows federal aid to state and local governments.
Cities With the Most Pedestrian Deaths
As reported by Planetizen, GOOD Magazine has produced the following infographic illustrating the world cities with the most pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents; three American cities are at the top of the list.
Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles appear on the outer ring of the circle, with Atlanta and Detroit each coming to roughly 10 pedestrians killed each year for every 100,000 residents. Los Angeles comes in with 7 and a half. The source of the study is the New York City Pedestrian Safety and Action Plan released in August 2010.
Community Development Professional Webinar Series
October 7, 14, 21 & 28, 1-2pm MST
The Community Development Society is offering four professional webinars this month. Visit the CDS website for more information or to register online.
AERO Energy Tour
October 8, 1:30-4:30pm, Fort Benton
The Alternative Energy Resources Organization will be hosting an energy tour in Fort Benton. Participants can meet renewable energy installers and energy efficiency experts, learn about loans, tax credits and rebates, find out how to cut irrigation costs, and tour two inspiring projects. Please call (406) 443-7272 to pre-register. Space is limited.
Non-Profit Management Workshop
October 8, 9-5pm, Butte
The Non-Profit Management Workshop is being held October 8th in Butte on the Montana Tech campus. Please contact the Enrollment Services Office at (406) 496-4256 to register for the seminar or email with any questions.
Sixth Community Capitals Framework Institute
October 15-16, Ames, Iowa
The Sixth Community Capitals Framework Institute, sponsored by the Heartland Center for Leadership Development, will focus broadly on issues related to mapping impact and understanding change processes employing the Community Capitals Framework. Please register online by October 6th or click here for more information.
AERO's 36th Annual Meeting
October 22-24, Helena
The Alternative Energy Resources Organization will be holding its annual meeting in Helena this year. In addition to a series of workshops and events, Dr. Wes Jackson, founder and president of The Land Institute, will be providing the keynote address. Click here to register online.
Free Financial Education Webinars
October 26 and November 30, 2010, 6:30pm
Iowa State University Extension will be hosting a 90 minute webinar on Family Asset Building on October 26th and the Montana State University Extension Service will be hosting a Family Financial Education webinar on November 30th. On your personal computer at least 10 minutes before the start of the webinar, please go to the Montana State University Extension Service's Webinar Login Page and enter as a guest. If you have never attended a Connect Pro webinar before please test your connection beforehand. The previous Agri-tourism Webinar from 9/28/2010 is archived and available for viewing.
Communication Across Barriers Presents Poverty and Coaching Institutes
December 9-10 and 13-14, Portland, Oregon
Communication Across Barriers will be presenting a Poverty Institute learning session December 9-10 and a Coaching Institute session December 13-14. Register online for the Poverty Institute and Coaching Institute or see website for more information.
2011 NACDEP Conference Call for Participation
March 7-9 2011, Charleston, South Carolina
Presentation proposals are currently being accepted for the 2011 conference of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals. The theme of this year's conference is "Creating Opportunities in an Evolving Economy." Abstracts for presentations, workshops, and posters must be electronically submitted via email to of Iowa State University Extension by midnight on October 22nd for blind reviews by the Conference Review Committee.
"Food and Agriculture Under the Big Sky" Conference Call for Participation
June 9-12, 2011, Missoula
Submissions are now being accepted for the Joint 2011 Annual Meetings of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, the Association for the Study of Food and Society, & the Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition to be held in Missoula in June of 2011. Abstracts and proposals for papers, posters, panel sessions, roundtables, and workshops will be due on Feb. 1, 2011. More information can be found here.
Youth Garden Grants Available
Deadline: November 1, 2010
The National Gardening Association awards Youth Garden Grants to schools and community organizations across the United States with child-centered garden programs. Schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities, and intergenerational groups in the United States are eligible to apply. Applicants must plan to garden with at least fifteen children between the ages of 3 and 18. Click here for more information and to apply online.
Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant
Deadline: December 1, 2010
This grant is open to anyone who is interested in noxious weeds and developing a local cooperative, education, or research project. Grant guidelines, application forms, environmental assessment worksheets, and environmental resource information are on the Montana Department of Agriculture's website for applicants to download. For more information contact Dave Burch, State Weed Coordinator at 406-444-3140.
Survey of State Disability Policy Released
The Council of State Governments has released the 2010 Survey of State Disability Policy, an illustrative sampling of state policy related to disabilities, including: community integration and long term care, housing, employment, education, health and co-occurring disabilities, disability awareness, benefit counseling and access, state programs and initiatives, and federal policy and the states. While not comprehensive (149 entries from 31 states) the survey provides a flavor of state level disability policies.
As Figures 1 and 2 illustrate, skilled nursing facilities (as defined Section 1819a of the Social Security Act) and long-term care hospitals (defined by hospitals averaging 25 days of inpatient care) can be few and far between for citizens in rural states and far from urban centers.
Rural Districts Lead Congressional Leadership Switch
As reported in The Daily Yonder, of the Congressional districts thus far spotted as most likely to switch their party leadership this fall, nearly two-thirds (64%) are rural. The map below indicates which rural districts are part of this phenomenon.
Democrats fill 55 of these highly competitive seats, Republicans 9. If Republicans can retain the seats they hold now and win 39 of these tight races in November, the GOP will gain control of the House of Representatives. Regionally, however, the rural battleground districts are scattered all over the map: the Dakotas, the Pacific Northwest, the Deep South, the Midwest, and New England.
Recession Claims 1.2 Million Rural Jobs
The Daily Yonder reports that, since the beginning of the recession, rural counties have lost 1.2 million jobs. Only five states have registered increases in the number of rural jobs over the last three years.
This map shows job losses and gains between July 2007 and July 2010 in every rural county. Green counties gained jobs. Tan and red counties lost jobs. The darker the color, the more jobs were lost. The current recession began in December 2007, nearly three years ago.
Rural Jobs and Migration
As reported by The Daily Yonder, a study released by the Economic Research Service examines rural jobs and migration. The map below shows the change in migration patterns in to and out of rural counties between 2005 and 2009. The red counties had net outmigration in both 2005 and 2009. The yellow counties had net outmigration in 2009. And the blue counties had net in-migration in 2009. The map shows rural counties only.
Federal Education Incentive Program Not Suited to Rural Schools
The Daily Yonder reports that requirements of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTT) competition established in 2009 as part of the economic stimulus bill seem best suited to densely populated and urban states. Awards have born this out, with funding going to states on the East Coast rather than to Midwestern or Western states with low population densities and high proportions of rural schools. The following graph indicates the percentage of public schools designated as rural by state.
Rural Counties Receive More Stimulus Dollars Than Urban
The Daily Yonder reports that rural counties have received more stimulus money than urban counties, but the differences were small.
The map shows the distribution of stimulus funding in rural counties only. State capital counties have been taken out, since they receive a disproportionate amount of stimulus money. This is the amount of stimulus funding that has been spent through the first half of this year.
Fewer Rural Stocks, People Losing Ground
The Daily Yonder reports that, relatively speaking, rural people and businesses seem to have fared better than have those in the cities. The Pew Research Center found that rural residents have come through the recession better, relatively, than those in the cities or the suburbs.
The above chart shows that rural Americans were less likely to report that they had lost ground during the recession than those living in the cities or the suburbs. This is not to say that rural America was unscathed during the downturn; according to Pew's survey, 52% of rural Americans say they've lost ground during this recession.
Rural stocks have also fared better. Since the beginning of the recession, 40 publicly traded stocks chosen by The Daily Yonder to reflect the rural economy have outpaced all the major stock indexes. The graph below shows that DY 40 index of rural stocks has risen 12.1%. The Dow Industrials are up 4.1% and the Standard & Poor's 500 has risen just 3%.
Rural Job Picture Varies by Region
As reported in The Daily Yonder, the unemployment rates in rural counties varied from region to region, as seen in the map below.
The map above shows all rural counties. Purple counties have unemployment rates above the national average of 9.75%. Green counties have unemployment rates below the national average. The dark green counties have the best job picture. The lowest unemployment rates among the Lower 48 states can be found in North and South Dakota.
Six out of ten rural counties had unemployment rates lower than the national average in July, according to data released late last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hardly any part of rural America is "average," however. The rates swing wildly from region to region, ranging from 24% in one Michigan county to one percent in communities in Alaska and the Dakotas. The unemployment picture in rural America continues along familiar lines. The Great Plains states are doing well. So are Vermont, New Hampshire and the Mountain West.
A link has been removed from this edition of MACDEP eNews.
Montana Census and Economic Information Center (CEIC) releases new Montana by the Numbers
The (CEIC) produces Montana by the Numbers, a comprehensive data profile of Montana. A veritable soup to nuts report highlighting Montana statistics in the areas of Population, Demographics, Education, Poverty, Economics, and more. The chart below shows Montana employment by industry for 2008.
Community Development "In the News"
Solazyme to provide Navy with algae-based fuel
In a big boost for biofuels, Solazyme has announced the U.S. Navy has ordered an additional 150,000 gallons of its algae-based fuel. Idaho Statesman; Sept. 20.
Two electric associations adding solar facilities to distribution networks
Electricity providers in Montrose and Ouray counties are pushing to increase solar infrastructure and provide their customers and members with a renewable energy source harnessed from Colorado's 300-plus days of sunshine a year. The Daily Sentinel; Sept. 16.
Geothermal lease set to go in Colorado
After two false starts, the federal government is set to auction the first lease for a geothermal energy source in Colorado in November. The Denver Post; Sept. 16.
Farmer's Markets Draw Few Food Stamp Users
Despite widespread efforts to attract low-income shoppers, farmers' markets have had limited success in drawing food stamp users. Associated Press; Sept. 15.
U.S. Meat Farmers Brace for Limits on Antibiotics
After decades of debate, the Food and Drug Administration appears poised to issue its strongest guidelines on animal antibiotics yet, intended to reduce what it calls a clear risk to human health. New York Times; Sept. 14.
Biotech Company to Patent Fuel-Secreting Bacterium
A biotech company plans to announce Tuesday that it has won a patent on a genetically altered bacterium that converts sunlight and carbon dioxide into ingredients of diesel fuel, a step that could provide a new pathway for making ethanol or a diesel replacement that skips several cumbersome and expensive steps in existing methods. New York Times; Sept. 13.
5 Things America's Strongest Cities Have in Common
Every quarter, the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution identifies the 20 strongest major metro areas, based on a variety of factors including economic activity, housing and employment. The Atlantic; Sept. 9.
Top 75 College Cities
Shopping for colleges? Location may be more important than you think, according to a new index of 75 "best cities" for college students. USA Today; Sept. 8.
DOE grants for green work go to Colo. firms
Boulder-based Eltron Research and Development Inc. on Tuesday received a $71.3 million federal grant to speed commercial development of technology to produce usable hydrogen gas from coal gas, one of three grants to Colorado companies announced by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. In all, Chu announced $575 million in projects in 15 states. Denver Post; Sept. 8.
Strong Exports Lift U.S. Agriculture Sector
Even as the broader economy falters amid signs of a weakening recovery, the nation's agriculture sector is going strong, bolstered in part by a surge in exports, according to federal estimates of farm trade and income released on Tuesday. New York Times; Aug. 31.
Western States May Be Key to Clean Energy Future
A new report by the Brookings Institution is suggesting the nation might want to go west once again by turning its attention to Utah and nearby states for the technology and research needed to produce the clean, abundant and inexpensive energy of the future. Salt Lake Tribune; Aug. 31.
Livability in Rural and Small Town America
Transportation for America will be publishing one of a collection of 12 case studies each day that provides a different example of how small cities, towns and rural regions across the country are transforming themselves into more livable communities. Transportation for America; Aug. 26.
Energy company aims for biomass facility
NorthWestern Energy is attempting to purchase the former Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. paper mill near Frenchtown with the intention of converting it to a biomass plant, a NorthWestern official told people at last week's meeting of the Montana Wood Producers Association in Whitefish. Daily Inter Lake; Sept. 29.
Hermit monks' proposed monastery on remote Wyoming ranch stirs debate
Plans by a group of Roman Catholic hermit monks to erect an outsized monastery in northern Wyoming have pitted neighbor against neighbor and ignited debate with religious undertones. Casper Star-Tribune; Sept. 28.
Feds fund Wyoming, Rocky Mountain region wildlife corridor research
Federal officials have appropriated the first research funding for a new international alliance that aims to coordinate future landscape conservation efforts in the Rocky Mountain region. Casper Star-Tribune; Sept. 27.
National parks pack tourism punch
The summer travel season in Montana got off to a slow start this year, but once it was in full swing, it was a booming season. Cold weather in June meant fewer visitors to Glacier National Park, but once the weather warmed up the park had an exceptional summer, said spokesman Wade Muehlhof. Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 26.
California's push for renewables could ripple across West
Montana and other states in the West could wind up being the unintended beneficiaries of an aggressive push to decrease fossil fuel use in California, industry representatives and others say. Billings Gazette; Sept. 25.
Crown of the Continent conference addresses tourism, region's future
Stretching from Missoula to south of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the Crown of the Continent forms one of the most completely intact ecosystems on the planet as well as a popular tourist destination. Missoulian; Sept. 24.
Lookout Pass Ski Area plans big expansion
Poised atop the Montana/Idaho divide, Lookout Pass Ski Area has submitted a $20 million expansion plan to the U.S. Forest Service that would more than quadruple its terrain over 20 years, adding eight new chairlifts, a second base area and encompassing two additional peaks. The Spokesman-Review; Sept. 24.
USDA program invested $385 million in rural Montana
The federal government's Rural Development program, which generated $385 million in investments in Montana last year, has not received the attention it deserves says state director Matt Jones said on a visit to Missoula last week. Missoulian; Sept. 23.
Salish Language Translation Dictionary published
Salish Language Immersion School Director Tachini Pete recently had a major component of his life's work published, a Salish language dictionary, which he has been working on for nearly 20 years. Char-Koosta News; Sept. 23.
Dominion Creek trestle: Workers prepare former railbed near Saltese for bicycles, ATVs, more
A new deck across a century-old railroad trestle will soon open miles of former Milwaukee Road passage through the forest toward St. Regis to bikers, ATV riders and snowmobilers deep into the western Montana backcountry and out again. Missoulian; Sept. 22.
Montana Ranks Sixth in Nation for Personal Income Growth Since Recession
Montana has seen 1.3% growth in personal income since the recession officially ended in June 2009 1.3% since recession, placing it sixth in the nation. USA Today; Sept. 21.
Rainy summer erases drought
The year 2010 will be remembered as one of the wettest summers in more than a decade, with below-average temperatures. It's been so wet that officials announced Monday they're canceling Thursday's Drought Advisory Committee meeting in Helena. Helena Independent Record; Sept. 21.
Garnet Ghost Town makes National Historic Register
After nearly a quarter of century of trying, the Bureau of Land Management's Missoula field office recently received the good news from the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places: Garnet is officially on the list. Missoulian; Sept. 20.
An interview with BLM director Abbey
Bob Abbey, director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said no "serious discussions" of creating a grasslands national monument in northeastern Montana have occurred within the Interior Department, despite "rhetoric" about a paper he authored on land protections for sensitive public lands. Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 17.
Tribal relations report released
Gov. Brian Schweitzer recently released the 2010 Tribal Relations Report highlighting the state of Montana and tribal nations' efforts to work together during the past fiscal year. Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 17.
Ambitious effort aims for forest museum
An ambitious effort to bring a national museum on the Forest Service and conservation history to Missoula has been quietly gaining momentum, marching toward a groundbreaking target next summer. Daily Inter Lake; Sept. 16.
Volunteers Track Grizzlies
Under the guidance of Kate Kendall with the U.S. Geological Survey at Glacier National Park and aided by Jenny Sika with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, volunteers and experts are taking samples from tree rubs in the forests south of Lincoln along both sides of the Continental Divide. Helena Independent Record; Sept. 16.
Salish Kootenai College welcomes new leader Luanna Ross
What can easily be argued is the most successful tribal college in America officially steered itself into its future Wednesday morning as Luanna Ross was installed as the new president of Salish Kootenai College. Missoulian; Sept. 15
EPA's new Region 8 chief visits Libby
Beyond the ongoing cleanup efforts in the aftermath of asbestos exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency's new regional chief acknowledged Thursday that Libby needs to also rebuild its economy. Western News; Sept. 15.
Summit focuses on clean-energy technology
In the coming years, there will be a worldwide race to develop clean-energy technology, and being a leader in that race will benefit the national economy and Montana's economy, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said Tuesday at the Montana Economic Development Summit in Butte. Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 15.
Buffett tells Butte economic summit he doesn't see double-dip recession
Warren Buffett, the billionaire philanthropist and CEO of the lauded Berkshire Hathaway Inc. holding company, spoke by live video to answer questions about how to ramp up businesses and jobs in Montana. "We are not going to have a double-dip recession," Buffett said. "I see businesses coming back across the board, with housing the last to come on board." Missoulian; Sept. 14.
Sen. Baucus announces $2.4M in grants for Montana timber towns
Economic development discussions took a pause Monday at the Montana Economic Summit for the announcement of welcome financial news. U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, organizer of the event, told the audience of 2,000 that $2.4 million in federal grants were headed to Montana to help workers and employers in the hard-hit timber and wood products industry. Missoulian; Sept. 13.
DEQ seeks comment on water report
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on Montana's 2010 Draft Water Quality Integrated Report. The 2010 draft update is now available for review and comments will be accepted during a 60-day public comment period extending from Sept. 13 to Nov. 13. Helena Independent Record; Sept. 13.
Schweitzer looks to provide tuition breaks and focus on energy research
Looking to the future, Gov. Brian Schweitzer wants to set aside several billion dollars in anticipated coal tax money for free or greatly discounted college tuition for Montana science and math students and to create a world-class energy research institute. Billings Gazette; Sept. 12.
Logger busy felling beetle-killed pines
With logging jobs drying up, the beetle epidemic has created an opportunity for some loggers. Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 12.
Yellowstone breaks record for summer visitors
More than 2.5 million people visited the world's first national park over the June, July and August summer season. That's up by more than 200,000 compared with summer 2009, putting Yellowstone on track to set another attendance record. Casper Star-Tribune; Sept. 9.
Minneapolis Fed president sees modest economic recovery
Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, shared his views on Wednesday during a Missoula luncheon and gave a tutorial on the inner workings of the country's central banking system to state leaders in Montana's economic, business and banking communities. Missoulian; Sept 9.
Researchers receive grant to study how Indian genetics interact with cancer drugs
A group of researchers studying the way Native American genetics influence the efficacy of cancer drugs has won a $1.4 million grant to continue their work.
In Montana, the money goes to researchers at the University of Montana and the Montana Cancer Institute, who have been working with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Missoulian; Sept. 7.
Missoulians' personal income declined in 2009; Great Falls saw state's only growth
On average, personal income dropped 1.8 percent in 2009 after rising 2.7 percent in 2008. In Missoula, average personal income decreased 1.1 percent in 2009, while income in the Electric City has slowly but steadily climbed in recent years, rising 3.5 percent from 2007 to 2008. Despite the ripple effects of the national recession, Great Falls was the only city that saw personal income growth last year - albeit, a modest gain of .05 percent. Missoulian; Sept. 6.
Montana's highways second best in U.S., according to report
Montana has the second-best highways in the country in terms of road conditions and money spent, a California think-tank said this week, up three spots from last year in the overall rankings. Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 5.
MSU Partners With Forest Service, Universities to Study Link Between Wildfires and Climate Change
Scientists from universities in Montana, Colorado and Idaho announced Wednesday the start of a 5-year, $3.85 million research project into how a changing climate will influence wildfires. The project is being pursued in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and researchers in Australia and New Zealand. Helena Independent Record; Sept. 2.
CSKT expands tribal health clinic in Polson
The new three-story, 23,000-square-foot Tribal Health Clinic the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes built here is impressive, perhaps most so to those familiar with the little 1,800-square-foot facility it replaced. "You could fit the old building in the waiting room of this one," Kevin Howlett, director of CSKT's Health Department, said Wednesday as the tribes opened the building up to tours for the afternoon. Missoulian; Sept. 1.