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Author: admin, 07.05.2014. Category: Vegetable Garden

Congressional leaders are expressing reservations about an Agriculture Department recommendation that would revise the definition of “rural” to include areas with as many as 50,000 people.
The 2011 Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act establishes the limit for many rural development programs at 50,000 people.
Until a change in the 2000 census, many analysts used the non-metro data as a shorthand for rural.
However, rural water and wastewater programs currently have a population limit of 10,000 people. The department made clear in its report that rural electric cooperatives follow a “once rural, always rural” standard, so that they are eligible for new lending for generation, distribution and transmission facilities.
A system of priority points would ensure that large areas don’t soak up all the money, he added.
Lucas and Peterson said expanding the eligibility pool to 50,000 for all programs could put small communities at a marked disadvantage.
Following a mandate from the 2014 Farm Bill, the USDA has proposed changes to the definition of who counts as a farmer for subsidy payments. City dwellers are arguing that the USDA's definition of urban food deserts undervalues locally-owned corner stores as viable alternatives to supermarkets. Urban critics argue that the USDA's definition of food deserts overlooks the importance of local grocers like Detroit's Honeybee La Colmena, pictured above. Food deserts are rural or urban areas where at least 20 percent of the population lives in poverty and 33 percent lives without easy access to a supermarket or large grocery store. Griffioen argues that while it may be true that major chains like Kroger, Safeway, or Meijer do not have locations within the city limits, Detroit boasts a high density of locally-owned grocers that serve their communities’ needs for healthy food.
Intentionally or not, Griffioen also draws attention to an implicit bias in the common perception of Detroit grocery stores: many of the Spartan affiliates are owned by Chaldeans (Iraqi Christians), and many other local stores are supermercados owned by Hispanic immigrants.
Schimtt also points out that disregarding corner markets overlooks the very logical, business-oriented reason that supermarkets tend not to crop up in low-density cities like Detroit and Cleveland: large chain supermarkets require a very large customer base to sustain them. In low-density cities where many people do not have cars and therefore require their stores to be within walking distance, no supermarket could reach the customer base it needs in order to meet its costs.
Earth Eats needs your help to continue bringing you news and recipes about healthy living and sustainable food. Sarah Gordon has been interested in food ethics since she was 15, learned about industrial slaughter, and launched into 10 years of vegetarianism. Earth Eats is a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog bringing you the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.
Annie Corrigan is the producer of Earth Eats, and an announcer and producer at WFIU Public Radio.
Daniel Orr is a professional chef, restaurateur, blogger, and author of a number of cookbooks. Indiana Public Media is the home of WFIU Public Radio & WTIU Public Television, including your favorite programming from NPR and PBS. The new definition, if adopted, would replace several different definitions currently used in different USDA grant programs with a single criterion: To be considered "rural," a community must have less than 50,000 people.
Under the old definitions, to be eligible for community water and waste disposal grants and loans, a community could have no more than 10,000 people.
In today's Daily Yonder, an online news site devoted to rural issues, writer Aleta Botts -- an agriculture policy expert and former aide to rural Minnesota congressman Collin Peterson -- argues that the new definition will pit tiny rural communities against their larger neighbors. USDA argues that regional initiatives will blossom once the population limit is lifted, since smaller communities will work with larger nearby communities – all of whom will now be eligible – and greater cooperation will be achieved, since the entire system will be eligible for funding.

The USDA report issued Friday mirrors the Senate’s version of the farm bill, passed by that chamber last year but which never made it through the House. A complex point system for evaluating potential projects does give communities extra points for being smaller and more rural. Peterson, Botts's former boss and the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, is also worried about the new definition.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson said Monday that while they were appreciative of the information contained in the report, they were "disappointed" in USDA's proposals to shift funding away from the most rural areas by inflating the definition across the board.
To see the importance of the USDA's rural development grant programs to small towns, look no further than the Greene County town of Ashland -- population 784, as of 2010. Water has been so nasty in the hamlet area over the years, containing multiple bad elements, that it would corrode home appliances and hot water tanks lickety-split. Fire trucks, if washed in the stuff, would rust right in front of your eyes and it is more than local legend that the liquid coming out of the tap could literally be ignited.
The town made numerous attempts to remedy the situation, drawing up plans and making local residents dream only to leave them disappointed due to a shortage of money. No one wanted to go deeply in debt, borrowing the necessary funding, and while there will be some debt incurred it is two million dollars less than it could have been, officials emphasize. Below: The USDA's report recommending a new definition of "rural" for the agency's programs.
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March 18, 2014 By Eleanor Thorne 1 Comment For over 2 years we’ve been reporting that the USDA Loan Maps in NC are subject to change. The USDA announced a proposal in February that would change the definition of what rural means. A new definition means smaller communities would now contend with larger communities for the same rural funding programs. Currently, the limit on populations that are defined as rural are set at 10,000 for rural utilities programs and 20,000 for community facility and housing programs. According to the USDA report, the change in definition to 50,000 would affect 40-plus rural development programs. For more information about funding information in your area, contact your local USDA Rural Development staff.
The 2008 Farm Bill authorized the study to assess about a dozen different definitions of “rural” that USDA uses to figure out eligibility and spending for more than 40 programs. That’s roughly in line with a longtime government standard that defines metropolitan areas as a central city of 50,000 or more people, and its surrounding counties.
Community facilities loans and grants can go to rural areas and towns up to a population of 20,000, while the population limit for rural housing can be as high as 25,000, in some cases.
Department of Agriculture proposed changes on Tuesday to the rules that govern which farmers can receive government subsidies. A solid number of these independent stores are supplied by Spartan Stores, providing some uniformity of products available. RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Photo of dirt road in the Delaware County town of Meredith by Flickr user somervillebikes; shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group.
Department of Agriculture recommends a change in the agency's definition of "rural," a shift that would make larger towns newly eligible for a variety of USDA grants.

However, what incentive will larger communities have to work with smaller communities when those larger areas will now be eligible for grants and low-interest loans regardless of whether they develop an integrated system or not? Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow commended the agency for their report for addressing an issue “that has long frustrated small town mayors and other members of rural communities.” However, which small-town mayors are more troubled by multiple definitions of rural than by efforts to allow larger, more developed neighboring communities to squeeze out the applications of smaller locales?
But, Botts argues, those are outweighed by other criteria that could favor larger towns, and communities who can afford to hire professional grantwriting staff.
Last year, a $2.8 million USDA funding package paid for most of the cost of replacing the hamlet of Ashland's contaminated water supply. For more materials attached to the report -- including some that the agency has not yet publicly released -- see this page on the Daily Yonder's website.
IF you are interested in buying a home in Greensboro with the least amount of cash out of Pocket, we normally discuss qualifying for a USDA Loan.
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The change in definition would allow places with populations of fewer than 50,000 people to apply for rural development funding programs. This could potentially impact how funds may shift away from areas that are in greater need of funding.
Funding for the USDA rural development programs is currently through the six month Continuing Resolution that is set to expire at the end of March. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the ranking Democrat, warned it could shortchange less-populated, needy areas.
The goal is to cut off payments to people who claim they’re involved in the management of a farm, but aren’t doing much managing.
Now a PhD candidate in folklore, her research has caused her to spend a lot of time in the remote Canadian sub-arctic, where the lake trout (sustainably harvested) tastes amazing.
23,887), both of which would be newly eligible to apply for community water infrastructure grants under the proposed definition?
They are good machines, and if somebody were to go out and look at a higher dollar sprayer, they wouldn't buy it. Farmers who own land, run cattle, or spend their spring planting corn can relax – the proposed rule change doesn’t impact their ability to collect up to a $125,000 a year in government subsidies. Val Dolcini, the administrator of the Farm Service Agency, which could eventually implement the rule change, said the new rules would force farm managers to prove that their work helps keep the farm in business. That could involve “things like arranging financing, managing the capital for the operation, the hiring and managing of labor,” Dolcini said. Traci Bruckner from the Center for Rural Affairs told Politico “this rule does nothing more than say the largest and wealthiest farms structured solely of family members are not subject to this new rule or any payment limitation.” The 2014 Farm Bill required the USDA to update their definition of an “actively engaged” farmer, a definition that producers must meet to remain eligible for government subsidies.
Chuck Grassley of Iowa called the proposed changes “a small step in the right direction,” in a statement on his website. Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Val Dolcini's position and agency.

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