April 2014- Volume XII, Number 4  

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard


Across the Field: Remembering Mary Page and Continuing Her Work

 – Please join us on May 21st at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus – to honor her life, work, and legacy

 By Kathy Draeger, Statewide Director, 

University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnershipsand a rural Big Stone County resident.  


mary page

Mary J. Page (1934-2013)
was a voice for rural Minnesota.
As a commissioner for Renville County, mayor of Olivia, MN, a Regent for the U of M, and in many dozens of other leadership roles in the community and state, she carried the concerns of Greater Minnesota with her always.

One person makes a difference.  For me, no one typifies that better than Mary Page (1934-2013), whose legacy of rural activism left an indelible mark on Minnesota and beyond.  Those of you in small towns and rural places know that sometimes it’s “all hands on deck!”

Mary Page stepped up again and again to answer that call.  And not just for the easy jobs.  She served as the first woman mayor of Olivia, Minnesota, and as a Renville County Commissioner at a time when tensions and emotions ran high due to changes in agriculture on the rural landscape.

Mary remarked that she often found herself on the battle lines of the issues of the time.  From where I stand, that’s because she had both an openness and a special kind of courage to take on those challenges.

I first met Mary Page within hours of becoming the statewide director of the U’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships in 2005.  A former U of M Regent, she was then chair of our statewide board and a founding board member of the West Central Regional Partnerships. Mary left her mark on the U of M Regional Partnerships, and her insistence that citizens drive collaboration with the U still resonates in our values and our work.

What are the lessons for the rest of us?  How can we build upon Mary’s lessons and legacies?

  • First, know that one person matters and that person can be you.
  • Moreover, hold to your values, take the courage to stand up to those in power, be protective and thoughtful about the ideal, ideas, and projects, and programs that you love.
  • Continue to learn new things.
  • Enjoy and invest in your place.  (Mary’s legacy of family fun and the floats they built for Olivia’s Corn Capital Days are legendary.)

To honor and continue Mary’s legacy, the Page family and the University of Minnesota have created a Fund in her honor, the Mary Page Community-University Partnerships Fund.  The Fund will support students and faculty working on citizen-driven projects throughout Greater Minnesota, with special consideration to work in Southwest Minnesota where Mary was a beloved and influential community member.

The Page family, the U of M Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and U of M Extension invite you to a kick-off for the fund on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Cargill Building, 1500 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108 on the St. Paul campus.  Parking is available in the Gortner Avenue Ramp, two blocks south.

Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit: wtansati@umn.edu or 612-624-7971

If you are unable to attend, please consider a donation to the Mary Page Community-University Partnership Fund.

Thank you and we hope to see you on May 21.

Our guest columnist this month is Kathy Draeger,statewide director of the U’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and rural Big Stone County resident.  Please “Like” the Partnerships on Facebook and follow on Twitter 



The Made in Minnesota Solar Thermal Rebate Program is reopened, the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced. The solar thermal program accepted applications this year from January 1-February 28, but the program was not fully subscribed. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until 2014 funds are fully reserved.  The rebate program, which is part of the 10-year, $150 million Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program that began this year, is for customers of electric investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power). Rebates are available to commercial and residential property owners who install solar thermal systems using collectors certified as Made in Minnesota. The rebate is equal to 25 percent of the system installed cost up to a maximum of $2,500 for residential, $5,000 for multifamily, and $25,000 for commercial systems. More information on the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is available online. http://tinyurl.com/m2g9vjh

–The Department of Labor is offering funding to nonprofit and public agencies for vocational construction skills training and, for certain applicants, construction and alternative vocational skills training, for at-risk youth and/or young adults, aged 16 – 24. Deadline: 4/22/2014. Click here for an application package. http://tinyurl.com/o3tg9sf

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) invites owners of heavy-duty diesel engines to apply for grants to reduce diesel emissions. This is an opportunity to upgrade fleets by installing idle reduction and pollution control devices, or by replacing engines, vehicles, or equipment.  Vehicles and equipment generally must be older than 2006 and trucks must be class 6 (19,500 lbs.) or larger to qualify and must be fully operational and not backup equipment.  Applications are due by 2 p.m. on April 23, 2014.  In recent years, the MPCA has awarded grants to replace heavy-duty engines on construction cranes and a rock crusher, and for replacing delivery trucks and retrofitting a diesel particulate filter on a long-haul truck.  Applications can be requested by emailing contracts.pca@state.mn.us, with subject line “CR7309 DERA”. The clean diesel web page is at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/wfhy4c4.

–NEWMAN’S OWN Awards Program recognizes volunteer and nonprofit organizations supporting U.S. military families. Eligible applicants must be comprised primarily of volunteers or be nonprofit organizations, and be working with the families of Active Duty, National Guard, or Reserve units and/or veterans. Deadline: 4/23/2014. Click herefor application guidelines and to apply online.  http://tinyurl.com/mpyycpu

–The MARY KAY Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits that aid female victims of domestic violence. Deadline: 4/30/2014. Click here for application guidelines and to apply. http://tinyurl.com/887gx83

–The federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications to the Rural Access to Emergency Devices (RAED) Grant Program. Grants will be awarded to community partnerships to purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs), provide defibrillator and basic life support training, and place the AEDs in rural communities with local organizations. Applications due April 30. http://tinyurl.com/nu5mlqt

Midwest Cleantech Open is opportunity for clean tech entrepreneurs.  Do you know an entrepreneur seeking to transform their clean technology into a commercial success? The Midwest Cleantech Open is now accepting Phase 1 applications for its national business accelerator program.  The final deadline is May 1. Emerging businesses with less than $6 million in funding can apply and will have a chance to access over 100 funding and commercialization partners regionally and nationally. Awards valued at $20,000 regionally and $200,000 nationally will be given at fall events that coincide with the completion of the program.

All Midwest companies will be featured as a main attraction at Cleantech Open’s Midwest Innovation Summit on October 14-15 in Minneapolis. Companies are provided with one-on-one meetings with investors and commercialization partners at that event and are able to showcase their clean technology. All applicants, regardless of whether they are accepted, receive feedback on their application and a discounted ticket to the Summit. Learn more and apply now.

–The Clinical Dental Education Innovations Grant Program is accepting applications from sponsoring institutions and clinical dental training sites for projects that increase dental access for underserved populations and promote innovative clinical training of dental professionals. Applications are due May 2. http://tinyurl.com/dfhf6h

–Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is inviting nonprofits to submit proposals for the Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges initiative. Deadline: 5/6/2014. This initiative brings together local leaders, nonprofits, and design specialists to address how rural communities can strengthen their economies, enhance their rural character, and design efficient housing and transportation systems. To review application guidelines, click here.  http://tinyurl.com/ob8ex2y

Angel Investor Tax Credit Extended, Funds Added. Minnesota’s popular Angel Investor Tax Credit has been extended for two more years and adds funds, but it also restricts eligible investors. Increasing the yearly allotment from $12 million to $15 million, the new law also adds an additional $3 million to this year’s program. Certifications for investors and companies are due May 11 for the additional $3 million in 2014. READ MORE

The Administration for Children and Families is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to conduct outreach services designed to build relationships between grantee staff and runaway, homeless, and street youth. Deadline: 5/12/2014. Click here to learn more and to apply.  http://tinyurl.com/q992pxl

Request for Proposals for a Smart Growth Information Clearinghouse.  EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities is seeking proposals for a Smart Growth Information Clearinghouse. Under this solicitation, EPA intends to fund further development and ongoing maintenance of a web-based national information clearinghouse focused on smart growth. Eligible applicants are States and local governments, Indian Tribes, public and private colleges and universities, and hospitals, laboratories, and other public or private nonprofit institutions, among others. For-profit organizations and individuals are not eligible to apply. Proposals must be received by EPA or through www.grants.gov by 4:00 p.m. Central time on Monday, May 12, 2014. EPA expects to make an award announcement by fall 2014.  For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/grants/index.htm#rfgpa

Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural AreasApplication deadline: May 27, 2014 (deadline extended)Awards grants to organizations that assist veterans in rural areas with transportation to VA medical centers and other VA and non-VA facilities for medical care. Sponsor: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs http://tinyurl.com/q7v6q3p

–The HOME DEPOT Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Priority is given to projects for veterans that include housing repairs, modifications, and weatherization work. Grants of up to $5,000 are made in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. Deadline: requests will be accepted from February 1 through August 15, 2014. Visit the Home Depot website here to submit an online application. http://tinyurl.com/6vrjyzo

–Blandin Foundation trustees voted to extend broadband work and allocate $1.5 million more for broadband grants. More information here.  http://tinyurl.com/otl6mh5

Centennial Legacy Grant Program.  The Toro Company’s Centennial Legacy Grant Program is currently accepting applications from non-profits that are located within 30 miles of a Toro community (in Minnesota: Shakopee, Windom, and the Twin Cities). Grants will support non-profit organizations in their efforts to beautify and preserve outdoor environments and enhance green spaces at home, work and play. The objective of the program is to provide funding for projects in these focus areas that will serve the community for many years to come.

Grants will be made to qualified organizations in the communities where Toro employees live and work. The project funded should:

*Enrich outdoor landscapes for environmental benefits & enjoyment through outdoor physical activities by improving and beautifying parks, playgrounds, landscapes and community gardens

*Encourage efficient use of water in outdoor and agricultural applications by ensuring productive and sustainable practices and protecting our natural resources

*Involve children and adults in education programs on managing your water resources.

For more information or to apply go to: http://tinyurl.com/oqv3r49

The G. UNGER VETLESEN Foundation is offering general support grants to nonprofit organizations for general support for religious, charitable, scientific, literary and education causes. Deadline: letters of inquiry may be submitted at any time. Click here to visit the website for application guidelines.  http://tinyurl.com/pupeczx

EPA Announces Availability of $400,000 for Green Infrastructure Technical Assistance.  The U.S. EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management has announced the availability of $400,000 in technical assistance for communities interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality and build more sustainable communities.  Communities across the country are interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality, provide ecosystem services, increase resiliency to climate change, create economic opportunities, and support a high quality of life. Many communities, however, lack the tools, resources, or information to achieve these goals. As part of EPA’s commitment to engaging with local communities, the Agency is offering direct assistance to communities interested in implementing green infrastructure. This technical assistance will serve both to advance the adoption of green infrastructure programs in selected communities and to develop knowledge and tools that can be transferred to other communities and to a national audience. http://tinyurl.com/khav7kb

The value of the EPA assistance available in 2014 is approximately $400,000, and EPA anticipates providing assistance to 5 to 7 communities. Interested communities are encouraged to respond to the Request for Letters of Interest at http://tinyurl.com/m4joxqd.

— The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has set a goal of investing $50 million to increase access to mental health care in rural areas over the next three years. The funding will be used for the construction, expansion or equipping of rural mental health facilities and will be provided through the USDA’s Community Facilities direct loan program. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-CF_Loans.html


— The Minnesota Mentoring Conference is the region’s only annual conference focused exclusively on supporting quality mentoring. In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota (MPM) is hitting the road and offering Minnesota Mentoring Conferences in St. Peter(April 22), Cloquet (September 22) and Maple Grove(October 20). In an effort to better serve a vast network of mentoring programs, MPM made several great changes to its conference based on feedback, including:

  • *    Three conference dates and locations;
  • *    Reduced conference fee;
  • *    Contracting highly-rated workshop presenters;
  • *    Format changes to dive deeper into key issues
  • *    Lunchtime open for networking.

With a mission to lead the state in building and sustaining quality mentoring for every child, MPM’s conference is not to be missed by all youth mentoring program practitioners, AmeriCorps members who work to support youth through mentoring and tutoring, policymakers and funders. Register now. http://www.mpmn.org/Events/AnnualConference.aspx

–Red Hot Hack April 26 – Make it a Weekend Getaway!  Hosted by Red Wing Ignite:

  • *    Create applications that make use of Gig connectivity (YES – a Gig in Red Wing!!)
  • *    Come ready to jump in no matter what stage you’re at fresh idea or nearly finished project
  • *    Can’t code? That’s OK all skills are needed
  • *    Expand your relationships and networks.

We’re working with team, organizations and individuals from Red Wing, the Twin Cities and beyond! Learn more: http://www.redwingignite.org/

First ever Southern Minnesota Economic Summit  This event, being held April 29-30 in Mankato, is Southern Minnesota’s local summit for business and economic stakeholders. Keynote addresses will include expert economists as well as panels of business leaders with a wide range of experiences from diverse industry sectors. Breakout sessions will appeal to the seasoned business owner as well as the emerging entrepreneur.

Southern Minnesota Nonprofit Summit will be held Thursday, May 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Rochester.This day-long event is designed to bring together staff, board members, and volunteers from around the region to learn, network, and strategize. The Summit is especially designed for small to mid-size organizations and those located in or serving Southeast and Southern Minnesota.

The State of Water Conference 2014 – May 1 & 2.  The 2014 State of Water Conference is an opportunity for citizens committed to improving and protecting water resources to network, connect with resource professionals from around the state, gain technical insights, and find opportunities to engage in water resource protection.

The conference will be held at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd May 1 and 2. This year’s conference will feature speakers such as Darby Nelson, author of the book For Love of Lakes, and Dr. Peter Sorenson, the head researcher at the new Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota.  For more information or to register, visit http://tinyurl.com/q2eptyr.

–The University of St. Thomas’ Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship will be held on Friday, May 2, 2014 at the University of St Thomas Minneapolis Campus.  It will offer a thoughtfully paced day with local and national activists who will dissect, discuss and engage with participants about important ideas on:

  • *    Impact investing – what is it?
  • *    How are new partnerships forged using new capital?
  • *    Who are social impact angel investors in Minnesota and what are they looking for?
  • *    How can leaders develop and sustain an innovation culture in nonprofits or social good for-profits?

Register now for the Symposium.

–The Minnesota Inventors Congress will be held May 2 & 3, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Mark your calendars and register online, to showcase your product or promote your business that supports inventors. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call the office at 507.627.2344.

Taking on 2025 , May 6, in Duluth. This community forum for nonprofit and community organizations features Sean Kershaw, president of the Citizens League, to discuss two converging trends: the tidal wave of aging baby boomers and drops in the labor force growth.

–2014 Minnesota Affordable Housing Conference will be held Thursday, May 8th from 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the University of St. Thomas. Engage in a discussion about the development and financing of multi-family projects.  Join the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business for a conference bringing together a wide-ranging group of professionals: housing authorities, officials and advocates, economic development officials, property managers, real estate attorneys, elected officials and others involved in financing and development (both for- and nonprofit). This conference is your opportunity to exchange ideas, network and learn from one another’s successes.  Cost: $125 before April 17, $150 after April 17. Learn more at UST Affordable Housing Conference

 bushCONNECT is a regional leadership networking event to be held on Monday, May 12, at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.  The event is for folks from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. It’s about the people in the room and the connections you will make when we bring together different networks of leaders. It’s about thinking bigger and thinking differently about what’s possible in your community. The event is currently sold out, but you can put your name on a wait list. Tickets are $75 and include breakfast, lunch, snacks, and beverages. For more information go to: bushCONNECT.org

The Center for Small Towns is excited to present the 2014 Symposium on Small Towns! This year on June 4-5.  CST will present Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed. Hosted at the beautiful University of Minnesota, Morris campus, the symposium will address the changing truths of small towns and debunk the current myths surrounding migration to and from small towns. Spanning two days there will be a series of breakout sessions, discussions, and keynotes.  Click for more information.

The 10th anniversary Minnesota e-Health Summit, Looking Back to Celebrate, Looking Forward to Innovate, will be held June 11-12 in Bloomington. http://tinyurl.com/p4delkb

–The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference: Weaving the Threads of Rural Health, will be held June 23-24 in Duluth. http://minnesotaruralhealthconference.org/

Market Your Destination to Corporate Meeting Planners in Minneapolis, Aug. 2-5Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the leading global association for corporate meeting and event professionals.http://tinyurl.com/orhpc6d

-The 2014 Many Faces of Community Health Conference: Community Centered Care and the People We Serve, will be held October 23-24 in Minnetonka. http://www.manyfacesconference.org/

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species (AIS) training to owners of lake service provider businesses so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state. Businesses such as resorts and outfitters that rent, lease or decontaminate boats and other water-related equipment are now required to attend AIS training and acquire a permit. These businesses are considered lake service providers, which means that every three years they must attend a training session, apply for a permit, and pay a $50 application fee to comply with Minnesota law.

Seventeen AIS training sessions are planned around the state. Registering for the winter and early spring sessions will give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out. Registration deadlines are one week prior to each training. To register for training, find out if the business needs a permit, or for more information, visit the DNR website. A list of all 2014 training sessions is also available. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp/index.html


National Travel & Tourism Week Toolkit Now Available  The U.S. Travel Association provides a number of free, useful resources to help tourism businesses and destinations plan and stage effective activities in support of National Travel and Tourism Week, taking place May 3-11. http://tinyurl.com/olekb2x

Minnesota GreenCorps now accepting member and host site applications.  Minnesota GreenCorps, an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), places members with organizations around the state to spend 11 months of service addressing critical environmental issues while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills.  Goals of the Minnesota GreenCorps program include reducing solid waste and increasing recycling in Minnesota communities; reducing greenhouse gases and other air pollutants; reducing water runoff and improving water quality; and training new environmental professionals.

Minnesota GreenCorps is a unique opportunity for individuals to gain experience in the environmental field, whether they are just out of college or contemplating a career change. The program allows organizations to make strides in the areas of energy conservation, green transportation, waste prevention, local foods, stormwater, urban forestry and living green.

The MPCA is currently recruiting host sites and members for the upcoming year, to begin in September 2014. Member applications are due June 6, 2014. Organizations that would like to host a GreenCorps member have until May 5 to turn in applications. For more information on Minnesota GreenCorps, please contact mngreencorps.pca@state.mn.us or visit http://www.pca.state.mn.us/mngreencorps.

–The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD) has issued a request for proposals to rural communities facing design challenges – such as Main Street revitalization, how to manage and direct growth, design community-supportive transportation systems, preserve natural and historic landscapes and buildings, protect working agricultural lands, and provide adequate and affordable housing – who are interested in hosting a local workshop in 2014-2015.Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 stipend and in-kind professional design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is posted on the CIRD website.The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm EDT. 

CIRD works to help rural communities with populations of 50,000 or fewer enhance their quality of life and economic vitality through facilitated design workshops. CIRD brings local leaders, non-profits, and community organizations together with experts in planning, design, preservation and placemaking – all in an effort to help communities address pressing design challenges and to put design tools into the hands of the people who can create local change. CIRD does this by offering an opportunity for four rural communities to host local design workshops, and by offering free public webinars, conference calls, and a resource-rich website to practitioners and community leaders across the country.

Find the RFP and application guidelines at:http://rural-design.org/apply.  Selected communities will be announced in June 2014, and workshops will be held during the fall of 2014 and first quarter of 2015. CIRD will offer pre-application assistance conference call to answer questions and guide interested applicants in assembling their proposals. The call will take place on Thursday, April 24 and begin at 3:00 pm EDT and last approximately one hour. Participation is free but registration is required.Register now.

–The Minnesota Cup – the largest statewide new venture competition in the United States is OPEN!  Minnesota residents have until May 9 to submit entries on the Minnesota Cup website to compete for $300,000 in prize money. http://tinyurl.com/py5wo5

Youth Voices of Change: The Climate Change Youth Video Contest.  The Will Steger Foundation and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are sponsoring Youth Voices of Change to raise awareness about climate change and the amazing youth engaged in solutions throughout Minnesota. Young people in Grades 4-12 are invited during the 2013-2014 school year to share their solutions and/or help raise awareness about climate change issues in the form of a video.  Ten finalist videos will be chosen and the competition winners will be announced the evening of August 22, 2014 on the Sustainability Stage at the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Videos must fall into one of two categories: Action or Awareness:

Action videos show a real or proposed project that you are working on and are eligible for a seed grant to help accomplish it. These videos should educate your peers, families, or the public about the project and its impact.

Awareness videos should be educational and intentionally leave the viewer with helpful information, and/or a compelling story. These videos should educate your peers, families, or the public about climate change impacts and solutions.

Entries must be received or postmarked by May 16th, 2014.  For more information on the contest go to: http://tinyurl.com/pm64ysm

The Bush Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation from now until June 5, 2014. The Bush Prize honors and supports organizations with a track record of making great ideas happen. Winners receive a flexible grant equal to 25% of their last fiscal year budget, up to $500,000. This is creative capital that can be used however the winners choose. The Bush Prize is open to nonprofits and government entities of all sizes in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.   Take time now to learn more about the Bush Prize.   Questions?  Contact Mandy Ellerton,  Bush Prize Manager at: CommunityInnovation@BushFoundation.org or 651-379-2266.

Savings Innovation Cluster CFED, in partnership with the MetLife Foundation, is soliciting applications from organizations serving low- and moderate-income households to join a yearlong learning cluster and receive extensive technical assistance to design and implement innovative savings products or strategies for their clients.

Bring Back the Monarchs: Free Milkweeds for Schools and Non-Profits.  Monarchs and pollinators need our help due to habitat loss. If your school or non-profit organization is interested in this conservation measure, Monarch Watch, a nonprofit educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas, can help you create a habitat for monarchs and pollinators.  If your organization qualifies, Monarch Watch will provide a free flat of 32 milkweed plugs as well as guidance on how to create a new habitat or enhance an existing garden. For more information or to apply, visit http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/free-milkweeds

MnDOT Seeking Input for Statewide Bicycle System Plan  MnDOT is hosting a series of workshops around the state to discuss the development of a Statewide Bicycle System Plan. http://cfed.org/assets/pdfs/MetLife_RFP_-_Final.pdf

Leadership Growth & Development Scholarships  The Northwest Minnesota Foundation recognizes nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and small businesses are experiencing dramatic changes in their current environments. In an effort to best meet the changing needs of the area’s NPOs and small businesses, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation is offering Leadership Growth and Development Scholarships. http://tinyurl.com/qfmsukf


Agricultural Act of 2014: Highlights and Implications  The Agricultural Act of 2014 became law on February 7, covering farming and ranching, conservation, nutrition, rural development, research, energy, and other topics. ERS web pages provide highlights and summaries of new programs and provisions in the law, as well as some economic implications.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released guidance recently on implementation of the new definition of “rural” as revised by the most recent Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, which passed in early February, included language that will allow for the continued grandfathering in of growing rural communities until the 2020 Census and will raise the population limit for these communities to 35,000. A recent blog post by the National Council of State Housing Agencies provides more details on the guidance, including key phases of implementation. Read the post http://tinyurl.com/o56h8yv

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America View the diversity of challenges and opportunities across America’s counties within different types of rural regions and communities. Get statistics on people, jobs, agriculture, and county indicators. Data have been updated to reflect the latest poverty and American Community Survey statistics.

Population & Migration  Nonmetro areas in some parts of the country have experienced population loss for decades. However, 2010-13 marks the first period with an estimated population loss for nonmetro America as a whole. Opportunities for population growth and economic expansion vary widely from one nonmetro county to the next, and new regional patterns of growth and decline have emerged in recent years.

Family Farming in the United States (Amber Waves feature)  Family farms represent 97.6 percent of all U.S. farms, and are responsible for 85 percent of U.S. farm production.

Poverty and Deep Poverty Increasing in Rural America Discusses data from the Supplement of the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey which presents the rise in poverty from multiple perspectives, including the total number of people living in poverty and deep poverty (those with incomes less than half of the poverty threshold), as well as the geographic distribution of poverty in urban and rural areas.http://tinyurl.com/orr76wy

Supporting Women in STEM: Our Bridge to a Strong Minnesota — A new white paper on gender disparities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) got Compass staffer Ruth Hamberg thinking about the benefits of STEM skills she has experienced and the importance of supporting all students in STEM subjects.

More Tourism Conference Presentations and Handouts Available for Download Explore Minnesota Tourism has posted additional presentations and handouts from the Tourism Conference held last month in Duluth.http://tinyurl.com/q58qwyq

Order Your Free Explore Minnesota Tourism ‘Cereal Box’The very popular “cereal boxes” promoting the economic impact of tourism in Minnesota are available to communities/organizations and businesses to share with elected public officials and media. http://tinyurl.com/oed49sw

–The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) invites you to read its updated Insights report on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program.  http://tinyurl.com/qyux78k This updated Insights report:

  • discusses the methods used by banks and federal savings associations to structure transactions and use the tax credits effectively.
  • highlights recent regulatory changes.
  • includes an expanded discussion on underwriting LIHTC investments.
  • provides new examples of how LIHTCs can be structured, and
  • discusses the public welfare investment authority under which LIHTC investments may be made.

Rural Mental Health and Substance Abuse ToolkitDesigned to help rural communities develop and implement programs that meet their behavioral health needs based on proven approaches and strategies. The toolkit was developed in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. http://tinyurl.com/pe4co58

Reducing Rural Suicide Outlines how psychologists are finding innovative ways to reach out to people in isolated communities with specific mention of Native American and Veteran communities. http://tinyurl.com/prdyuk8

Rural Implications of the Affordable Care Act Outreach, Education, and Enrollment  Policy brief outlines the opportunities for rural communities to benefit from the Affordable Care Act and discusses the importance of efforts aimed at furthering outreach, education and enrollment in rural areas. http://tinyurl.com/nwtzk7r

HealthLandscape An interactive web-based mapping tool that allows health professionals, policy makers and researchers to combine, analyze and display information in ways that promote better understanding of health and healthcare issues. Free registration required to use the tool. Requires registration (free). http://www.healthlandscape.org/

–The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps project released its fifth report ranking the health of every county in the U.S. The project ranks counties by overall health using a standard formula to measure the health status of county residents and how long they live. As noted in an MDH press release, the report shows a wide range of health status among Minnesota counties. http://www.countyhealthrankings.org

Northland Foundation launches three-year Rural Aging Initiative  The initiative is designed to enhance and strengthen the avenues for older adults in northeastern Minnesota to live full, meaningful lives with independence and dignity in their homes and communities.

DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Report AvailableThe Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee’s first annual report is now available. http://tinyurl.com/ojkpb4l

–The Orton Family Foundation gives “Five tips for making decisions based on shared community values.”  To read more about this concept go to: http://tinyurl.com/obqkmd8


To contribute articles, notices, and random comments, please send such items to Jane Leonard.


The MRP Rural Round-Up is published once per month around the second Tuesday of each month (or when we can get to it!). Items for posting in the newsletter should arrive in our box by the second Monday of the month to be included in that month’s edition.