Thursday, September 9, 2010

Friday Roundup and Open Thread

Today's roundup is a little thin, partly because it seems to be a fairly slow news day for rural issues, and partly because we really got going on silage in earnest this afternoon (so I haven't been home much today). Nevertheless, I hope something here is of interest to you, and that you have a good weekend.

First up is a story from our friends in Canada. One frequent complaint among farmers is that a large percentage of non-rural people think their food magically appears at the supermarket, and are ignorant of what it takes for it to get there. Thirty-five farms in Manitoba have signed up for a project to help alleviate this problem in Canada: on September 19th, they will be available for public tours during the province's first Open Farm Day. According to one participating farmer, "It's very important because it connects people back to what they eat. It's just a good think [sic] to see that, okay this chicken running around is now roasted chicken dinner on a Sunday." Indeed.

If you read my "Subsidiarity" post a while back, you might remember my reference to farm subsidies as a Faustian bargain. Well, the Iowa Farm Bureau may agree with that assessment. In what Brownfield news refers to as "to our knowledge, the first time a farm group has made it part of their policy," the organization passed a resolution calling for the end of direct subsidy payments to farmers and their replacement with an improved revenue insurance program that would cover both crops and livestock. Interesting, but I predict they will gain little traction on this issue for the foreseeable future.

In the "perception is reality" department, The High Plains Journal reports that a Creighton University survey of rural bankers' economic optimism showed a decline for the second straight month. Contrast that with a story I linked to just over a week ago under the headline, "Reports show encouraging growth in rural economy," and what do you get? If you're like me, it's confusion.

Finally, Budget Travel magazine has released its list of "America's Coolest Small Towns." Sadly, there seems to be a pretty large "cool" dead zone in the middle part of the country, with Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and both Dakotas completely shut out of both the Top 10 and the "Best of the Rest." Hang in there, though, Midwesterners: football season has started, and hope springs eternal.

With that, have a good weekend, take care, and please say a prayer or two tomorrow in remembrance of those who died 9/11/01. They are not forgotten.

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