Tag Archives: Rural America

A California-based group of Hereford breeders raised $40,800 to donate to cattlemen affected by the California Camp Fire, Dec. 1, 2018, at the Western States National Hereford Sale in Reno, Nev. The money was raised through the sale of Hereford heifer DF 0245 EMMA 907 741 ET.

The Camp Fire in Northern California has been the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported the fire was contained within 153,336 acres, and nearly 19,000 buildings and homes were destroyed. At least 85 individuals lost their lives, making this the nation’s deadliest blaze in a century.

As a result of the destruction from the Camp Fire, the G5 Syndicate, made up of Dewar Farms, Bakersfield, Calif.; Lambert Ranch, Irvine, Calif.; Macfarlane Livestock, Cottonwood, Calif.; Schneider – Brown Ranch, Sloughhouse, Calif.; and Wunschel Ranch, Plymouth, Calif., offered the heifer, raised by Dewar Farms, for sale in the annual Western States National Hereford Sale, with all proceeds going directly to those affected by the fire.

The G5 Syndicate was formed in 2016 at the Hereford Youth Foundation of America’s (HYFA) The Harvest event in Sonoma, Calif., and raises funds to provide scholarships, education and leadership for Hereford youth. After the syndicate purchased embryos at The Harvest’s live auction, they remained in contact with one another and began pooling funds to donate to various causes.

Emma sold as the first lot in the 2018 Western States National Hereford Sale for just over $11,000. She was donated back and sold two more times. More than $40,800 was raised when the gavel finally fell silent, with GKB Cattle, Waxahachie, Texas, placing the final bid and giving half interest on the heifer to Dewar Farms so the Dewar’s could retain interest on and continue to show the heifer throughout the year.

“It was very heartwarming to see all those Hereford breeders give whatever they could,” says Andrea Dewar of Dewar Farms. “We never expected to raise that much money, it’s amazing how an ag community can come together.”

The Dewar family agreed to donate the heifer if the G5 Syndicate could help raise funds to support the wildfire victims.

“The hardest decision was deciding which heifer we would donate,” says Madison Dewar, Dewar Farms and current California-Nevada Junior Hereford Queen. “It’s helped us realize that it’s not just about us, it’s about the Hereford Family as a whole and coming together to help someone we don’t even know in their time of need.”

Hereford breeders and other cattlemen who donated to the cause are Mark and Stacy Holt, Jill Jess, Alto Livestock, Downing Cattle Co., GKB Cattle, Morrell Cattle, Wooden Shoe Farms, Potter Ranch Herefords, Bar One Ranch, Hildebrand Hay & Cattle, Blackhills Herefords, Scott Holt, Mrnak Herefords, Genoa Livestock, Red River Farms, Morrell Ranches, Logan Ipsen , Sierra Ranches, Colyer Herefords, Sticks & Stones Ranch, Barber Ranch, Barry Ranch, Hoffman Ranch, Sonoma Mountain Herefords, Pedretti Ranches, Brumley Farms, Wheeler Cattle, Hacklin Herefords, CX Ranch, Allison Hay & Herefords, 4M Livestock, AES (Amador/El Dorado/Sacremento) Cattlemen’s Association, Murray Hay & Cattle, Snedden Ranch, McDonald Farms, K Bar D Angus, Harfst Ranch and Wunschel Ranch.

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $291 million to build or improve community infrastructure and essential services for 761,000 residents in 18 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

“Modern community facilities and infrastructure are key drivers of rural prosperity,” Hazlett said. “As partners to municipal, tribal and nonprofit leaders, we are investing in rural communities to ensure quality of life and economic opportunity now and for generations to come.”

USDA is investing in 41 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural small towns, cities and communities make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as schools, libraries, courthouses, public safety facilities, hospitals, colleges and day care centers. For example:

  • The Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity Inc. in Oklahoma will receive a $642,100 loan to purchase land and construct a building where donated items will be received and sold. The project will combine the home improvement and clothing stores in a single location. The store will provide Tahlequah’s 15,753 residents with access to quality household goods and clothing at discounted prices.
  • In the Leino Park Water District of Massachusetts, a $1.1 million loan will be used to replace a dilapidated bridge. This project will address an urgent public safety hazard affecting 7,277 residents.
  • In North Carolina, the city of Rockingham will use a $6.7 million loan to construct a 40,000-square-foot building. The city will own the building and lease it to Richmond Community College to provide space for the School of Business and Information Technology. This project will benefit the area’s 9,558 residents.

The projects announced today will help improve the quality of life in rural areas in Alaska, Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities program funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

 Reflection is good for the soul. It allows you to see where you’ve been and hopefully chart a better course on where you’re going. During the Thanksgiving holiday I took the time to contemplate my early life in the small community where I grew up.
Located in northwestern Kansas, Seguin was a small farm/ranch community of approximately 50 hearty souls. It was located in Sheridan County, three miles south of Highway 24 and the Union Pacific railroad used to run through our small village.
Seguin was a community where families were raised and principles – good and sometimes bad – were instilled. Looking back, those fortunate enough to grow up there like I did in the ‘50s and ‘60s were surrounded by people with core values that helped guide us throughout our lives.
At the top of this list of virtues my community provided was spiritual in nature. A spiritual quality like, seek ye first this kingdom of God and his righteousness and all things shall be given unto you.
We all grew up with Monsignor Mulvihill and the Sisters of St. Joseph, went to mass six days a week and learned to abide by the golden rule.
Next, was the courtesy level of our town. This was measured by the ordinary civilities a total stranger could expect. Residents of Seguin and the outlying community always welcomed family and friends back for special events – many centered around our church and its congregation.
Transient laborers, especially during wheat, milo and corn harvest, were also treated well because of their valuable contributions during these critical periods.
Rootedness or a sense of commitment on the part of a town’s people was another cornerstone in our little community. Dependent on the fertile, sandy loam soil of the High Plains, Seguin’s families lived by the unspoken agreement that this was a place to stay, put down roots and build a family, a farm, a business and a future.
This quality is closely related to a sense of place, which now grows more rare with each passing day.
Diversity – not necessarily in the form of many nationalities – but rather in the form of creative disagreement was another building block in our community. This meant our little town enjoyed a certain confidence that all its inhabitants didn’t have to echo one another in order to make progress.
On the contrary, a community, like a country, can profit by its differences. Believe me, nearly everyone I ever knew in Seguin spoke up, voiced their opinions and let their ideas be heard.
Loyalty was the fifth attribute our community was blessed with. Loyalty is often confused with conformity, though the two are really opposites.
It is precisely loyalty to the community, to posterity and to principle that moves a citizen not to conform. A dissenter may never be so loyal as when refusing to go along quietly.
Loyalty is a virtue, but not a simple one. Certainly, it is not as simple as those who use it as a club to enforce their will on an individual or a community.
Generosity was the sixth attribute and not just with material support but a generosity of spirit akin to humility. This broader, deeper attribute sets aside not only personal interests for the sake of community, but personal grudges, slights and obsessions.
One might call this trait charity, but charity in our society has acquired an unfortunate connotation of being optional – not obligatory. Some believe charity is what you do with what you have left over. Those who believe they owe a debt to their community and embrace the opportunity to repay it practice charity, the real thing.
Pride in our little burg was also readily apparent. Self respect may be a better word for this civic virtue. It has to do with much more than clean streets, green lawns and painted buildings. It also explains good schools, honest law enforcement and other amenities that make for a proud, self respecting community.
Openness was the final attribute in our small northwestern Kansas community. Without openness all these other virtues would only be a façade. Our community was an open book. Everyone knew everyone else and everything that was going on. Candor, candidness, frankness, sincerity and plain dealing were the only way of doing business and conducting each day of your life.
Everyone who lived in Seguin was a member of the community and part of our town. Didn’t matter who you were, where you lived, how old you were or whatever else. Our community was a place of human and humane values.
Sometimes in the rush of every day life we forget to live by such values. Know your neighbors, coworkers and the members of your community. And, yes, it’s all right to argue and disagree with them about what is best for the community.
What is important is to care about your community. Think of its best interests and don’t let your mind be diverted by lesser concerns or scattered holdings.
Just like the little community I grew up in and the family and neighbors who helped shape who I am today, each of us live in communities that have values and fine traditions to uphold. Be part of yours.

During the early days of our country, settlers hunted out of necessity. While farming and trading provided them with a great deal of food, it wasn’t enough for sustenance. To survive, they hunted, fished and trapped wildlife where they lived and worked.

Today, hunting in America offers two major benefits to society: wildlife management and an economic boost.

Most wildlife populations continue to thrive under conservation programs put into place in the early 1900s. For example, the white-tailed deer population was a meager half a million 100 years ago. With careful conservation efforts, plentiful crops, well planned hunting seasons and reasonable limits for hunters, the population has grown to approximately 32,000,000.

Almost every other wildlife species has flourished as well. Most of these animals number in the millions today. This wasn’t the case before the efforts of hunters and wildlife enthusiasts became commonplace.

Just as impressive are the numbers on the economic impact of hunting. With approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population hunting today, business is booming.

For countless small businesses in rural Kansas communities, hunter spending plays a major role in economic success.

Local shops, outfitters, hotels, convenience stores, restaurants and landowners across the United States all benefit. In 2011, nearly 13.7 million hunters spent $38.3 billion, according to a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey.

In addition to the 680,000 jobs supported by hunters, hunting generated nearly $12 billion in tax revenues for federal, state and local coffers. Wildlife agency positions are also supported by sportsmen through the purchase of hunting licenses and funds collected as excise taxes through the long-running Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration.

These sportsmen contribute on average $8 million per day nationally, much of which goes toward conservation efforts. Billions of dollars have been used to protect fish and wildlife habitats throughout the country.

Through conservation efforts, money generated and jobs created, hunting remains a positive engine in this country’s economic industry. What many fail to understand about this sacred tradition is that it isn’t just about the act itself.

Hunting provides the opportunity to experience nature. Some sportsmen will tell you the best part about hunting isn’t shooting. It’s the peacefulness and serenity of being outdoors.

Some may even feel a connection with their ancestry while hunting. It’s also an opportunity to pass such traditions to their children and friends.

For generations, families have shared these experiences and it has strengthened their relationships. It is a visceral feeling that can strengthen family bonds. Hunting remains a way of sharing in nature’s beauty and the dynamic between human and animal have few comparisons in society today.

Hunting prevails as a part of our American identity. Millions of people take pride in hunting. Their experiences are much bigger than themselves and create this community we call hunting.

Grocery shopping is no longer an easy errand for west Macon resident Angelica Williams.

She sometimes spends two hours on two different buses to get to the Kroger in north Macon. It used to take her 30 minutes on the bus to reach the Pio Nono Avenue location before it closed in April.

Now the 28-year-old mom alternates going to different stores around town, trying to buy just enough to get her three-person family through the week, so she doesn’t have to carry too many bags on the bus.

If Williams wants to go to get everything she needs at one store, she has to make a full day of it.

“If you have anything else to do, you might want to just cancel it,” Williams said.

The area surrounding the vacant Kroger is now considered a food desert, devoid of fresh and nutritious foods within a one-mile radius. Instead, residents are limited to convenience stores and discount shops, where options are minimal and prices often steep.

It’s not easy to maintain a healthy diet on corner store shopping, said Cheryl Gaddis, program director for the master’s of public health program at Mercer University. She studies food access in Bibb and Houston counties.

At a gas station, shoppers are more likely to find potato chips than Yukon golds.

“Many offer things like hot dogs, pizza. Even some offer fried chicken now,” Gaddis said. “But those are not the healthy items that we want people to intake, and so, when they’re having to purchase things from the convenience stores, they’re not getting healthy items.”

Some corner stores offer more nutritious options, like prepackaged salads and sandwiches, Gaddis said, but they cost more than a hamburger at a fast food restaurant.

“Cost is going to increase as the availability of healthy items is going to decrease,” she said.

In food deserts, shoppers are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease, Gaddis said. Children feel the effects, too.

“You’re going to see more children who are not succeeding in school,” Gaddis said, “because they’re more focused on, you know, trying to make sure they have something to eat as opposed to being able to focus on their school work.”

Where’s the food?

Grocery options are few and far between on the stretch of Pio Nono Avenue where the Kroger once stood.

In a quest to find pantry staples within walking distance, The Telegraph and GPB Macon assembled a shopping list of basic grocery items and set out on foot to find them. The list: milk, bread, eggs, chicken, bananas, apples, carrots, lettuce, beans, cereal, peanut butter and jelly.

At a Gulf gas station about a quarter-mile away, we found only two items on its list: beans and chicken — and the only chicken available was canned. The food aisles were stocked mostly with chips, candy and sugary drinks.

About a quarter-mile farther down the road, a Family Dollar store sold a version of each item on the list but mostly in frozen, packaged or preserved form.

The next-closest option was a mile-and-a-half’s walk from the shuttered Kroger. My Store, near the intersection of Anthony Road and Pio Nono Avenue, was the only nearby market that offered both fresh produce and meat, as well as non-essentials, like spices and sauces.

But our shopping list cost over $6 more at My Store than at Kroger. And while both My Store and Family Dollar accepted food stamps, the Gulf gas station on Pio Nono did not.

With no supermarkets nearby, shoppers have to take extra factors into account before making a trip to the store. Those without cars face extra obstacles, Gaddis said. The mile-and-a-half walk to My Store would make the store inaccessible for some.

“They’re going to have to take buses or find some other means of transportation to try to get to a grocery store,” she said. “So, that means paying to get there and then paying to get back home, and then also making sure that they’re able to carry all of the groceries that they’re purchasing back with them, using whatever transportation means that they have.”

In a sprawling metropolitan area like Macon, access to a vehicle can make all the difference. There’s no shortage of supermarkets in the suburbs.

The key is finding a way to get there.

‘It hurts a lot of people’

Chiquita Johnson drives dozens of friends and relatives to grocery stores around town, sometimes six or seven in a day. Johnson has offered free rides to friends without cars for years, and she said her trips to the market have increased about 75 percent since the Kroger closed last spring.

“It hurts a lot of people,” particularly those who live in the areas near the now-vacant store, Johnson said.

“Kroger was the best healthy and affordable food that was in this part of south and west Macon,” she said.

Without the Pio Nono Kroger, neighborhood residents still can access nutritious, low-cost groceries. They just have to do a bit more searching to find them.

The Mulberry Market in Tattnall Square Park accepts food stamps and offers a range of local produce, meat, dairy and baked goods each Wednesday afternoon. The Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program, known as WIC, also hosts an annual farmers market outside the Macon-Bibb County Health Department.

Local nonprofit organizations pitch in as well. Volunteers at Mulberry United Methodist Church tend a community garden and donate the produce to the church’s food pantry. Some organizations also send traveling produce trucks to underserved areas, Gaddis said.

But Macon’s food deserts have grown in the past year. Since last fall, Kroger, Target and Harveys have all closed locations in neighborhoods where grocery options already were scarce.

“Closing down grocery stores is going to increase the number of people who are going to be considered food insecure,” Gaddis said.

The most obvious way to curb that food insecurity, Gaddis said, is to open more supermarkets with healthy, affordable options.

Until that happens, local residents will have to settle for the few options they’ve got.

“It’s hard to get to other places,” said Williams, the mom who sometimes spends two hours on a bus to grocery shop. “So, with us having that Kroger down there, it was easier. And we don’t have to go all the way across town to go here to another Kroger or to go two miles or something to go to another place.”

As the 2018 election races toward the finish line on Nov.6, candidates from both parties have stooped to their old tricks of slinging mud, name calling and finger pointing at one another. Why can’t candidates do what’s right for this nation and focus on issues?

Instead, we are forced to put up with elected officials who pursue their own agendas, grow the government, do-nothing and engage in gridlock.

What Kansas and this nation sorely need is leadership and a willingness among all elected officials to work together for the good of this country.

What do you think the framers of our constitution and this republic would say about what’s going on in all three branches of government today?

What would Washington, Hamilton and Jefferson think about our way of conducting the nation’s business?

What would Kansas’s own favorite son, Dwight D. Eisenhower say about the way we’re conducting this country’s business today?

What about Frank Carlson, Alf Landon, Andy Schoeppel and other Kansas leaders of yesteryear think?

Profound?

Enlightening?

Telling?

Absolutely.

Where are the ideas for leading and uniting this great state and nation?
Isn’t that what they’re supposed to be doing?

Farmers, ranchers and businessmen cannot, and do not want to engage in the same game of blaming one party for the charade going on in Washington and among some of our own state leaders. This is a shared shame and a weakness that is ruining our state and nation.

In spite of claims to the contrary, taxes continue to increase. The only way for the tax-and-spend cycle to be broken is to hold candidates accountable. The citizenry of Kansas and this country must demand candidates clearly state their positions on the issues.

Today’s politicians and most of the candidates have become so adept at ducking the issues. They rival a young Muhammad Ali’s ability to float like a butterfly, always out of reach and accountability.

Not only do voters rarely have a chance to ask candidates questions, they have even less chance of receiving a worthwhile answer.

Some candidates also talk out of both sides of their mouth. They tell one gathering of voters one thing and others just the opposite.

They also barrage voters with wave after wave of rhetoric, hoping to obscure their real views. They’re not called politicians for nothing.

This year’s election is just around the corner. Whether we like what’s been happening in government or not, the mess we’re in remains our own.

It’s our system, and while it may appear broken, we still must vote. Past elections demonstrate rural voters can make a difference by their willingness to go to the polls.

Fiscal responsibility, a reduction in the size of government and increased productivity remain a sound prescription for this country’s economic troubles. The bigger problem of cooperation and compromise while working together for the good of this country must be addressed as well – if these remedies are to work.

Urge your friends, family and neighbors to cast their votes Nov. 6. Vote your heart, mind and the issues – not just party lines.

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award additional priority points to Solid Waste Management Grant Program applications proposing innovative projects to promote the safe disposal of prescription drugs in rural communities. Hazlett made the announcement in observance of the 16th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to local leaders in combatting the opioid epidemic in rural America,” Hazlett said. “Helping rural families with local options to dispose of unused medications is an important first step in building healthy rural communities.”

USDA Solid Waste Management Grants support the planning and management of solid waste sites. Rural communities, non-profit organizations, federally recognized tribes and academic institutions can apply.

The application deadline for the Solid Waste Management Grant Program is Dec. 31, 2018. Applications can be submitted electronically at Grants.gov or in hard copy to: USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Programs, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 5168, STOP 1522, Washington, DC 20250-1597.

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that nearly 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017. More than half of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin.

In May 2018, the White House Office of National Drug Control policy (ONDCP) stood up the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group to help address the opioid crisis by improving coordination and reducing potential overlap among federal agencies responding to the crisis in the Nation’s rural communities.

The Working Group is co-chaired by ONDCP and USDA. The departments and agencies represented on the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group include the departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.