Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Strenthen Rural America Petition - Update

The number of people signing the petition keeps increasing everyday. We are rapidly approaching 500. This started out a small effort to get people talking about the importance of revitalizing rural communities and making sure the 2007 farm bill creates farm and rural policy that invests in and helps create a vibrant future for rural America. And it has turned into something bigger than that. We didn't talk about a goal for signatures when we started putting this idea together a few weeks ago. Then, we said, 10,000 (and I gulped).

But, we started slowly, sharing the petition with a few friends, talking to them about the importance of building a rural network with a loud enough voice to make Congress sit up and take notice. And a handful of people turned into a dozen, then two dozen, then 50 and now we are rapidly closing in on 500. How about it? Want to get in the ground floor of building something important, something crucial, something meaningful for rural Americans? Here is your chance. By the way, I don't gulp anymore when I think about the goal of 10,000 signatures. john

Strengthening Rural America Strengthens All of America!

The Center for Rural Affairs is calling on rural Americans to join the thousands of people that are standing up and speaking out for rural America. Add your voice to the voices of thousands by signing the Center’s Strengthen Rural America Petition.

Sign the Strengthen Rural America Petition! –

Then, take another step and forward this Blog for Rural America post to everyone you can!

The Center for Rural Affairs will deliver the petition to your Senators and Representatives. We will also alert all who sign on when contacting their elected officials or taking other action will make a crucial difference on a rural issue.

With your help, the National Rural Action Network will grow to tens of thousands of people speaking out for Rural America, perhaps even more. Together, through the Rural Action Network, we will build the power necessary to take control of our destiny.

Tell everyone you know…Sign the Petition! –

America is strongest when all of its communities are strong and all of its people have access to genuine opportunity. Rural America is a valuable part of America. Rural communities are not sharing in the nation’s prosperity. This hurts all of us.

- When rural young people are denied the opportunity to build homes, businesses, lives and careers, rural America contributes fewer taxes, fewer jobs and less productivity to America. To contribute to the nation’s prosperity, rural America must share in it.

- When community is weakened, the bonds that make us strong are weakened. In strong communities we are more likely to help each other. To uplift rural values, we must lift up rural communities.

- The destruction of family farms and small business is shrinking the rural middle class. People denied a stake in the American dream, are less likely to take responsibility for sustaining it.

Strengthening Rural America Strengthens All of America!

Tell everyone you know…Sign the Petition! –

Congress Must Act Now to Revitalize Rural America!

There are practical strategies that work to revitalize rural communities. But local initiative must be matched by federal policies that support rural revitalization, rather than hinder it. The 2007 farm bill provides an opportunity to change course.

- Rural Entrepreneurship – traditional economic development based on industrial recruitment simply does not work for most rural communities. Investment in entrepreneurial development based on small business counters out-migration and chronic economic hardship by creating economic opportunity.

- Rural Asset Building – match savings of lower income families in counties with chronic depopulation and allow money saved in these Individual Development Accounts to be used for starting a business, buying a home or obtaining higer education. These strategies help individuals and families build assets base that lift the veil of poverty and dependence on low wage work, making rural communities stronger and more viable as opportunities are expanded and ownership extended to more rural people.

- Family Farm and Ranch Innovation – assist farmers and ranchers in pursuing new, high-value, consumer driven markets for their products, thereby creating enhanced economic opportunities in rural communities. Invest resources in innovative cooperatives and other ventures that increase the profitability and viability of family farms and ranches.

- Beginning Farmers and Ranchers – the future of agriculture depends on the next generation of family farmers and ranchers. And the viability of many rural businesses, schools and other community institutions also depends on new farmers and ranchers getting started. Invest in training, mentoring, linking, education and planning – invest in the future of family farming and ranching.

- Conservation – preserve land and water by rewarding farmers and ranchers for good stewardship on working lands. Investing in programs like the Conservation Security Program which rewards more intense management of land to protect the environment rather than what and how much farms produce, is also good for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

- Payment limits – the single most effective thing Congress can do to strengthen rural America is cap farm payments and stop providing subsidies that mega farms use to drive smaller operations out of business. Capping farm payments saves money that can be invested in creating a future for rural America.

We do not have to choose between family farms and rural communities.

Take Action Today!

Tell everyone you know…Sign the Petition! –

John Crabtree
Development and Outreach Officer
Center for Rural Affairs
Blog for Rural America
402-687-2103 ext 1010

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree, the next farm bill should be redirect commodity program money to rural development. The cotton plantations and new "Bonanza" farms do not need our tax dollars. Invest some money in our rural communities for a change, let the mega-farms take care of themselves.

  • At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I saw that others on this blog signed the Rural America petition.

    So did I. I am from Mound City, Kansas

  • At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dougherty, Iowa


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