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Rural Issues in the 2016 Election: Martin O'Malley's Platform for Rural America

on Mon, 06/29/2015 - 12:51pm

The Rural Organizing Center started in Iowa and during the caucus season, we’re so glad we did.

Being here in Iowa we literally have a front row seats to the presidential pick’en process and we take that access very seriously.

Today we’re launching a blog series tracking each Presidential candidates’ -- both Republican and Democrat -- positions on important issues affecting Rural America.

We’re specifically tracking the 2016 presidential candidates positions on:

  1. Access to rural health care

  2. Loan forgiveness for rural civic and health professionals

  3. Immigration

  4. Population loss

  5. Rural

Broad Coalition Urging Rejection of Country-of-Origin Labeling Repeal Bill

on Wed, 06/10/2015 - 3:27am

Over 282 farm, rural, faith, environment, farmworker and consumers organizations are urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to reject the repeal of the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law and support commonsense food labeling.

“Polls show that nine out of ten Americans support COOL,” the organizations noted in a letter, adding, “consumers continue to demand more and more information about their food and producers want to share that information.”

The broad coalition is opposed to the legislation which aims to repeal country of origin labeling requirements for beef, pork, and

How Can I Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) For My Digital Campaign?

on Tue, 06/09/2015 - 5:30am

A lot of organizer know how to write strong compelling content for their campaigns, but I have found that some often forget the search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results - often referred to as "natural," "organic," or "earned" results.

These days, if you don't live on the first page of the Google search results, your campaign might as well not exsitis online.

So what can you do to improve how your content performs online? Here are a few tips.

Search Engine Optomization (SEO) Requires a

New USDA Study Finds 30 - to 34-Year-Olds Key to Fighting Rural Population Loss

on Sat, 05/30/2015 - 1:23am

A new USDA report shows that reducing rural population loss may depend less on retaining young adults after they graduate from high school and more on attracting them back in their early 30s.

Population loss is a real problem in rural America. In nearly half of today’s nonmetropolitan (rural) counties, more people have moved out than moved in during every decade since 1950.

Young people often leave small towns and rural communities in search of an education, find a job, join the military, build personal relationships, or otherwise gain life experiences in a different locale.


Child Poverty Rate Higher in Rural Communities

on Sun, 05/03/2015 - 2:44am

According to a new report from the United States Department of Agriculture, the poverty rate for children under 18 living in rural areas is more than four percentage points higher than the metro child poverty rate.

In 2013, the nonmetro/metro difference in poverty rates was greatest for children under six years old (30.3 percent nonmetro and 23.9 percent metro).

According to the report:

Child poverty is more sensitive to labor market conditions than overall poverty, as children depend on the earnings of their parents

Click here for an interactive map of the data.



Fixing Immigration One Potluck at a Time

on Mon, 01/13/2014 - 12:18am

Nothing says grassroots politics in Iowa quite like a long row crock pots nesteled between large containers of home make salads. And if the diversity of dishes is any sign of success, the Northwest Iowa Immigration Reform Potluck on January 11, 2014 was a major hit.

Led by Haorld Hieie, of CASA Sioux County, over 50 people from 9 northwest Iowa communities joined together and discussed strategies for making Iowa's District 4 a more welcoming place at Our Place, a new mulitcultural center in Storm Lake.

The sessions were all recorded and you can watch them here:


Are Weak Ties Killing Your Rural Campaign?

on Sun, 06/09/2013 - 3:07pm

During the civil rights movement, the Greensboro Four — Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr. and David Richmond -- were all still teenagers in their freshmen year when they sparked a five month desegregation campaign that inspired millions.

Most of us have probably heard the story before, but too often, one important fact is missed. The Greensboro Four were all friends before they were advocates.

At the whites only counter, McNeil and McCain were the first to take seats. About 12 white people were taking afternoon coffee breaks.

Who is Tweeting in My Small Town?

on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 10:41pm

There’s no doubt about it, most people on Twitter live in urban areas -- and it's going to be a while before anything changes there. Urban internet users are twice as likely as rural residents to use Twitter, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Survey in December 2010.

So if you’re going to make Twitter part of your rural campaign, it’s important that you’re smart about it -- otherwise, you’ll just end up talking to yourself.

So what’s the best way to find your local Twitter audience? Easy, it’s Follower Wonk.

Follower Wonk has been around awhile -- it’s an oldy, but a goody.

Why You Should Care About the 2012 Farm Bill

on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 4:16am

The 2012 Farm Bill -- Obama's first Farm Bill -- is starting it’s journey through Congress. So now, after 5 years, we need to reeducate ourselves and start paying attention to the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the Federal Government.

We all know that the farm bill is an omnibus bill passed every 5 years or so by Congress and deals with both agriculture and all other affairs under the purview of the United States Department of Agriculture

But what does the Farm Bill mean for us Americans who want real, wholesome food?

Author, and food activist, Michael Pollan tells us why it’s

Ten Organizations Working to Save Family Farms

on Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:46am

The other day, for a research project, I compile a list of ten organizations and websites working to improve the lives of family famers. This is the list I came up with. What do you think? Did I missing anyone?