Washington, DC, May 03, 2010 — Last week, President Obama turned his attention to rural America. He visited an ethanol refinery in Missouri, a small CSA farmer in Iowa, and wind turbine blades manufacturer in Iowa. The message was that while farming is important to rural communities, most rural people get their paychecks off the farm. New industries like renewable energies will be key to reviving small towns.
On Air Force One, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that rural America is facing "a silent crisis." David Sommerstein got a chance to interview Vilsack to ask what he meant. Vilsack says the recession hit rural America decades ago. He says 90% of counties with persistent poverty are in rural areas. Go to full article
Jun 26, 2007 — U.S. energy policy may be headed in a new direction after a compromise vote in the Senate last week, toward renewable fuels and conservation. The Senate voted 65-27 to approve its bill Thursday night. The bill includes the first rise in gas mileage, or CAFE, standards in 20 years. It also would require a major increase in ethanol production, to at least 36 billion gallons annually by 2022, seven times what the industry produced last year. But the federal government has no comprehensive plan to deal with an expected increase in the production of biofuels. That's according to a new study from the Government Accountability Office. Dustin Dwyer reports that the lack of a plan has some real consequences. Go to full article
Mar 05, 2007 — This winter, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County has been holding seminars on using wood or grass pellets to heat homes, farms, and businesses. They've been a hit. Almost 200 people packed a pelletizing workshop in Madrid last month. Extension's Pete Barney says concerns about global warming and reliance on foreign oil are adding up. Barney told David Sommerstein the problem is supply lags behind the demand. Go to full article