Thursday, December 13, 2012

Publications, Tools, Learning, and Funding

From our friends and colleagues at USDA-RD. This week there's information about farmers' markets, rural broadband adoption and the value of health facilities to rural communities. Enjoy!





A Little Good News from Agurban,


As we wind down the year, we looked for a little good news to share with our Agurban readers. Sure, there's plenty of bad news out there too, but in the spirit of the season, we just want to focus on the good!


  • The latest U.S. unemployment rate of 7.7% is the lowest level since 2008; 146,000 jobs were added in November.
  • Job growth in the technology sector outpaced the rest of the economy three to one.
  • U.S. productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.9% from July to September 2012, the fastest pace in two years.
  • Apple is investing $100 million to build one of its Mac line of computers exclusively in the United States in 2013.
  • The U.S. is closer to being a major natural gas exporter.
  • Americans saw some of the lowest gasoline prices since January.
  • The U.S. still commands about 20% of global manufacturing.
  • Manufacturing employment has been growing steadily in the United States for nearly two years.
  • The US is the world's biggest economy.



Farmers' markets concentrated in metro counties

According to USDA's National Farmers' Market Directory, 7,828 farmers' markets were operating in the United States in August 2012. Of the 3,143 U.S. counties, 33 percent had no farmer's markets, 29 percent had 1 market, 21 percent had 2 or 3 markets, 12 percent had 4 to 10 markets, and 5 percent had more than 10 farmers' markets. The 143 counties with more than 10 farmers' markets account for almost 40 percent of the Nation's farmers' markets. All but 10 are metro-designated counties where higher population concentrations provide a larger customer base. Half of these 143 counties are located in 6 States—California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. In 2011, 129 U.S. counties had more than 10 farmers' markets. A chart appears in the December issue of ERS's Amber Waves magazine.


Broadband for Rural America: Economic Impacts and Economic Opportunities Reports on broadband emphasizing that the great technology challenge for rural areas is to keep pace with Internet transmission speeds.


Concentration of Poverty Is a Growing Rural Problem - Describes poverty concentrations in rural areas, comparing the year 2000 to a 2006-2010 year range. Lists the percentage of people of different demographics living in high-poverty counties. Organization: USDA Economic Research Service. Date: 12 / 2012  Journal: Amber Waves Volume: 10 Issue: 4


Planning for Sustainability - Collection of resources developed by the Georgia Health Policy Center to help consider long-term program sustainability plans that address community needs and engage partners and stakeholders in the process.


Economic Impact of a Critical Access Hospital on a Rural Community - Reports on a study to estimate the economic impact of a typical critical access hospital using data collected from 73 critical access hospitals, representing twenty-one states. Organization: National Center for Rural Health Works. Date: 09 / 2012


Race to the Bottom -

Competition among states and cities to lure businesses in hopes of creating jobs is not new, but it has become more fierce in recent years. An investigation by The Times found that state and local governments are giving out $80 billion a year in tax breaks and other subsidies in a foolhardy, shortsighted race to attract companies. That money could go a long way to improving education, transportation and other public services that would have a far better shot at promoting real economic growth. The tax revenues forgone in this giveaway frenzy should concern Congress deeply. After all, federal funds account for one-fifth of state and local budgets.





Community Network Analysis You can't engage diverse groups in your community if you don't know who they are, where they hang out, and whom they're connected to. Get started with the Orton Family Foundation's Community Network Analysis tool, which can help you map out the stakeholders in your community and figure out the best ways to reach them.


RAC Launches New Online Rural Obesity Prevention Toolkit
Dec 5, 2012 -- In an effort to help rural communities better address the current obesity epidemic, the Rural Assistance Center has launched a Rural Obesity Prevention toolkit. This toolkit contains resources to help communities develop obesity prevention programs, building on best practices of successful obesity prevention programs.


Digital Skills for Rural Communities – Toolkits - www.e4vt.orgRural Communities just coming into broadband access are often behind the 8 ball—they haven't built the culture of Internet use to fully avail all the economic and community development opportunities that digital applications provide.  We spent the last 2 years leading e-Vermont, an NTIA funded initiative to help rural residents and communities develop websites, put businesses on line, build WiFi downtowns, turn libraries into digital resource centers, set up one:one curriculum and facilities in schools, develop community based social networking (see attachments and the link below).  The models developed will be of interest to towns throughout rural America. For more information contact e-Vermont Project Director Helen Labun Jordan (802.225.6091 or 





1.       WEBINAR: Keeping Your Equine Business a Vibrant Part of Rural Communities - December 18, 2012 (Tuesday), 11:30 AM – Eastern Time

Registration: There is no registration and no fee for attending this webinar.


There are over 1 million horses and 162,000 horse farms in the north central region, where over 70% of horse owners live in rural communities of 50,000 or less.  Most equine related businesses, including breeding, training, boarding and riding schools, are located in rural America and support not only their immediate community, but larger spectator aspects of the industry such as racing and showing.  Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, and Iowa State University developed an equine business education program targeted for the NCR, but applicable nationwide. Each state hosted a simultaneous Extension conference with a single presenter at each of 4 locations while the other three presentations were broadcast through an interactive webinar. Additionally social media such as the Equine Business Network facebook page and Equine Biz blog were developed. This webinar will present both the economic impact of the educational program to equine businesses, plus share recommendations for conducting similar on-line educational programming.  For a "Sneak Peek" of the webinar go to:



Kathy Anderson, PhD, is the Extension Equine Specialist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Kathy is the current national chair of eXtension/horses site and teaches a variety of undergraduate equine classes. Additionally she and conducts extension work in all phases of horse management and use. Kathy holds a PhD in Animal Science from Kansas State University, MS in Equine Reproduction from Texas A&M, and a BS in Animal Science and Ag Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Christine Skelly, PhD is an Equine Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University. Christine is the founder and director of curriculum for My Horse University (, an online horse management educational resource.  She is also a member of eXtension/horses Community of Practice.  Christine holds a Ph.D. and BS in Animal Science from Texas A&M University.


To join the webinar go to, "enter as a guest" is by default already chosen. Type your name into the text box provided, and click on "Enter Room". You are now in the meeting room for the webinar.  Adobe Connect Tips and Instructions.  The webinar will be recorded and archived at


2.       NONPROFIT LEARNING: Stuck Between a Financial Crisis Wrought by the Founder and a Hard Place

First Person Nonprofit • By Judith Long • July 23, 2012 • Email Print

A deputy director describes the crisis that befell her organization as the founding executive director left, how that organization almost closed down, and what she's learned from it for her new job as an executive director in another state and another field.


When I started with this Brooklyn organization as the deputy director, there was an understanding that the executive director, who had been there 20+ years, was going to retire in 3 to 5 years. She was the founder. The organization was trying to be thoughtful about the founder leaving, trying to be proactive.

We went through a major strategic planning process, worked on executive transition, and brought in a transition consultant. We did all the right things: we had the right committees and the ED announced her retirement fully a year ahead of time.


I didn't see any problems coming


They hired someone, but then after this candidate accepted the job, she pulled out at the last minute.

It was then the outgoing director began acting out.


We were just at the end of our budget year. The outgoing director met with the board finance committee and the executive committee and made the case that she wanted severance of 30 weeks of full pay (one week per year of service) with full benefits, and a consulting contract for about half time -- because no one had her expertise.

In addition, she urged the upgrade of two half-time positions to full time. The effect of all these changes was to add approximately $120,000 in uncovered expenses to the budget.

For the rest of the story -


3.  DISCUSSION on Conflict of Interest:  Conflict of Interest . . . or Conflict of Loyalty?

Board Cafe - By Jan Masaoka - December 8, 2012 - Email

"Conflict of loyalty" is a useful concept and term that gives us another dimension to work with than simply conflict of interest:

In our legitimate desire to avoid conflicts of interest in nonprofits, we typically make two oddly opposite mistakes:

1.       We narrow "conflict of interest" to a strict legal definition and focus only on matters that involve personal financial gain, and

2.       At the same time we are too quick to label any kind of relationship at all as a conflict of interest.

But often, the "conflicts of interest" in nonprofits do not involve personal financial gain. Consider the board member whose commitment to rights for people with disabilities leads her to serve on the boards of two such organizations. At Board A she hears about a new grant opportunity that is opening up at a local foundation. Should she tell Board B about it, or is she obligated not to mention it?

Or what about the deputy director of a nonprofit theater who sits on the board of a battered women's shelter: two very different fields. He's just met someone he thinks would be a great board member for either organization. Should he suggest this person to both, or to which one?

In another example,

> Read more





The Institute for Rural America is offering Seize the Moment Grants. These small (maximum $250) awards are intended to assist nonprofit organizations needing to take quick action on issues that arise or to send staff to training programs. The application deadline is rolling.


The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) has released a FY 2013 Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement (Rural Quality) Grant Program funding announcement. The program supports rural primary care providers in implementing quality improvement activities that help develop an evidence-based culture and the delivery of coordinated care. A technical assistance call will take place December 18.  Applications due January 30.


USDA is offering grants to support technical assistance or training to identify and evaluate solutions to water problems relating to source, storage, treatment and distribution, and to waste disposal problems relating to collection, treatment and disposal. Deadline to apply: 12/31/2012.


The National Endowment for the Humanities is offering grants for projects in the formats of interactive digital media such as websites, games, mobile applications, virtual environments, streaming video or podcasts; film and television projects intended for national distribution; and radio projects intended for regional or national distribution. Deadline to apply: 1/9/2013. Learn more


The Corporation for National and Community Service is offering funding to nonprofits and local and state governments to establish AmeriCorps programs that will offer AmeriCorps volunteers the opportunity to become involved in a range of community improvement activities. Deadline: 1/23/2013.


The Department of Veterans Affairs is offering grants to nonprofits to provide supportive services to very low-income veteran families, especially those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. Both initial and renewal grants are available. Deadline: 2/1/2013.


The National Endowment for the Arts is offering grants through its Big Read program for community-wide reading programs. Seventy-five grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded to nonprofit organizations for community-wide reading programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Deadline to apply: 2/5/2013. Get an application and more details about the program


USDA is accepting applications from nonprofits for the Higher Education Challenge Grants Program: Agricultural Sciences Education. The funding aims to increase the number and diversity of students who will pursue and complete a postsecondary degree in the food and agricultural sciences. Deadline to apply: 2/8/2013. For application requirements,


Ezra Jack Keats Foundation Accepting Minigrant Applications -Public schools and libraries in the United States and its territories are invited to apply for mini-grants of up to $500 to support special activities outside the standard curriculum.... Deadline: March 15, 2013


National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Accepting Proposals for America's Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists - A total of $1.4 million in matching grants of $40,000 to $100,000 will be awarded to support innovative conservation job-training programs for youth.... Deadline: January 21, 2013


AIDS United Invites Grant Applications for Southern REACH Program - Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to support HIV/AIDS-focused policy/advocacy work by community-based organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, northern Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee....Deadline: January 7, 2013


Bush Foundation Accepting Applications for Community Leadership Fellowship Program - Two-year leadership development fellowships are available to elected and public officials in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the twenty-three Native nations that share the same geographic area....Deadline: January 14, 2013; March 18, 2013; and May 20, 2013 (Reference Letter)



Newsletters and email from where I gather this information include:


v  Foundation Center RFP Service -  To subscribe or unsubscribe, or to change your e-mail address, visit:

v  To subscribe to the RAC Health Listserv - click here to go to the subscription form.

v  Electronic newsletter of the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, Rural Entrepreneurship NewsTo subscribe,  

v  The Center for Rural Affairs' e-newsletter.

v  Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City newsletter:'

v  The npEnterprise Forum ( ) - 5000+ subscribers discuss practical ways that organizations can advance their social missions through entrepreneurial, earned-income strategies.

v  National Cooperative Business Association eNews -

v  Blue Avocado Nonprofit Magazine - They have a newsletter on boards and nonprofit management, down-to-earth and useful.

v  Rural LISC e-newsletter -

v  National Association for Development Organizations (NADO) –

v  ERS - A notification service is provided by USDA's Economic Research Service for Charts of Note and other research to keep you informed of the latest and most relevant research on the topics that interest you. You can subscribe at




Suzette M. Agans
Rural Development | Community and Economic Development
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W. Stop 3254 | Washington, D.C. 20250
Phone: 202.401.1922

"Committed to the future of rural communities"
"Estamos dedicados al futuro de las comunidades rurales"


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