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October 21, 2008 - 8:39pm

Nobody is going to bail out rural America

posted by Howard B. Owens in economy.

On the Anderson Cooper 360 blog, Dee Davis, found and president of the Center for Rural Strategies writes:

Nobody is going to bail out rural America. No matter how bad things get, there is never going to be $700 billion of stop loss or reinvestment or economic stimulus for the countryside. Government is going to be there to look after besotted financiers in $5,000 suits and Gucci loafers a long time before it notices small town folks struggling to feed their families or gas up to get to work.

But that doesn’t mean that the Countryside can’t help us out of this mess. When the credit crisis abates and the debts of all the profligates have been forgiven, the nation will still have some tough choices. Will we rev up the same economic machine, built on the notion of cheap fossil fuel and limitless consumption, or will we shoot for something a little more sustainable? If it is the latter, rural communities have something to offer.

And here's his ideas:

  • Localize food systems so we support area farmers more and global transportation less,
  • Seek more sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fertilizer and pesticide production agriculture,
  • Open up the power grid so locally scaled and more environmentally sound approaches to power generation can compete for market share ,
  • Cap carbon emissions so that we begin to acknowledge the hidden costs of pollution and monetize the value of rural expanses where the sky is still clean,
  • Invest in clean, renewable fuels that we can create in the American countryside.
  • And rethink the inevitability of endless suburban sprawl built on housing speculation, loosey-goosey credit markets, and the expectation of cheap gasoline.

One thing to give Alice Kryzan credit for is she's talking a lot about Western New York playing a role in a new green economy. That isn't wacky thinking, but I wonder how it can happen without a concerted local effort.  This isn't really the kind of thing Kryzan (or Lee) can do for us at the Federal level. It's the kind of thing we must do for ourselves.

(link via The Rural Blog)

(The photo above was taken Friday in LeRoy.)

lazario Ladou
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farmers do get mini bailouts, don't they? This bailout thing is going to hurt us one day Are things really "so bad" Or is it everyone wants what another gets whether good practice or not 2 wrongs dont make a right but rather than attacking the wrong we settle for "fair" fleecing
John Roach
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Farmers have been getting bailouts since the 1930’s and you know it. How many times has Congress passed farm bills in just the past few years? They get price supports; get paid to rest land, floor prices. True, big farms drive out small ones, but big companies and businesses usually drive out the little guy (On the other hand, not many companies started out “big”, they had to work hard to get big). And now Ethanol. What country would burn its food supply to help corn growers? People in other countries now starve because the price of corn is way up because we burn our food to drive a car. And Ethanol uses more energy than it produces, but farmers love it. Ethanol is a bail out. You may or may not support farm subsides and aide passed every year, the Ethanol bail out for corn growers, but don’t go and say nobody will bail out farmers. We have been for decades.
Howard B. Owens
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Good point, John. Brain freeze on that one when I posted this.

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