Photo by Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Letter from Langdon: Water from Stones

Seed patents, proprietary tractor software, mergers, and virtual monopolies: Corporations set the price and farmers pay the tab. But how much more can Big Ag squeeze farmers? We don't know -- yet.... READ MORE

Ira High Elk was among those outside the North Dakota State Capitol  celebrating the federal government’s decision to suspend the Dakota Access pipeline project near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. All photos by Alyssa Schukar.

Viewfinder: Alyssa Schukar

Alyssa Schukar is a Chicago-based photojournalist and teacher. In the past few weeks, she has photographed the people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota for Yahoo News and the New York Times. Her documentary pictures from the camp have been supplemented by a series of portraits of the people there to protect the site.... READ MORE

The graph breaks out growth and decline in jobs using the Economic Research Service's nine-catetory system, with 1 being the most urban and 9 being the most rural. The biggest counties (blue counties are in a metro with 1 million or more residents; red, in metros with 250,000 or more) had more jobs in 2015 than they did in 2008. Every other county type (from smaller metro areas down to the most rural) still haven’t caught up with pre-recession employment. Generally, the more rural a county, the poorer its job performance has been. (Daily Yonder using Bureau of Labor Statistics data)

Job Growth Focused on Largest Cities

Rural America has been adding jobs since 2013. But there are still fewer people working there than before the Great Recession. Through 2015, nearly all of America’s job recovery has been in the nation’s largest urban areas.... READ MORE

Photo by Lance Booth.

In the Black: Three-and-a-half Fingers

Lonnie was a joker, wailing out country songs at the top of his lungs and constantly picking at us as he trammed his shuttle car past our position at the roof bolter. So the first time Lonnie yelled for help, we didn’t pay attention.... READ MORE

Ninety-nine percent of pay-TV subscribers rent their conversion box from their TV provider, according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.  Consumers' inability to choose their own box results in higher prices, Wheeler said.

Speak Your Piece: Unlocking ‘the Box’ Will Help Rural America

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed opening up the marketplace to allow consumers to purchase their “cable boxes” from third parties instead of being stuck paying whatever the pay-TV provider wants to charge. This change, along with better ways to watch video via digital devices, will be a big help to rural areas, which can’t get over-the-air TV as easily as cities, says a communications policy expert.... READ MORE

The study found a correlation between the use of broadband and many measures of civic engagement in rural (nonmetropolitan) U.S. counties. In these charts, the instance of voting and contacting a public official in rural counties went up as rates of broadband "adoption," or use, increased. (Data Source for all graphs: 2011 Current Population  Survey and Federal Communications Commission Industry Analysis and Technology Division)

Use of Broadband Linked to Greater Levels of Civic Engagement

Rural residents who use broadband are more likely to vote, belong to a group, trust their neighbors, and do other activities that indicate civic participation. But researchers saw this difference only when residents used broadband, not just when it was theoretically available. That may have implications for how public broadband programs should focus their efforts.... READ MORE


Letter from Langdon: Consider the Corporations

Like the lilies of the field, corporations don’t toil. But they sure do spin a good story about their need for mega-mergers to keep profits up. Thank goodness they’ve got farmers to do the work for them.


RDI’s Acting Executive Director (and author of this article) Heidi Khokhar with USDA Rural Development Oregon State Director Vicki Walker at the Embracing Our Treasure conference in Ontario, Oregon.

Speak Your Piece: To Solve Local Problems, Local People Are Experts

One set of solutions for creating stronger communities comes from helping local people acquire skills to identify and address their own problems. When local passion combines with local expertise, the result can be “community economic vitality.”... READ MORE

The Dakota Access Pipeline under construction in August, as seen near New Salem, North Dakota. Photo by Tony Webster/Flickr

Trahant: Who Gets to Tell the Standing Rock Story?

The “official” stories about the oil-pipeline protest in North Dakota are only plausible if you ignore history and keep your distance.... READ MORE


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