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March 17, 2017
Congratulations to those who were elected to the Board of Directors of Rural Partners at the annual meeting of the membership on March 8. Elected to serve three year terms:
Chris Merrett, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Western Illinois University
Jerry Townsend, Partners for Rural America
Matt Johnson, Shawnee Communications
Brenda Matherly, Illinois Farm Bureau
Bradley Rightnowar, Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

Waterways are important to farmers, especially in the Midwest. That’s how farmers transport grain to places across the globe. But many of the structures along our waterways are outdated and crumbling after going decades without improvement. The Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) is a long-term program of navigation improvements and ecological restoration for the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS) that will be implemented incrementally over a 50-year period through integrated, adaptive management.
The Heartland Alliance issued its Illinois Poverty Report 2017, Cycle of Risk. The report provides a snapshot of the state of poverty in Illinois, with a focus on violence. Poverty and violence often intersect, feed one another, and share root causes. Neighborhoods with high levels of violence are also characterized by high levels of poverty, lack of adequate public services and educational opportunity, poorer health outcomes, asset and income inequality, and more. The underlying socioeconomic conditions in these neighborhoods perpetuate both violence and poverty.

March 29 - Illinois Farmers Market Assn. Annual Statewide Conference, Chicago, IL
March 31 - Rural Business Development Grant deadline
April 6 - Local Food Lobby Day, Springfield, IL
June 11-14, 2017 Community Development Society Conference, Big Sky, MT
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