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Partnership News
April 18, 2014
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Funding to Train Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of more than $19 million in grants to help train, educate and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of agricultural producers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). “USDA is committed to the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers because they represent the future of agriculture and are the backbone of our rural economy. As the average age of farmers continues to rise, we have no time to lose in getting more new farmers and ranchers established.” said Secretary Vilsack. “Reauthorizing and expanding the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is one of the many resources the 2014 Farm Bill gave us to build America’s agricultural future. Through this program, we can build a diverse next generation of farmers and ranchers.” Applications are due June 12, 2014.

Urbana Tries “Curbanas”

Visitors to downtown Urbana this summer won't be cooped up inside if they don't want to be — city officials will be testing the water with a unique kind of outdoor seating that turns narrow sidewalks into outdoor cafes. They're called "Curbanas." A Curbana is a portable decking system that can be installed in a parallel-parking space. It will be flush to the curb, which extends the amount of space a business has for outdoor seating out front. Fences or other features will separate it from the road, and they'll only be tried out this summer in locations where the speed limit is 30 mph and a bicycle lane provides a buffer. Because they're portable, the Curbanas can be installed in April and removed in October, so customers can sit outside during the nice weather months but the decks won't occupy parking spaces when they are not being used in the winter. "They represent a good opportunity to expand our outdoor seating options at less cost and less risk than permanent expansion of the sidewalk," said Urbana economic development specialist Kate Ferrer. A pre-fabricated Curbana costs about $10,000 per parking space, but Ferrer said the city might be able to build them in-house for substantially less. By comparison, a permanent concrete expansion of the sidewalk could cost about $20,000 per parking space.

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America
View the diversity of challenges and opportunities across America's counties within different types of rural regions and communities. Get statistics on people, jobs, agriculture, and county indicators. Data have been updated to reflect the latest poverty and American Community Survey statistics. 

Rural Implications of the Affordable Care Act Outreach, Education, and Enrollment  Policy brief outlines the opportunities for rural communities to benefit from the Affordable Care Act and discusses the importance of efforts aimed at furthering outreach, education and enrollment in rural areas.

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Statements of opinion in this newsletter are not necessarily endorsed by Rural Partners.