rural America


SNAP is a boon to urban and rural economies—and small-town stores may not survive cuts

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

In case you missed it, Congress is in the midst of a pretty major food fight. At the center of it is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is the first line of defense against hunger for more than 21 million American households. Going forward, however, an estimated 2 million people stand to lose SNAP benefits if the farm bill proposal passed by the House Agriculture Committee last month becomes law. The bill’s draconian work requirements and eligibility changes threaten to upend the lives of some of the nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families. But it could also deliver a serious blow to the economic vitality of many rural and small-town communities, in an economic domino effect that often starts at the local grocery store.

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Food Stamps Cuts Could Hit Rural America Hardest

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

On the night of the 2016 presidential election, President-elect Trump walked away with 60 percent of the vote in the nation’s 2,332 rural counties.

In Owsley County, a 200-square-mile patch of eastern Kentucky, Trump’s victory was propelled by a full 80 percent of the vote—an unsurprising outcome, perhaps, for a county seated in a congressional district that has elected and re-elected Republican representative Hal Rogers by similar margins since 1980.

And it might have been equally unsurprising that, when President Trump unveiled his proposed budget for 2019, Rogers was silent on its 10-year $213 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), if not for one thing: nearly half of Owsley County households, and well over a quarter of those in Rogers’ district at large, rely on SNAP to make ends meet.

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Scott Bauer/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Five Ways President Trump Has Failed Rural America in the First 100 Days

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Look out rural America, President Trump has an executive order for you. As the White House looks to create a sense of achievement before its first 100 days is up on Saturday, the President will sign a flurry of new orders this week, including one today “promoting agriculture and rural prosperity in America.” But will it really help struggling farmers and rural economies? That remains to be seen.

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Americans Are Worried about Water Pollution (And They Should Be)

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Apparently the Trump administration hasn’t heard about the latest Gallup poll, which puts Americans’ concerns about water pollution and drinking water at their highest levels since 2001. Why do I say this? Because in addition to rolling back a key Obama-era clean water rule, a leaked EPA memo reveals that the administration intends to slash or eliminate funding for a slew of water programs and initiatives. And while recent and ongoing crises like the one in Flint have highlighted urban drinking water problems, it is also true that rural communities—whose voters helped put President Trump in office—have plenty to worry about. Read more >

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Photo: Ruocaled/flickr

On Thanksgiving, Trump, and Cheap Food

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Just in time for the most delicious holiday of them all, UCS has launched a new video featuring Mark Bittman in the kitchen. He’s cooking up a tasty whole grain dish with fall favorites—savory butternut squash, fresh cranberries, whole grains, and a touch of maple syrup—and talking about the sorry state of the US food system, and why our new president needs to take action to fix it.

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