In addition to finding workers, many challenges continue to perplex small dairy farmers in Minnesota: an unusually wet growing season, competition from large-scale dairy operations, changing consumer habits and, perhaps most significantly, volatile milk prices.
The recent sanctuary declaration by the ELCA, the largest Lutheran denomination in the country and one of the most visible church bodies in Minnesota, has, predictably, drawn different responses.
“We have gotten the message that the answer (to fewer foster care cases) is prevention,” said Nikki Farago, the assistant commissioner of Children and Family Services at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Traci Tapani of Wyoming Machine says the cost of not being able to fill open positions is much higher than the cost of investing in strategies that can help workers keep their jobs. And she said taking some risks has “produced some great employees.”
Five years ago, after renovating a horse barn, adding a kitchen to it, clearing a pasture in back and building a music stage, Emily Knudsen and Bill Bartz opened Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm.
During the 2016-2017 school year, about 25,000 students open-enrolled into “rural” districts, a recent study found, while about 15,000 students open-enrolled into “regional centers.”
New osteopathic schools, or branches of existing ones, have opened in 16 states in the past five years, according to the American Osteopathic Association.
International Falls will get an increase of $153,000, which it uses it for essential services like paying police officers and funding the public works department. In Mower County, an increase of about $255,000 will go into the county’s general fund.
Willmar and other Minnesota towns want to attract professionals, young families and others who might be looking for an alternative to the suburbs.
The Minnesota Equity Blueprint is an ambitious set of policy ideas aimed at addressing some overlapping problems in rural and urban areas.
The decision to expand in Thief River Falls heartened the town of 8,600, whose identity has become increasingly tied to the fortunes of the growing company.
“We want to make sure that if and when that growth hits us that we are prepared for it,” said Beth Carlson, the mayor of Lewiston.
Such micro-branding efforts have roots in what marketers call “place branding” – efforts by regions or states to create a unique sense of place.
When the Legislature begins its work Jan. 8, a battery of lobbyists for Greater Minnesota interests will be there, arguing for a variety of proposals that they believe will boost the rural economy.
About 11,000 children in southwestern Minnesota live in poverty, according to 2015 data. That’s one in six children.
Northern Community Radio, which went on the air in 1976, is an independent affiliate of National Public Radio.
The sector includes companies that make everything from massive conveyor belts to radiators and air coolers to replacement parts for machines that crush ore to special tools used by miners.
The project began with a question: How could rural grocers offer more of the fresh produce that is grown in the farm fields all around them?
“We are just scratching the surface of what’s needed in terms of rehab,” said Dale Slagter, Kandiyohi County’s housing rehabilitation manager. “There is a lot of need out here.”
Rural distilleries provide a case study in the latest thinking about econmic development in small towns, one that uses a multi-faceted approach to build economies on local strengths.