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February 8, 2019



The webinar Think Global, Eat Local, at Noon (CST) on Thursday, February 21, will highlight Illinois Extension programming designed to assist community leaders and others in addressing food access. UI Extension Educators Pam Schallhorn (Community and Economic Development), Dr. Laurie George (Small Farms / Local Foods), Liz Miller (4-H Youth Development), and Ashley Hoffman (SNAP-Ed) will explain how participants can improve food access through community gardens, mobile markets, food banks and more. The presenters will discuss food insecurity, planning a community food project, sustainability through fundraising, and how to involve volunteers and youth. Participants will also learn about healthier food options and an improved quality of life while encouraging community engagement and environmental sustainability. Register Here.




It even looks cold from space! In this natural-color satellite image, acquired by NASA’s Terra satellite on January 27, 2019, cloud streets and lake-effect snow stretch across the scene, as frigid Arctic winds blew over the U.S. Great Lakes. Read more at NASA Earth Observatory.



After peaking in 2013, U.S. net farm income has trended lower over the last five years. While national-level data are important and often cited, the impacts of the farm economy slow-down have varied by commodity and geography. In addition to the national-level net farm income data, the USDA’s ERS also publishes state-level estimates of net farm income. These data, however, are often a year behind. The most current state-level data are 2017. Recent state-level net farm income (the average of 2016 and 2017) was compared to the boom era (the average of 2011 to 2013). At the national level, net farm income has declined 42% across these two periods. As expected, the Corn Belt and Northern Plains states have been hard-hit by falling farm income (Figure 1). The I-States (Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana) have experienced net farm income falling by nearly two-thirds. On the boundaries of the Corn Belt, state-level farm income has fallen by more than 70% in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan. Outside of the Midwest, the farm economy slowdown has been, generally speaking, less severe. Many states in the South and West have experienced farm income changes of less than -50%. The expectations are South Carolina (-66%), Louisiana (-51%), and Nevada (-94%).  On the other hand, some states have not experienced farm income declines. Arizona (+20%), Alabama (+10%) and Oregon (unchanged) have not experienced state-level farm income declines for the years considered.



According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, improving the economy (70% top priority) remains among the public’s highest priorities, but its prominence has waned significantly in recent years. In 2011, following the Great Recession, 87% called it a top priority. And as public ratings of the employment situation have grown increasingly positive, 50% now say improving the job situation should be a top priority; in each of the previous 10 years, majorities cited jobs as a top priority, including 84% who said this in 2011 and 68% who said this as recently as 2017. Most (67%) continue to say defending the country from future terrorist attacks is a top priority, though this is one of the lowest shares citing the issue since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and far lower than the roughly eight-in-ten who called it a top priority through much of the early to mid-2000s.



February 15 - Governor's Volunteer Service Awards Nomination Deadline

February 21 (Webinar) -Think Global, Eat Local

March 6-7 (Springfield) - 30th Annual Economic Development Conference

March 14 (Webinar) - Developing a Creative Economy

March 21-22 - 2019 Emerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference

May 16 (Belleville) - Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference

June 5 (Springfield) - Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference

July 14-17 (Columbia, MO) - Community Development Society Annual Conference

August 12-15 (Moline) - Midwest Community Development Institute