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November 15, 2019

 

 
 

The 2020 Census will count every person living in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. If you are completing the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020 (Census Day). That means everyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time. You may have questions about how people in some special circumstances are counted on the 2020 Census, including people who move on Census Day, people born on Census Day, military members, and more. Click this link to find out who you should count on your census form.

 

 
 

The American Bankers Association and Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation released a survey of ag lenders on Monday. Among the findings: About 57% of farm borrowers were profitable in 2019, but 82.5% said their profits were declining. Dairy, livestock and grains were seen as the most concerning sectors. According to the report, the agricultural economy and farm income remained stressed in 2019 with limited signs of improvement in 2020. Among the top concerns expressed by lenders are farm income and liquidity, along with tariffs and trade, total leverage, and weather uncertainty. Profitability was weakest in the Cornbelt (55.1%) and Plains (54.8%) regions where commodity prices have seen the most compression over the last three years. Fewer than 10% of respondents expect profitability to increase in the next 12 months, with the majority expecting profitability to continue to fall. More than one-third of respondents reported an increase in requests for alternative energy project financing (36.8%). Whether the investments are for energy cost reduction, environmental preference, or income generation, producers are looking for ways to think differently about energy.

 

 

 
 

Analysts estimate that as many as 300 enclosed US malls are likely to close in the next half decade. These mall sites offer opportunities for redevelopment or reuse. About 1,500 enclosed malls have been built across the US since 1956, when the Southdale Center opened in Edina, Minnesota. About 1,000 are still being used for their original purpose, while about 500 have closed or changed to a different use, according to research by Ellen Dunham-Jones of Georgia Tech. Of the 500, more than half have been, or are proposed to be, redeveloped as mixed-use urban places, or as sports arenas, industrial sites, movie sound stages, data centers, distribution centers, job centers, or housing. About 170 are, or likely will be, re-inhabited: Office space is the number one re-use—ranging from low-wage call centers to incubator high-tech for the likes of Google X and Ford Motor Company—along with educational and medical facilities. A few have become mega-churches. Twenty or so have been replaced by parks or partly “regreened,” including wetland restoration. At least 60 remain vacant with no immediate plans for change and others have been replaced with big box stores or strip malls.

 

 

 
 

As communities and regions across the country address the impacts caused by the downturn in the coal industry, places that are actively pursuing economic diversification opportunities have become better positioned to take on the challenges that lie ahead. Please join us for Ready to Diversify: Lessons Learned from Coal Communities Across the Country, on November 21, at Noon CST with Brett Schwartz, Program Manager for the National Association of Counties (NACo), and Jack Morgan (Associate Director, National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation). During this webinar, learn how rural coal-reliant communities in the West and in Appalachia are setting a new course in a variety of ways, including through workforce development and retraining, entrepreneurship, outdoor recreation, cultural heritage, renewable energy, and more.  Jack Morgan from the National Association of Counties and Brett Schwartz from the NADO Research Foundation have spent the past five years visiting and collaborating with coal-reliant counties and regions as they work to build stronger economies by tapping into local assets and strengths. While every place is unique with its own set of challenges and opportunities, these case studies can serve as inspiration for communities across the country as they explore ways to create a more prosperous future.  There is no cost to attend the webinar. REGISTER HERE.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

November 21 (LGE Webinar) - Ready to Diversify: Lessons Learned from Coal Communities Across the Country

November 20 (Carbondale) - Small Business Innovation Research Workshop

November 25 (Springfield) - Introduction to Industrial Hemp (Extension Workshop)

December 2 (Deadline) - Food Animal Concerns Trust Grant

December 12 (LGE Webinar) - Economic Impact of Plant/Mine Closures & Making the Case for Solar/Wind