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Rural Matters

Jun 30, 2020

In Part IV of our four-part series on rural economic and community development, produced in collaboration with and supported by the Thomas USAF Group, Michelle chats with Matt Dunne, Founder and Executive Director of the Center on Rural Innovation and Anna Johnson, who has led the agricultural policy portfolio at the Center for Rural Affairs for almost four years. Dunne discusses how the Center on Rural Innovation’s Action Tank enables rural communities and entrepreneurs to create digital economy ecosystems that build jobs for the future, including those involving coding and software. Johnson describes how the Center for Rural Affairs does small business lending and community inclusion work in Nebraska, as well as farm bill advocacy and agricultural policy development. Dunne discusses how the Center on Rural Innovation’s mapping program addresses the rural economic gap that developed after the economic crisis of 2008 by enabling policymakers to determine broadband needs, identify health care gaps, and locate valuable resources, such as nearby colleges and universiti4es. Recently, Dunne notes, the Center helped provide a Health Preparedness Index that enables decision-makers to determine where a community could be overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson also talks about the work her organization does with farmers and the how small farmers have been impacted by the lack of broadband access. This episode is sponsored by Thomas USAF Group,