The Center is moving into its second full year of convening and facilitating the Rural Development Innovation Group, a network of rural development practitioners from across the country committed to highlighting inspiring examples of innovation in rural America, enhancing federal policy related to rural development, and engaging national philanthropic leaders to invest strategically in rural places.

We're thrilled that in December 2017, the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities committed funding to help sustain this effort for two more years!

The Rural Development Innovation Group, led by the Center, is talking with staff from multiple congressional offices, committees, and agencies to provide advice and insight on ways to improve rural development programs authorized through the upcoming Farm Bill.

The 2018 Farm Bill, the massive omnibus legislation that touches nearly every American—on a farm, in the forest, in the grocery store, in lower-income urban communities—is making its way through Congress. The Center is providing direct input into the Rural Development title of the Farm Bill through our work with the Rural Development Innovation Group—a national collaboration of organizations focused in improving policies and programs that impact rural places.
 
Joe at Rural Senate Summit with Sen Shaheen 9.2017In September, the group hosted a briefing to the US Senate Agriculture Committee staff, attended by representatives from 22 Senate offices. In the briefing and subsequent in conversations with congressional staff, we highlighted beneficial Rural Development programs currently slated for elimination in the President’s budget. We also suggested ways to improve the effectiveness of those programs. Drafts of these recommendations are available by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

President Obama signed into law the 2014 Farm Bill on February 7, 2014. The new law provides many important authorizations for rural development, energy, forestry, and conservation programs that serve the Northern Forest. This is a significant step forward after Congress delayed passing a Farm Bill for two years. Congratulations to all the advocates and partners that worked hard to make sure a collective voice for the Northern Forest was heard in the process.  Some provisions of note:

Over 200 people and organizations joined The Northern Forest Center and Sustainable Northwest on our letter to President Obama and leaders of Congress to establish to craft and support national energy policies that promote woody biomass thermal energy markets.