Monday, October 26, 2015

U.S. future lies in strength of rural communities, Buffets say at Rural Futures Conference

The future of America "lies in the strength of its rural communities," Howard G. Buffett and Howard W. Buffett said on Wednesday during the Rural Futures Conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Chris Dunker reports for the Lincoln Star Journal. "To kick off the fifth season of the Heuermann Lecture Series, which focuses on food, water and agriculture, the Buffetts said their philanthropic efforts around the world have highlighted the need to develop strong rural communities back home." (Associated Press photo: Howard G. Buffett)

"Howard G. Buffett, son of Omaha investor Warren Buffett, works through his foundation to solve problems related to hunger and security in areas of conflict," Dunker writes. "He said the challenges faced in rural communities will require long-term planning and implementation. His son, Howard W. Buffett, is a lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Columbia University in New York in international and public affairs, philanthropy and food and agricultural policy." They co-wrote a book, “Finding Hope: Pioneering Your Own 40 Chances” that consists "of a series of vignettes about inspiring people who make a difference in the world and the processes of philanthropy in underdeveloped areas."

Howard "said the sense of community found in rural areas is universal—neighbors step up to help neighbors, community members lend a helping hand to others—and that creates a 'sense of family that necessarily doesn’t exist in a lot of urban neighborhoods,'" Dunker writes. “We spent countless numbers of days and hours with farmers all over the world learning about their challenges and their hopes,” Howard said. “The one thing that always seemed so interesting about coming back was really having that feeling or sense of community of being out in the agricultural operations.” He said "those traits will continue to make rural America stand out in the years to come."

Howard, who called the conference and others like it "probably the most important thing happening in America today," said, "We built this country from rural America up. If there’s one thing in America that I have watched for the last 30 years with a really disappointing view . . . we have allowed rural America to slip . . . The political game is stacked against us in many ways in Washington, so when I say this is one of the most important things happening in America, I’m serious. Rural America has to survive and stay strong, and it’s the people sitting in this room and coming to this conference who are going to do this. No one is going to do it for us.” (Read more)

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