Thursday, June 17, 2021

Podcasts explore how federal rural policy could improve

A new podcast series explores rural policy and how it can be changed for the better. The series is produced by Rural Matters with underwriting and editorial leadership from the Brookings Institution.

Anthony Pipa and Natalie Geismar of the Center for Sustainable Development write: "Through conversations with influential thinkers, practitioners, and policymakers, the series provides a road map for the Biden-Harris administration to reimagine federal policy so that it meets the diverse realities of today’s rural people and places: investing in their leadership and institutions, building on their assets and innovation, and providing their communities an on-ramp for sustained prosperity.

In the first episode, "Reimagining Rural Policy," Brookings Senior Fellow Tony Pipa and Janet Topolsky, executive director of the Aspen Institute's Community Strategies Group, draw from Brookings' "Reimagining Rural Policy" report to provide an overview of federal rural policy, which they describe as fragmented and incoherent, and suggest reforms policymakers should consider.

Episode 2, "Federal Policy to Meet the Diversity of Today's Rural America and Tribal Nations," features rural-development experts discussing how policy can be sensitive to diverse rural and tribal communities. Participants are Gbenga Ajilore, a senior advisor in the Agriculture Department's Rural Development section; Kennedy O'Dell, a senior research and policy associate at the Economic Innovation Group; and Erik Stegman, executive director of Native Americans in Philanthropy.

Episode 3, "Capacity Building as Key to Successful Rural Development," explores how the federal government can jump-start equitable rural prosperity by investing in workforce development and encouraging regional collaboration, as well as how it can better leverage development programs through pandemic relief funding. Speakers are Cheryal Hills, executive director of Region 5 Development Commission in Minnesota, and Rob Riley, president of the Northern Forest Center in New England.

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