Rural

Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri December 5, 2014

At USDA, Vilsack's Longest-Serving Secretary Since 1969

Tom Vilsack travels all over, but frequently returns to Iowa. He’s shown here in Ames in the summer of 2013 pushing for support of the farm bill.
Amy Mayer/IPR

The U.S. Department of Agriculture touches Americans from the field to the cafeteria, with a bevy of programs that include subsidies for farmers and for school lunches. 

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Ripple Effects
4:38 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Rural Land: Spacious but in High Demand

rural Jasper County, Iowa
Wikimedia Commons

In rural Iowa, it feels like there’s plenty of room, but the land that makes up that seemingly endless wide open space is very much in demand.

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Talk of Iowa
3:50 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Small Towns Spawn Big Ideas

University Press of Kansas

Many of the big ideas that have changed the world have started in small towns.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with John Miller about his new book, Small Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America, we’ll talk about how the place you come from shapes who you are, how small towns have changed over the years and about some remarkable men who came from Midwestern small towns. Then, sociologist Paul Lasley talks about what it means to grow up in a small town today.

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Talk of Iowa
4:37 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

It’s Electric! Rural Electrification in Iowa

The Rural Electrification Administration erects power lines.
Credit National Archives and Records Administration / U.S. Department of Agriculture

When a storm knocks out power for a few hours, it's an inconvenience; if the outage lasts much longer it becomes a crisis.  However, not so long ago electricity was far from ubiquitous in Iowa.

Iowan Kieth Wirt was 10 years old when electricity came to his family’s farm in Panora. Like most households, the first appliance the Wirts purchased was a refrigerator, and soon after indoor plumbing.

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News
5:37 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Propane Prices Hit Rural Towns Hardest

242 people live in the town of Laurel. Nearly all depend on propane to heat their homes and businesses.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

Low propane supplies in the Midwest have driven up the cost of the fuel used by many rural families to heat their homes and businesses—to the point where Senator Chuck Grassley has requested an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren traveled to an area in Central Iowa that depends on propane, and came back with this story. 

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Transportation
3:03 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Legislative Priorities and Roundabouts

Washington State Deptartment of Transportation

This program includes  hearing from one Iowa community that has incorporated new roundabouts aimed at easing traffic flow, and state lawmakers talk about what projects might be in store for the state, and how they might want to fund those projects. A House Republican and a Senate Democrat find agreement on one aspect of the issue: the gas tax.

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Health
10:37 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Health Care Outreach Workers Stretched Thin

Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines is one of the places offering help to Iowans needing help signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Broadlawns Medical Center

Even if the rollout of the federal health law had gone off without a technical hitch, getting millions of Americans to sign up for insurance would still be a tall order. That’s why the law includes funding for workers trained to help people find their way around the new system. But in rural states like Iowa, with populations spread across hundreds of miles, those workers face an especially daunting challenge.

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Talk of Iowa
3:45 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Rural Iowa Women in the 1920s

Vetra, left, and sister Reva Padget, appear ready for a trip to town, circa 1930. Courtesy of Leon Wilkinson.

Before the Great Depression there was the farm recession, and times were tough for farm families in Iowa. This hour, we focus on the lives of rural Iowa women in the early twentieth century.

Host Charity Nebbe talks with author Chris Baker about his grandmother, growing up in rural Davis County in the 1920s. Baker recently published a book including journal entries detailing her life. And, historians Dorothy Schwieder and Katherine Jellison help us understand the times.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:28 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Rural Post Offices in Crisis

The post office in Nilwood, Ill., serves as an informal community center.
Credit Bill Wheelhouse / Harvest Public Media

It’s mid-morning on a bleak March day in Nilwood, Ill. And every 10 minutes or so, a car or truck pulls into the gravel parking lot in front of the south-central Illinois town’s post office.   

Rush hour.

Because there is no mail delivery here, the town’s 236 residents must stop in to the post office to stay connected. Staffed by one full-time postmaster and one relief person, this office provides mail service six days a week.    As in many rural communities across the country, the post office serves as an informal community center.

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River to River
1:15 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Healthcare in Rural Iowa

Iowa Rural Health Assocation logo
Iowa Rural Health Assocation website

At times, people living in rural Iowa struggle for access to medical specialists. The nearest pediatrician or cardiologist may be hours from a patient's home. River to River examines the state of rural health care in Iowa and now that health care is the law of the land, how will health care change in Iowa?

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
7:16 am
Wed August 8, 2012

My Farm Roots: Nolan Strawder

Despite working full time as a mechanical engineer, 25-year-old Nolan Strawder is rehabbing his family's farm in his spare time.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

This is the fifth installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

When a guy is a mechanical engineer at a nuclear power plant, you figure he puts in a pretty good day of work.

Not so for Nolan Strawder, whose day job, as he calls it, is at the Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant in Burlington, Kan.

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Health
6:36 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Reproductive Health Access a Challenge for Some Rural Iowa Women

Brenda Banker, a Clinton nurse practitioner, makes the drive to Maquoketa once a week to provide reproductive health care to women and men in the area.
Clare Roth IPR

In recent months, several small-town Iowa reproductive health care clinics have closed. And now, more may be in danger. Bills introduced this month in Congress threaten to cut Title X funding, which provides for reproductive health care across the nation, and supplies it to places with few other options like rural Iowa.

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
7:43 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Bridging the Gap Between Rural, Urban Ag

Urban-Ag Academy Facebook

In the Iowa Statehouse, and in statehouses across the nation, representatives are finding themselves separated—not by party lines, but by whether they come from an urban or rural district.  This weekend, the first national Urban Ag Academy was held in Des Moines. The goal? To look at that divide and to give a voice to minority farmers.

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
7:43 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Bridging the Gap Between Rural, Urban Ag

Urban-Ag Academy Facebook

In the Iowa Statehouse, and in statehouses across the nation, representatives are finding themselves separated—not by party lines, but by whether they come from an urban or rural district.  This weekend, the first Urban Ag Academy was held in Des Moines. The goal? To look at that divide and to give a voice to minority farmers. More than sixty state representatives from across the country came together to in an effort to help bridge the divide between city and country. 

Health
8:21 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Counties offer split opinions on Mental Health Redesign

Daniela Hartmann flickr

July 1 is a big date for mental health care in Iowa—that’s the day funding switches over to a redesigned model. The legislature approved a plan to equalize mental health care funding for low income residents across the state.  Some counties are crying foul, saying programs will be gutted. But other’s say the change they say finally gives all counties a level playing field.