News

COVID-19: Comparing apples and oranges

When taking population into account, the rate of COVID-19 cases is just as high, if not higher, in counties outside of the seven-county metro. By Kelly Asche May, 2020 Counties outside of the seven-county metro have some of the highest COVID-19 case rates in the state. But this so far hasn’t translated into a similarly ...
doctors in surgery

Rural health care preview, part 5: A case for change

By Kelly Asche A citizen protest reveals the need for a policy change Before the COVID-19 crisis began, the Center for Rural Policy and Development was gathering information and analyzing the impacts mergers and acquisitions among health care providers have been having on access in rural areas. We were a few weeks away from releasing ...
buying apples at farmers market

Keeping farmers markets safe this summer

MN Department of Ag is offering a cost-share program to help eligible farmers markets keep things safe and sanitized School sports are canceled and it doesn’t look good for professional sports, concerts or other summer fun. Even the Great Minnesota Get-Together is at risk of being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What’s left? Well, ...
Rainbow over town

Extension offering webinars for small businesses, leaders

University of Minnesota’s Extension service is offering up several different series of webinars for Minnesota business owners and leaders to help them get their rural communities through the pandemic. These webinars aimed at tourism, small businesses and community leaders are free and each session is only 30 minutes long. Minnesota’s Extension service is packed with ...
doctor sitting in a hallway

Rural health care preview, part 4: Controlling health care costs on the hospital side

By Kelly Asche State legislators are increasingly looking at controlling health care costs by regulating hospitals, which could increase consolidations of services even more. Before the COVID-19 crisis began, the Center for Rural Policy and Development was gathering information and analyzing the impacts mergers and acquisitions among health care providers have been having on access ...
heart monitor in operating room

Rural health care preview, part 3: What do we mean by “access”?

By Kelly Asche Before the COVID-19 crisis began, the Center for Rural Policy and Development was gathering information and analyzing the impacts mergers and acquisitions among health care providers have been having on access in rural areas. We were a few weeks away from releasing a report before the pandemic threw everyone’s lives upside down. ...
open sign

Identifying counties most at risk economically

Our guest blogger today is Brigid Tuck, Senior Economic Impact Analyst for the University of Minnesota Extension. The U of MN Extension has been doing in-depth analysis and developing resources to help businesses, leaders, and community members get through this challenging time. The post below is an extension of a fact sheet provided by U ...

Health care industry is a major employer in rural Minnesota

By Kelly Asche April, 2020 Many industries across Minnesota are being impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. Unemployment is at historical highs. Among all the policies being passed, a top priority has been creating new programs to support the recently unemployed. Soon, however, leaders will begin pivoting their attention from emergency measures to developing policies and ...
Be a hero. Give blood.

Cookies for blood? I’m in.

By Julie Tesch I grew up in a small farming community that took community pride for the greater good seriously.  Like many towns, then and now, we would hold a blood drive three or four times a year at a church or the community center.  When I was a child, I would sometimes help out ...

Rural health care post-pandemic: Part 1 – Declining revenue for rural hospitals

Rural hospitals are waging war on declining revenues on two fronts: the shift in payment philosophy and the lack of patients during the pandemic. By Kelly Asche Before the COVID-19 crisis began, the Center for Rural Policy and Development was gathering information and analyzing the impacts mergers and acquisitions among health care providers have been ...
cornfield

Impact of Minnesota’s farm economy on Greater Minnesota

April 2020 By Kelly Asche, Research Associate & Marnie Werner, VP Research Note to readers: We were just getting ready to release this report when the COVID-19 pandemic showed up on Minnesota’s doorstep and everything changed. We believe the findings of our report still hold true since they review the past trends, but we have ...
phone that says podcast on the screen

Resiliency in a time of pandemic

By Julie Tesch What a time to launch a podcast.  Little did we know that when we debuted our new podcast, Center of Everywhere, in March that we would be stepping into an unprecedented time with a global pandemic. The original goal of our podcast was to share our research on rural Minnesota and talk ...

Connecting the unemployed to employment during COVID-19

By Kelly Asche Only a month ago, the primary focus for workforce development organizations in rural Minnesota was to implement strategies that recruited and retained workers in their regions. Their doors were being blown open by businesses in desperate need for employees. We conducted research on this topic and designated this as the number one ...

When creativity pays off big: Big Stone County

By Kelly Asche Last week we highlighted programs communities have developed to help their small businesses during the pandemic crisis. One of those programs, a campaign put on by the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, turned out to be highly successful. We thought it deserved its own post. The Big Stone Lake Area ...
woman at shop door, open sign

Small businesses: Need help now? Look locally

By Kelly Asche A number of programs have been released over the last few weeks to support our small businesses. As can be imagined, the need has been enormous and right now the turn-around times to answering clarifying questions and processing applications can take a bit longer than some small businesses have time for. This ...
who when where how why what

A rural county’s response to a global pandemic

By Sue Grafstrom, CRPD board member How does a small rural community respond to a global pandemic? My name is Sue Grafstrom, and that’s the question I have to answer. For the past two years I have been concurrently the Roseau County Emergency Manager and the Minnesota Department of Health’s Public Health Preparedness Consultant for ...
woman holding hand sanitizer

Rural hospitals are ready, but people need to do their part, too

By Marnie Werner We’ve been hearing the stories in the last two weeks about rural hospitals, the lack of intensive care unit beds, and questions as to whether they’re prepared or not for the COVID-19 outbreak at our doorstep. So we decided to go to an expert, CRPD board member Santo Cruz, who is also ...
canoes on a lake with trees

Where to wait it out?

By Kelly Asche As more tests are being given, indications are that the spread of the coronavirus causing the COVID-19 disease is occurring throughout all of Minnesota, including in rural places. A recent analysis has even indicated that rural recreational counties in some states have become a hotbed of the virus in the United States. The ...
man holding box of food

Stocking up

By Marnie Werner During these days of social distancing and #StayHomeMN, just going to the grocery store can be a daunting task for many among us. But as COVID-19 spreads, communities are also concerned about how to help people who can’t or shouldn’t go out, people who may already be sick and recovering at home, ...
Main Street in a small town

Relief for employers and employees

By Marnie Werner & Kelly Asche While it’s a relief to see something of a time frame on this epidemic, for many businesses, like restaurants and bars, salons, and their employees, end dates weeks out only indicate how much longer they need to be closed. It’s a tough blow, especially in rural areas where it ...
canoes on a lake with trees

Why we’re watching the impact on the recreation industry up north

By Kelly Asche Last week, Governor Walz made the difficult but necessary decision to order all bars and restaurants across the state closed in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 even though it hasn’t reached all counties yet. But even though COVID-19 isn’t in your county yet, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking ...

Worried yet? You should be

By Marnie Werner & Kelly Asche In the movies, you can always tell who the “red shirt” is—the guy brought along by the hero and his or her gang for the sole purpose of being the dinosaur’s first victim. He’s the happy-go-lucky guy who scoffs as they peer into the creepy dark cave and says ...
row of small town buildings

Adapting

By Julie Tesch, President & CEO If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times by now: “We are living in unprecedented times.” In the blink of an eye, COVID-19 is rocking the economic and healthcare landscapes of our country. We don’t know what the future holds or what to do about it, ...
What is rural? Farm, cows, grain.

What is Rural?

  We asked the all-important question, “What is rural?” The first in our new set of videos on rural issues and research provides the answer! 

Brainerd Dispatch: Distance learning highlights broadband inequity

EXCERPT: “If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has done consistently, it has been to highlight weaknesses in various areas, whether that be hospital supplies, food processing businesses or, more locally, broadband access. There have been warnings about all of these weaknesses for years. Local governments and chambers of commerce, for example, have been brainstorming ...