agriculture * food * energy * environment
President-elect Barack Obama plans to appoint former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU).
NFU President Tom Buis said Gov. Vilsack is a great choice.
“I look forward to working with him,” Buis said. “Being from Iowa, Gov. Vilsack has an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist in rural America.”
Buis said rural America is facing many challenges – “…the farm and rural economy have changed dramatically for the worst over the last few months as a result of the worldwide economic recession, the rules for the 2008 Farm Bill have not been finalized nor implemented, more people are seeking food assistance, and commodity prices have fallen dramatically while farmer input costs remain high.”
“While rural America faces many challenges, President-elect Obama has prioritized numerous opportunities, including reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil by advancing the development of renewable energy,” Buis said. “Not only will this help our nation, it will help revitalize our rural communities. Wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, cellulosic, will all be produced in rural America.
“President-elect Obama’s rural vision is right on target.”
Looking for the magic elixir that will reduce your risk of developing a chronic disease and will also elevate your sense of well-being? Look no further than your own two legs. A simple daily walk will help you reduce stress, elevate your mood and lower your risks for heart disease, stroke and Type 2 Diabetes.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, doing at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity on top of your usual activity, on most days of the week, will reduce your risk for chronic disease. The website http://www.healthierus.gov contains information outlining the benefits of regular physical activity as well as guidance on how to incorporate more physical activity in your daily routine. The 30 minutes of exercise can be accomplished in shorter increments, such as 10 minutes three times each day.
Many people also report that a regular program of physical activity leads to reduced stress and an elevated mood. Some studies suggest that increased physical activity can reduce the symptoms of mild anxiety or depression. During these cold, dark months in Minnesota, a program of physical activity such as a regular daily walk can lead to a happier, more productive winter.
Walking is one of the simplest, least expensive and most effective ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine. Comfortable sturdy shoes with a nonslip tread and weather-appropriate clothing is all you need to begin a walking program. Give yourself the gift of 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes during lunch or in the afternoon, and 10 minutes in the evening; or, choose one 30-minute time during the day to get out for a walk. Walk at a brisk but comfortable pace – you should be able to carry on a conversation without becoming breathless.
Although there are great benefits to walking outdoors each day, Minnesota winters can present a barrier to your good intentions. To reduce the risk of injury, particularly from snow and ice, investigate indoor options in your neighborhood for walking on a flat, level surface. Is there a shopping mall nearby? Does your local school offer times during the day for community members to walk the halls? Will your local grocery store allow you to walk the aisles?
Take a few minutes each day, scout out several routes for safety and variety, and get walking. You’ll feel better for it.
During hard economic times many consumers may run out of money before the next payday. When this happens some people turn to payday loans.
Eileen St. Pierre, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension personal finance specialist, said a payday loan is a small, short-term loan used to cover a borrower’s expenses until his or her next payday.
“Payday loans are normally due every week or every other week,” St. Pierre said. “With these loans borrowers get into financial trouble and it usually seems other debts like credit cards or mortgages tend to be ignored.”
Research found payday loan applicants who received the quick cash after their first application were significantly more likely to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy than those whose initial application was denied.
Furthermore, research indicated payday loans coupled with interest payments may be sufficient to tip the balance into bankruptcy for a population that is already severely financially stressed.
“Let’s say you take out a $100 payday loan for seven days. You are charged a $25 fee for this. You may not realize, but the $25 is a form of interest,” St. Pierre said. “So when you get your paycheck at the end of the week, you need to pay back $125. Pay off this loan and never return!”
However, many who take out payday loans do return in need of cash.
“Each week, people end up taking out another $100 loan. If the cycle continues for each successive week the annual interest rate on this would be 1,303.57 percent,” she said. “Payday loan providers are required to provide information to consumers on payday loans, this information can be found at mypaydayloan.com.”
St. Pierre offers these tips to increase emergency savings and reduce the need for payday loans:
“You can also see if there are programs offered by your church or local community that can help you during this difficult time and help you manage your finances,” she said.