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Author:Akers, Maria 

Journal Article
Will energy markets refuel the rural economy?
The rural economy began 2006 facing an uncertain outlook. For two years, rural growth had been unusually strong. But rising energy prices threatened to stall the expansion. Many businesses had already been weakened by high input costs, and many households were feeling squeezed by higher costs for gas and heating fuel. As the year progressed, however, some rural communities were able to harness the power of high energy prices by taking part in its production. ; Energy activity helped boost the fortunes of many rural places, but the rural economy as a whole slowed in 2006. Nonfarm economic growth moderated as production costs increased and construction activity cooled. Farm incomes also declined as severe drought limited production and higher energy prices cut profits. Still, rising crop prices fueled by ethanol production kindled optimism for new economic engines in rural America. ; Henderson and Akers review the state of the rural economy. First, they discuss the slower, but steadier, expansion on Main Streets. Then they examine the health of the farm economy. Finally, they explore rural prospects for 2007 and discuss the influences of robust energy activity on the rural economy.
AUTHORS: Akers, Maria; Henderson, Jason
DATE: 2007

Journal Article
Can markets improve water allocation in rural America?
Water, one of the most fundamental resources for economic activity, covers about three-fourths of the earth?s surface--but only 2.5 percent of that amount is considered fresh water. While freshwater supplies in the United States are relatively abundant, increasing demand and drought, especially in the Great Plains, have left some states wondering whether there is enough fresh water to go around. ; The drive for greater efficiency in the use of water has led to the emergence of water markets. These markets allow for the equitable transfer of water rights from lower-value agricultural uses to higher-value uses, such as for emerging industries and growing municipalities. Many rural communities, though, view water markets as a threat to their economic foundation and future growth. ; Henderson and Akers examine how water markets affect both water right holders and their rural communities. They conclude that other mechanisms, in combination with water markets, may be needed to improve the efficiency of water allocation and compensate rural communities for lost economic activity.
AUTHORS: Henderson, Jason; Akers, Maria
DATE: 2008

Journal Article
Recession catches rural America
As the recession intensified in 2008, rural economies held firm. Through the first half of the year, strong commodity prices supported robust farm incomes and contributed to relatively stronger gains on Main Street. Moreover, the housing correction was less intense than in urban areas, and the financial crisis was less severe than on Wall Street. ; While these factors shielded the rural economy from the worst of the recession, rural America was not immune. The foundations of rural economic strength in 2008--high commodity prices, robust export activity, and rising ethanol demand--were crumbling. Consequently, the booming farm economy began to slow, and, following national trends, the nonfarm economy continued to falter. ; Henderson and Akers review the state of the rural economy and explore how the recession could affect the rural economy in 2009. They suggest that a rural rebound will rest on whether the fiscal and monetary stimulus packages spark demand for rural goods and services.
AUTHORS: Akers, Maria; Henderson, Jason
DATE: 2009

Journal Article
Will rural prosperity prevail in 2008?
The rural economy was strong in 2007. Record farm incomes were fueled by rising ethanol demand and by stronger export demand, which was driven in part by a weaker dollar. Farmers used the year?s higher profits both to strengthen their financial conditions and to boost investment in land and equipment. Meanwhile, businesses on Main Streets reaped benefits from the higher farm spending, and the fortunes of energy-dependent regions brightened with higher energy prices. ; As the year progressed, however, the outlook for the rural economy began to dim. Following national trends near the end of the year, Main Street activity waned. The higher costs for gas and heating fuel pinched rural household budgets. And, despite robust outlooks for ethanol production and exports, rising energy costs began to trim profit margins for farm and nonfarm businesses alike.
AUTHORS: Akers, Maria; Henderson, Jason
DATE: 2008

Journal Article
Coming home to rural America: demographic shifts in the Tenth District
Sweeping demographic shifts are challenging the growth of many rural communities in the Tenth District. The retirement of the baby boomers, coupled with the exodus of young adults, threatens to leave rural areas with a rapidly aging population and a shrinking local workforce. The strength of these demographic changes could hinder economic growth for many rural communities in the future. ; Rural communities in the district, however, are quietly enjoying another demographic shift?a return of middle-aged residents to rural places. This shift may be a promising sign for economic growth and wealth generation. Rural areas, of course, must continue to face the challenges of an aging population and the loss of young adults. But the in-migration of middle-aged residents and their families could raise a new question for economic development. Instead of simply trying to stem the tide of young adult out-migration, should rural areas focus more on the recent trend of middle-aged families coming home to rural America? ; Henderson and Akers discuss the economic implications of aging populations and migration patterns on rural Tenth District communities. They find that while rural communities in the Tenth District will struggle with aging populations and the loss of young adults, enhancing quality-of-life amenities appear to be a way for rural communities to benefit from the return of middle-aged families.
AUTHORS: Henderson, Jason; Akers, Maria
DATE: 2009

Journal Article
Can rising exports sustain the farm boom?
AUTHORS: Akers, Maria; Henderson, Jason
DATE: 2008

Journal Article
A rural rebound in 2010
In 2010, rural America was at the forefront of the economic recovery. As sluggish job growth reined in the U.S. economy, rural firms harnessed stronger global commodity demand and raced ahead of their metro peers. In fact, rural job growth sped up in the second half of the year with jobs stretching 2 percent above year-ago levels in the third quarter, outpacing metro gains. In addition, rising exports of farm commodities and manufactured goods spurred job and income gains in rural communities, fueling optimism for economic prospects in 2011.
AUTHORS: Akers, Maria; Henderson, Jason
DATE: 2010

Journal Article
Will high farmland values hold?
AUTHORS: Henderson, Jason; Akers, Maria
DATE: 2009

Journal Article
Financial challenges facing farm enterprises
AUTHORS: Henderson, Jason; Akers, Maria
DATE: 2010

Journal Article
Commodities underpin rural economic growth
AUTHORS: Akers, Maria; Henderson, Jason
DATE: 2012

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