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Explore Your Local Trails

(NewsUSA) - Stress -- it's everywhere. But there is an easy form of stress reduction that is as simple as opening your front door. Spending time outside can help improve your physical and mental health, and you don't have to be an extreme athlete to reap the benefits. Studies show that simply going out for a walk in nature can help build strength and endurance, and contribute to feelings of relaxation and resilience. Being active outside has proven benefits for people's minds and bodies. Rail-trails in particular are ideal for individuals of all abilities and fitness levels to safely enjoy the outdoors.

Rail-trails are multipurpose public paths created from former railroad corridor. That means they are flat or gently sloping, have a hard surface that makes them accessible to all types of activities and are available in rural and urban areas. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting communities across America with trails. One way they do this is through promoting the value of time spent outside -- by encouraging people to make "trail moments" a regular part of their lives and sharing these experiences to inspire others to discover the convenience and joy of being active outside on trails. "I feel really lucky to have grown up in Virginia, and now I live in Washington state, with lots of access to these trails, but there are literally thousands of miles of rail-trails all over the country," says Miranda Webster, (@mirandagoesoutside) a longtime outdoor-enthusiast. "So, whether you are mountain biking, hiking, walking your dog, or riding your bike, I hope that you're able to find a trail near you where you can enjoy it as much as I have through my entire life," she says.

Travel blogger Jeff Jenkins (@chubbydiaries_), based in Texas, has taken his wanderlust to local trails in a series of blogs and videos for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. "Now, I'm showing people how to discover their own backyards, from their local cities to national parks, trails and the great outdoors," says Mr. Jenkins, who has also created an online community for plus-sized travelers at chubbydiaries.com. "So often people see trails as a way to get a little outdoor recreation, and yes, that's true," says Ian Mackay (@ians_ride), who regularly enjoys the trails in rural Washington state from his power wheelchair. "But it is so much more for me... having a safe trail space where I can go explore my own interests, interact with the community, and run my own errands is monumental to my happiness," adds Mr. Mackay, who is also the founder of Ian's Ride, a nonprofit organization. This fall, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is taking inspiration from the thousands of stories that people have shared about the personal impact of time spent outside on trails and encouraging people of all ages and abilities to make a habit of it. Their #TrailMoments 21-Day Challenge offers fun activities to encourage people to get out on the trail every day. Visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website for more information and tips on making outdoor time part of your daily routine. www.railstotrails.org/trailmoments and @railstotrails #TrailMoments on social media.

Smart Phone help Farmers Improve Efficiency

(BPT) - A teen tapping away on a smartphone is a common sight in the United States, but seeing a farmer in the field doing the same thing might confuse the average person. Although hands-on farming and hands-on technology might seem like juxtaposing concepts, they are complementary ideas propelling growers into the future. "Without mobile communications, it would take longer and cost more to perform the tasks I do on the farm. There would be more face-to-face interactions, which create inefficiencies," said Grant Morris, who owns and manages Schneider Farms in Pasco, Washington. He farms a total of 2,000 acres and produces grass seed, potatoes, sweet corn and peas for processing. Morris uses apps for many tasks: to view satellite imagery that helps detect crop problems, look up invoices, monitor equipment operations, check fuel levels, buy inputs, transfer data, manage application rates, peruse agronomic recommendations, review sampling and scouting information and more. Morris equips each of his employees with a smartphone or tablet to do many of these tasks, too. Producer Matt Moreland of South Haven, Kansas, is also embracing technology. He uses mobile communications to help him reduce driving time between the sections of Moreland Farms. With 10,000 acres of corn, cotton, soybeans and winter wheat spread over 40 miles, that's significant. "So much of our business is based on spreading the cost of our equipment over many acres; and the more acres we can spread those costs over, the more profitable we can be," said Moreland, who farms with his wife and three sons. "By using mobile apps and other tools, we can manage a greater number of acres." He uses a multitude of apps to help his operation run smoothly, including the Syngenta AgriEdge® whole-farm management program. The program's record-keeping platform enables him to simply and quickly access all of his farm information via mobile communications. "I have all of my fields mapped, so at any given time, I can use my phone to see the exact acres on a field and what's been applied to them, check planting dates and much more," Moreland said. He also uses apps to monitor rainfall and irrigation, an efficiency that saves money and can reduce water usage. "We've installed monitors on the center pivots, so I can use my phone to check water pressure and the speed at which each is moving," Moreland said. "If necessary, I can change the directions they're moving and adjust water amounts with my fingertips. I will get a text, email or call if anything goes wrong - the app gives us that immediate notification and saves us trips to the fields." Morris and Moreland are just two of the many ag professionals who have adopted mobile technology to work more efficiently. "The most significant value created by mobile communications is a return on time invested," said Tommy Jackson, an executive account lead for Syngenta Crop Protection. "Our growers have the ability to make decisions quickly because the information they need is right at their fingertips." Jackson noted the Syngenta Pest Patrol alerts, which provide free and timely agronomic information for ag professionals throughout the South, as another way growers and crop consultants can get information quickly on their mobile devices. You can sign up to receive text messages based on your geography in participating states. When specialists post crop updates, subscribers receive text messages with a link that takes them to a short, recorded commentary on a timely topic. Dominic Reisig, Ph.D., North Carolina State University extension entomologist, is a regular contributor to Pest Patrol. "It's one of the methods I use to get timely updates to farmers and crop consultants during the growing season," he said. "Our extension participants tell us that this is the program they receive the most positive feedback from." Today, farming success often relies on equal parts tradition and technology. Methods that have been curated over many years are now enhanced by technology that delivers vital information about crop yields, pest management and more directly to the farmer. A mobile device has become a go-to tool for many growers nationwide.

Start a small Business

Want to start a business in the country? Want to revive rural communities? Seeking to start a rural business as your first home business, a second stream of income, or an enhancement to a current rural business? Both men and women rural entrepreneurs are living the country dream again. 2009 is a remarkable year for those starting a rural home business or small rural enterprise.

Some of these include full time businesses for rural communities that capitalize on the rural and nature-themed atmosphere, such as the rural B&B, a country folk school, a quilt-making shop, a writers' retreat, or a healing center.

Some folks want to operate them more like additional streams of income that allow country living and rural traditions to become more part of their livelihood. For example, tele-commuting is allowing high-tech business employees to operate from rural settings. But if a spouse or even the whole family wants an additional income that blends country living with small business, they'll create additional multiple streams of rural income that include more traditional rural enterprises like small farming.

Yet others want to enhance the income of a current agricultural operation to add variety and higher revenue, such as the wife of a corn grower who sold fresh produce from her garden, and eventually outsold the corn operation.

No matter which reason for which a new small rural enterprise is chosen, here are two very good ones to consider.

1. The Micro Eco-Farm. These tiny farms can enhance other rural enterprises or stand on their own. They produce substantial amounts of eco-friendly products for local niche markets such as selling fresh fruits and farm-made preserves to local inns. They may stand on their own and be full time, such as the man who grows rare peppers for his farm-produced sauces on less than three acres and from that alone earns what he calls a "white collar income." They may be part time and seasonal such as the summer u-cut flower garden or the fall rare squash patch. They may be part time and year-round, such as the herb grower who makes custom massage oils for local massage therapists. They may enhance other rural home businesses and make those even better, such as the micro eco-farm that grows the products needed for a country B&B, allowing visitors to experience a real farm and fresh-picked eco-friendly foods. Or, a full-time weaver may raise a few angora goats to make prize throws she sells locally and from her own once-a-year barn sale. Her customers know the names of the goats each blanket was made from and word-of-mouth promotion spreads like wildfire.

2. Agritourism, means hosting community and tourists on the farm or country home as a source of revenue. For example, you may want your rural enterprise to mainly be a small farm that grows rare herbs, or blueberries, or rare-breed dairy cows for artisan cheese, or rare-wool sheep for handspinners, or laying hens for local restaurants, or you may want to make candles scented from your own flowers to sell in town and online from your on-farm workshop. For these or most other small farm enterprises, consider adding agritourism as a supplemental income. Give tours to garden clubs, scout groups or elementary students for $5 or more a head. You can earn $500 a day with two tours like this.

The Center for the Micro Eco-Farming Movement at Micro Eco-Farming, offers free how-to articles, stories of successful rural home business and countryside entrepreneurs, and resources for micro eco-farming and agritourism. http://www.MicroEcoFarming.com Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Barbara_Adams/28359 by Barbara Adams

Satellite Internet for Work from Home

(NewsUSA) -The COVID-19 pandemic put the growing trend of working from home on fast-forward. Many people who had never worked from home found themselves scrambling for reliable internet access in order to work, manage distant learning, and participate in virtual social activities. Reliable internet also became a factor in allowing people to manage their health through virtual doctors’ visits, and buy groceries and other items online.Even as the pandemic wanes and more workers return to in-person settings, employers and employees recognize that the workplace model has changed, and the demand for internet service will likely remain high.However, reliable, affordable internet service remains a challenge in many parts of the country, notably in rural areas.Companies such as Viasat have stepped up to connect unserved and underserved areas, and they have optimized their network based on customer needs and overall increased demand. Satellite internet service helps bridge the "digital divide" by providing service in remote areas that fall outside the zones where terrestrial providers are unable to serve.Leading global consumer-technology media brand, CNET, recently named Viasat "best satellite provider" of 2021 for U.S. rural internet service because of its high speed, high data volume, and reasonable prices for Wi-Fi equipment rental costs. Many people living in remote regions before the pandemic, as well as those who moved from urban to rural areas seeking more space in the midst of the pandemic, discovered they can perform their jobs effectively without commuting when connected to reliable and quality internet.In a recent survey conducted by Viasat, users in these remote regions responded that email was the most important internet service they needed to work from home, followed by the ability to make video calls, and satellite internet supports these functions.In addition, many older residents in remote areas have discovered that reliable internet access brings safety and connection with family, friends, and medical care.Moreover, 66% of respondents in these remote regions said that they plan to work from home in the future if given a choice. Satellite internet service makes it possible for residents in remote areas to work and remain productive from home.For more information, visit https://www.viasat.com/home-internet/.