Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Solutions from Within

Solutions from Within

By John Crabtree,

Solutions to rural America’s challenges will come from rural communities; not from Washington and Wall Street.

Then why does the Center for Rural Affairs speak out about federal investment in rural America?

Because there will be another farm bill, commodity program, rural development title and continued debate about the future of rural America. Therefore, it is crucial that the next farm bill support what works in rural communities.

Rural Americans know that some things work and some do not. Rural folks tell me about local efforts that are making a real difference and creating economic opportunity.

Unlimited farm program payments artificially inflate land costs and effectively bar beginning farmers and ranchers from getting started. Economic development programs squander resources on industrial recruitment; subsidizing large, established corporations that have no need for assistance. Recruited industries often undermine local efforts by using their size and market power to drive out rural mainstreet businesses.

The Center has called for an historic commitment to rural entrepreneurship, agricultural innovation and asset-based development in the next farm bill. This is not a “feel-good” commitment to locally owned businesses, farms and ranches. In the rural Midwest and Great Plains, nearly 70 percent of job growth in the 1990s came from people starting small businesses. In other words, microenterprise development is the heaviest hitter in the rural development lineup.

The intellect, work ethic, perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit of rural Americans are our greatest assets and the reason we know rural challenges will be met, and overcome, from within.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 12:40 PM, Blogger Becky McCray said…

    Amen! Thank you, John, for explaining very succinctly why the Farm Bill matters to rural small business people.

  • At 11:08 PM, Blogger Center for Rural Affairs said…

    Becky, thank you so much for your comments. BTW, I love Small Biz Survival. Perhaps you would be interested in some cross posting? Sort of a guest blogger kind of thing.
    John Crabtree
    Center for Rural Affairs
    Values. Worth. Action.


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