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, January 03, 2007

#6 Reason Rural Community Development is Hard to Do

Lack of Resources and Capacity

by Michael Holton, Center for Rural Affairs,

-- editors note, this is the sixth is a top ten list of reasons why rural community development is hard to do by Michael Holton that ran in the December 2006 Center for Rural Affairs newsletter... john

Due to depopulation, the changing face of agriculture, and dwindling businesses in towns, the ability to find what we need locally has diminished. We are forced to look to outside resource agencies for help and to find the resources we once found locally.

Viewing this in economic terms creates a bleak picture, but not one without hope. Choices become clearer when we understand the realities. We may still need to buy products out of town, and we may need to ask for help from outside agencies. But when we make our own community development choices, we can strengthen the local economy based upon the diversity our choices bring.

Agree? Disagree? Post a comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Again, Woodbury County comes to mind. They are a little unique, a fairly big city surrounded by rural communities and farms and rural places. But, they are also taking advantage of that with their local foods initiative and local food buying by institutions, etc. As Michael said, making their own community development decisions and strengthening their local economies.

    Whiting, Iowa

  • At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We should look outside our communities at public policies that are driving the depopulation, changing face of agriculture and dwindling businesses in and around our towns. Michael's previous comments about globalization could lead one to draw the conclusion that we have no voice and no choice in the "external" forces. That is not true. Many of the challenges faced by rural communities are the result of choices that are made by our elected officials in Washington and Lincoln. Rural people need to stand up and let our elected officials know that we want them to make choices that stop or reverse those trends. The best help we will get from the "outside" are changes to the policies that drive depopulation and chronic decline of economic opportunity in rural America.

  • At 1:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What policies? Don't you think that what is happening to rural communities has to do with a lot more than what laws get passed?

  • At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    and state policies that force rural schools to consolidate

  • At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    like farm program that subsidizes big farms and drives family farmers out of farming and makes land too expensive for young people to buy land and starting farming

  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger Center for Rural Affairs said…

    editor's note - The comment posted at 3:50 (the last comment) should have appeared this morning at 9:45 (before the comment about school consolidation) but, for some reason, it would not publish. I have copied that comment and republished it above. thanks, john

  • At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And don't forget about economic development programs that sudsidize low wage rural jobs!

  • At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    as well as changing all of the damn anti-corporate farming laws so family farm livestock producers get their clocks cleaned by big, vertically integrated and horizontal consolidated mega livestock production companies.


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