For far too long one of the only narratives about rural America has read something like this: YOUNG PEOPLE FLEE RURAL AMERICA. There's another story, however, about young people and professionals returning.
I recently read an article discussing how younger, college-educated people are drawn to life in a city. One source pondered, “Why wouldn’t a college grad be drawn by the allure of life in a big city?” He assumes there are few rural opportunities for young people and that nothing can change that.
Have you heard the news? Farmland values continue to escalate at alarming rates. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t catch you by surprise.
The Ag Letter, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, showed a 16 percent increase in farmland values in 2012 for the district. Their district includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Iowa saw the highest increase, a 20 percent gain from Jan 2012 to Jan 2013.
We know by experience that without regulation, unscrupulous operators hurt people and undermine the common good. By cutting corners, they gain an unfair advantage over good farms and businesses that do things right. But regulations designed for big business and cities often don’t fit small enterprises and small communities.
I am no expert on regulation. But I hear a similar refrain across rural America. Policy makers should design alternative approaches for regulating small businesses and places to fit their circumstances, but still protect the public.