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Survival in a Rural Community-Hartington

Last month I looked at four factors that make rural communities able to thrive despite circumstances against them. They are availability of good paying jobs, access to critical services, strong leadership, and a healthy natural environment. The model that I want to start with in this discussion of communities fighting to keep these four areas intact is Hartington, Nebraska.

First, Hartington has established itself as a regional hub for industry, professional, agricultural, and retail services. In terms of retail sales, the measure most often used is called the “pull factor.” This refers to the community’s ability to retain those dollars that are earned within the community.

ACROSS THE NATION

Rural news bits from Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, the Midwest, Illinois, North Carolina, and Kentucky

Wisconsin: They are calling it the brain-drain boomerang. New research shows that although Wisconsin still suffers an overall loss of college-educated residents, the drain is mostly among graduates in their 20s. The state has net gains among college grads in their 30s and 40s. As graduates began to start families, quality of life and strong community begins to outweigh factors that originally drew young adults away from the state. Rural communities stand to benefit from this boomerang effect.

REAP Has an Exceptional Year Lending to Small Rural Businesses

The Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) lending program had an exceptional year in Fiscal Year 2007. REAP, the largest statewide rural small business development program in the nation, placed 52 loans totaling $685,675 over the past 12 months.

This lending is also helping to leverage other funds. REAP helped to leverage over $1.3 million this past year. Historically, the small business development program has “leveraged” loans totaling $8,366,155.

Blogging for Rural America

Get your rural-news-and-views fix in between newsletters online at the Center’s Blog for Rural America. Here is a short excerpt from a recent post:

Asking Price: $50,000,000
We’ve written several times about the money cotton and rice growers receive from the feds. And given those dollar figures, we’ve been thinking it would sure be nice to get our hands on a good-sized cotton and rice farm, sit on the porch, drink some iced tea, and cash checks. Finally, we’ve discovered a suitable chunk of land, and if we could just get a little help with the down payment we should be good to go.

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