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Rural economic development is a strategy that is aimed at utilizing various strategies to create and maintain a viable level of economic security within a region that is considered to be neither urban or suburban. Often, this process focuses on issues such as promoting the development of industry and other businesses that can serve the needs of the rural community, which in turn encourages residents of the community to remain in the area rather than relocating to more populated areas. By working to develop and maintain an equitable standard of living in these areas, it is possible to protect the ecology of the rural area as well as maintain the appeal and charm of the less populated area.
The process of rural economic development is normally managed by some sort of government entity. At times, the effort is a locally sponsored one, possibly managed by one or more small towns that are found in the region. At other times, the community development process may be conducted under the auspices of a state or provincial government agency that is seeking to bring sufficient industry into the area to allow the citizens to enjoy an equitable standard of living. There are even instances in which rural economic development is managed by a national government agency, sometimes in conjunction with other initiatives based as state and local levels.
The need for rural economic development is especially felt in rural areas where more traditional employment opportunities are no longer available. For example, a rural area that enjoyed significant economic stability due to the operation of a sizable textile plant nearby will suddenly be left with reduced cash flow should that plant shut down. The process of rural economic development will often focus on enticing other employers to move into the area, providing a wider range of employment opportunities for residents. Under the best of circumstances, this will mean that even if a few employers should go out of business, the general economy of the area will see no more than a temporary decline as the efforts to bring in more employers continue.
Rural economic development will also involve the creation of various types of services that not only motivate new employers to move into the area, but also encourage residents to remain. This can include a wide range of incentives ranging from tax breaks to the creation of public facilities for recreation, and even to issues such as securing funds to pave roads and extend utilities throughout the area. Essentially, the task will involve identifying what must be done to create a desirable economic environment, develop specific processes to achieve those ends, and then implement those processes.
Effective rural development strategies are truly needed in those areas where family farms provided the bulk of employment but have been replaced by corporate farms. Go visit an area that was once dominated by small farmers and you'll find all manner of poverty and unemployment if some other industry hasn't been established.
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