Agriculture & Rural Prosperity – USDA Report (2017)

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The findings in this report pertain to Maine as much as any other state. Below is an excerpt from the introduction.

Rural America includes 72% of the nation’s land and 46 million people. Rural areas encompass regions that focus on agricultural production as well as places where work is more often found in industries such as manufacturing, mining, and forestry. They include locales that are prosperous and rapidly-growing, locales that are chronically depressed, and everything in between. Rural America is home to many different racial and ethnic demographics and a wide array of economic activities. These residents live in a variety of settings, from counties bordering suburbs to remote and isolated areas.

Rural America has a diverse store of assets to draw upon: abundant land and natural resources; scenic and cultural amenities that attract new residents and visitors alike; a strong entrepreneurial spirit; and people of all ages and occupations. People remain in or move to rural areas for many reasons: to seek an active lifestyle, to take advantage of lower costs of living, to encounter less congestion, to enjoy a slower pace of life, and to more closely connect to nature and recreational opportunities. Many people return to their rural roots to raise children and reconnect with family and friends, filling workforce gaps and bringing needed leadership and professional skills.

American prosperity and well-being are intrinsically tied to rural America’s ability to thrive in the new global economy; to build and attract an educated workforce and expand its population base; and to use its diverse and abundant natural resources to provide food, fiber, forest products, energy, and recreation.