From the Director: "Manufacturing employment in the United States reached a peak at more than 19 million jobs in 1979. Since then, the number of manufacturing jobs has steadily declined. Today, there are over seven million fewer manufacturing jobs than in the 1970s. Similarly, employment in agriculture, logging, mining and other goods-producing industries has declined. Agricultural labor needs have been reduced by 90%, another 90% of coal mining jobs have been lost, and two-thirds of logging jobs have been lost since 1990. By far the most significant factor in these declines is technological developments where machines replace human labor in the production process. With modern technology, production in all of these sectors has increased sharply despite a much smaller workforce." Read more.
From the Director: "I have deep roots in rural America. I grew up on a farm in a small and isolated rural community where the nearest doctor was over 50 miles away. After leaving the farm, I have spent my entire professional career seeking to understand rural America and suggesting programs and policies to address the problems and concerns of rural residents. I often tell people that I have the best job in the world." Read more.
From the Director: "I am aware that rural people lack the political clout to effectively address problems by themselves. Rural people comprise only about 15% of the U.S. population. Consequently, elected officials primarily represent urban populations and are most concerned about addressing urban interests and issues." Read more.
From the Director: "During the past year, I have had the great privilege of interacting with many County Commissioners, Mayors, and other leaders and residents of rural communities throughout the West. I have been impressed by the commitment of these persons to the economic health and vitality of their community and the skills they exhibit in addressing serious issues and concerns. I am also amazed by the range and severity of problems confronting small towns." Read more.