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Survey: Rural Regions Feeling Neglected

PHOTO: A new poll of rural residents indicates rural communities want and need economic help from the government. Photo by Joseph Massie.
PHOTO: A new poll of rural residents indicates rural communities want and need economic help from the government. Photo by Joseph Massie.
July 8, 2013

HELENA, Mont. - After the federal Farm Bill died in the U.S. House of Representatives this summer for the second time in two years, a new survey shows discontent in rural areas. The poll commissioned by the Center for Rural Affairs shows rural residents believe the federal government is ignoring their communities' needs.

According to Rural Affairs Executive Director Chuck Hassebrook, communities want and need economic help from the government.

"They believe strongly that their communities and their way of life are worth fighting for, but that Washington's not paying attention," he declared. "And in all honesty, you can see it in the current Farm Bill debate."

Nearly nine in 10 surveyed believe, as Hassebrook mentioned, that rural and small-town life is "worth fighting for." And three-fourths said they believe too much federal farm subsidy money goes to the largest farms, hurting smaller family operations.

Hassebrook said the poll makes an important statement about rural values.

"We surveyed 800 people across close to 20 states, so it's a good-sized sample and, I think, important findings that inform the entire nation about what rural people have to say about what's important to their communities," the Rural Affairs chief stated.

Three-quarters of those polled sid they support tax credits and investment in new electrical transmission lines to encourage development of wind, solar and other renewable power generation in rural areas. And eight in 10 support grants and loans to revitalize small towns through upgrades to their water and sewer systems, and investments in roads and bridges.

See the poll at CFRA.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT