Our county just happens to be the most elderly county per capita in our state and our state just happens to be the most elderly state per capita in the United States.
What does that mean?
For us, it is that we are raising our young family while owning a small family business in an area that needs passionate advocates to spur rural development on the North Dakota prairie.
We did not jump off the corporate wheel, walk away from corporate pay and benefits for the prairie to dry up and shut down. Our business, our community and our region needs development and growth.
Tonight my husband Nathan and I will participate with community members active in our economic development in a strategic planning session. It will be led by my friend and colleague, Delore Zimmerman, who recently helped farmers jump start the Know A California Farmer grass roots effort. In three days, Delore is leaving for Ghana for a tremendous economic development partnership with Ghana’s Ministry of Agriculture. When it comes to economic development, Delore is a guru.
And thankfully he is from our little North Dakota town. His roots are here along with his parents and in-laws. Generously, Delore is donating his time and services to help our volunteer group.
Our livelihood depends on continued growth on the prairie.
North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, consistently hovering around 3% with a state budget surplus of nearly $1 billion.
Bismarck and Fargo have two of the fastest growing economies in the United States.
But Bismarck is 100 miles from our town and Fargo 180 miles from our town.
What can we do to empower businesses in the manufacturing, animal agriculture, agriculture technology, energy, health care and other industries to invest in rural North Dakota?
What can do as a community to promote our strengths and services?
What can we do to encourage families and workers to relocate to south central North Dakota?
What are the barriers?
Please share your thoughts and input. This is not just relevant to our little town in North Dakota. We need to churn ideas for rural development across America, one little town and county at a time.
Our livelihood depends on it.
Katie, Your blog today is something I have thought about but have no answers to. As much as I would like to move back to a small town, what would I do? What professions are there? My mom, who still teaches in a small town, talks about the issues she sees with the kids and it fits right into your blog. There aren’t as many kids who come from a professional family who value education. There are way more “blue collar” kids who see education as a necessary evil until they can work.