Amid 21st-century shifts in the global and U.S. economy, demographics, and climate, federal leadership must modernize to improve its coherence, effectiveness, and ability to support rural communities. The Biden administration’s public commitment to “rebuild rural” represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine policy to maximize rural prosperity. Critical to its success will be addressing several questions, including: How can federal leadership create policies and programs that respond to the demographic, economic, and social diversity of today’s rural and Native American communities? Why is rural development policy important for the nation’s overall economic well-being? How can the U.S. transform a fragmented, project-oriented approach to community and economic development into a coordinated and strategic effort for rural communities?
On September 8, the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings hosted a virtual event to answer these questions and more. It began with a conversation between Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof on new USDA initiatives to meet the rural development imperative. Then, a panel of government leaders and rural experts discussed current administration and legislative efforts focused on rural community and economic development, as well as how the federal government can be a trusted partner to rural communities as they seek to realize their visions for prosperity.
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