Have you noticed how much of the reporting on rural America focuses on the “decline” of rural America? While we would all agree that some rural areas are struggling, we also know that many are doing just fine, but that doesn’t often get reported or recognized. Much of the data that is collected and reported about rural communities is quantitative (numbers) but what’s missing is the voice of rural residents. As my colleagues and I work with Missouri’s rural communities to identify opportunities and develop strategies, we work with people who are deeply committed to their communities and way of life. The truth is, most of us in rural Missouri want to secure a strong future for our communities and we have the drive and determination to make it happen, but we must begin to tell our stories.
To better understand the assets and opportunities, as well as issues and recommendations, for rural communities, we need your help.
The Missouri Rural Development Partners, Missouri’s federally authorized rural development council, is launching the first annual Missouri Rural Survey to hear from rural citizens, business owners and leaders about the key issues, opportunities and challenges facing rural Missouri communities. The survey is done in partnership with University of Missouri Extension and the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Office of Rural Development and is supported by many statewide organizations.
The anonymous online survey will be open until March 30th, to anyone over 18 years of age, and should take about 10 minutes to complete. Your responses will provide a better understanding of the attitudes and opinions of actual rural Missouri residents, business owners and elected officials. Survey results, again completely anonymous, will be published later in 2017 and also provided to local, state and national leaders so they can gauge the issues facing rural communities.
Let’s face it, some of us are a little jaded when it comes to completing surveys. You may question if this survey has any value for you personally and for your local community – I believe this one does. We strongly encourage you to complete this survey, because your voice counts. Please contribute your voice to the chorus of Missourians who want to showcase what’s really happening in rural Missouri by highlight our strengths and recognize our challenges. Also, please share with your colleagues, friends and neighbors.
To complete the survey, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/Rural17
If you are not able to access the online survey and would like to receive a paper copy, please email your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 573-882-8393 and we’ll send one to you.
Thanks for listening, and thanks for speaking out—using your voice to speak for rural Missouri.