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Diversity In the Post-Agricultural Rural Economy Draws Discussion at U of M, Morris

Rural Arts and Culture Summit 2017
Amy Mondloch, Center for Small Towns
Publication date: 
November 3, 2017

Rural Minnesota's economy has changed a great deal over the past 40 years. UM Extension Researcher Ben Winchester, Economic Analyst Brigid Tuck, and Broadband Grants Administrator Jane Leonard will address those changes and what they mean for the future of Minnesota as they discuss "Diversity in the Post-Agricultural Rural Economy" on Tuesday, November 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the University Room, Student Center.

Winchester, who is known for his work on the rural "brain gain," is hopeful as he looks at the changing nature of the rural economy. "We're not all farmers out here," he says. "The rural economy in Minnesota is more diverse than ever."

According to Tuck, that diversity is what makes greater Minnesota economically viable into the future. "Economically, there are many greater Minnesotas, and the diversity of greater Minnesota is its strength," Tuck says. "I want to shed light on that. And I want to help leaders in greater Minnesota tell that story."

Leonard, broadband grants administrator for Minnesota's Border-to-Border broadband grant program at the MN Office of Broadband Development at the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development, agrees that economic diversity is a major strength of greater Minnesota. "And broadband investments—both infrastructure and digital literacy—tap into that diversity, to unveil existing entrepreneurial energy and bring new possibilities across our small towns and rural areas," says Leonard. "We're on course for a cultural and economic renaissance, if we embrace the technology and its applications in ways that grow community ties as we grow economic opportunity."

This event is made possible by the University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns, UM-Extension, and the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships as part of the "Focus on Greater Minnesota" series.

Pictured above: A moment from the 2017 Rural Arts and Culture Summit, held at the University of Minnesota, Morris