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Leave a Legacy

RSS By: Kevin Spafford, Legacy Project

Kevin Spafford is Farm Journal’s succession planning expert for the Farm Journal Legacy Project.  He hosts the nationally-televised ‘Leave a Legacy’ TV, facilitates an ongoing series of workshops for farm families across the U.S., and is the author of Legacy by Design: Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners.

Rural by Choice

May 06, 2013

PA Farm   USDA ARSFrom Legacy Moment (05/03/2013).
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Freedom to choose can be an intimidating and uncomfortable responsibility. Some young Americans choose to live in a farming community and raise their families in a rural lifestyle. This particular group came to my attention via the headline, "Kansas Group Tries to Reverse Exodus of Young from Rural America."

For anyone who's been paying attention to "Legacy Moment" of late, you might recognize this recurring theme. Young people want to settle in our rural towns, and in most communities, these folks are welcomed with open arms. Not only are there wide open spaces and room to roam, the map dots across the country might be ripe with opportunity for an agribusiness owner and/or a local merchant.

The Kansas group is a community of like-minded young people who founded, "PowerUps," a social and business network that touts rural life for the under-40 crowd and lets them know they are not alone. It was founded about 2-1/2 years ago by Marci Penner, a resident in central Kansas. The website for the movement, aptly titled ruralbychoice.com, features a calendar of events, blogs posts by various members and tidbits for the curious about life in a small town.

Like my previous mentions here, the article reinforces that: "Technology allows companies to operate virtually anywhere. This works in favor of small towns, which also have the advantage of lower costs." It goes on to tout the "moral competitive advantage for companies in small towns that employ young people with rural backgrounds." It mentions their, "...amazing work ethic and strong values."

As the U.S. economy continues to struggle and people look for alternatives to the big city and corporate life, don't overlook the opportunities on the "next frontier." Check out these early pioneers and acknowledge that you're in good company. The article points out, "a lot of young people are looking for jobs that will bring them closer to their rural roots." For some it's farming, for others it's a cheese processing facility, a slaughterhouse/butcher shop, an equipment dealership or an implement manufacturing enterprise.

No matter what, there's a welcome sign and plenty of opportunity for those who choose freedom and welcome the responsibility.

News & Resources for You: 

Rural by Choice...is this a good option for your family?

AFBF's Rural Community Building offers a depth of information about growth in the nation's heartland.

As a complement to the Farm Journal Legacy Project, eLegacyConnect engages and encourages farm families through vital succession planning resources.

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