Category Archives: Economic Development

Results of Texas Rural Leaders and Economies Survey Released

The report documenting results of the Texas Rural Leaders and Economies Survey is now posted on the Rural Communities website. A few economic highlights are below. For more information view the complete report online. Future posts will discuss local institutions, keeping young people, and rural leadership. Leaders tended to view overall economic conditions and retail conditions similarly. Most respondents rated their economies and retail sectors as stable. Perceptions of decline across both city and county respondents were more evident in rural counties not adjacent to urban areas.  … Read More →

The Shape of U.S. States According to Commuting Patterns

My colleague John Robinson sent me a link to What if the United States Were Shaped According to Economics? by Ross Pomeroy. It’s always fun to see our usual state borders distorted or color-coated, whether by GDP or status as a tourism destination. Alasdair Rae and Garrett Nelson used American Community Survey commuting flows to identify functional economic regions. Pretty cool. Texas is broken into six states. It is important to think about the fact that this map is based on commuting patterns and not, say, spending patterns…. Read More →

Farmer Hayek: Do cities make us more productive?

Levi Russell over at Farmer Hayek picks up the issue of agglomeration economies today, encouraging further thought on a Burgh Diaspora post on the same topic. Interesting discussion, and I’ve added my thoughts to the Farmer Hayek comments. Always thought-provoking over at Farmer Hayek, and always fun when they delve into regional economics and politics.

SET regional economic development program applications available

Communities across Texas are invited to take advantage of a regional economic development initiative offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the Prairie View Cooperative Extension Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development. The Stronger Economics Together (SET) helps rural communities capitalize on the strengths of the region to create jobs, wealth and economic development. More information is available at

Rural Leaders Survey Open

Yesterday, I kicked off a new study of Rural Leaders and Economies. If that topic sounds interesting, you are welcome to participate here: The purpose of this study is (1) to gauge rural leaders’ attitudes about local economies and potential new leaders and (2) to identify opportunities for communities to deepen citizen engagement and strengthen rural communities and economies. Results of the study will guide the development of Extension programming and publications to help communities identify and develop new rural leaders and to disseminate best practices in… Read More →

Cultivating Community Wealth: Success Stories

This post is part of an eight-week series on Cultivating Community Wealth. I was first introduced to the story of Tupelo, Mississippi, not long after I moved to Texas. The Texas Rural Innovators had invited Vaughn Grisham to tell the story, and I promise you Vaughn is a good story teller. (His brother is famous author John Grisham.) His book, co-written with Rob Gurwitt, is available for free download or hardcopy purchase from The Aspen Institute. Earlier this month, I was able to visit Tupelo while I was… Read More →

Cultivating Community Wealth: Strategies for Building Rural Wealth, Part 2

This post is part of an eight-week series on Cultivating Community Wealth. Strategies summarized in this post include business retention & expansion, tourism, retiree attraction, workforce education, shop/eat local campaigns, and fundraising campaigns. Strategies discussed in last week’s post include industrial recruitment and financial incentives, clusters, value-chain development, community business matching, entrepreneurship including youth entrepreneurship, and regionalism. Recall that particular strategies may be suited to the assets, goals, and values of some communities but not others. Discussion of a strategy does not imply endorsement, and leaders are encouraged… Read More →

Cultivating Community Wealth: Strategies for Building Rural Wealth, Part 1

This post is part of an eight-week series on Cultivating Community Wealth. Why a community “does what it does” is really a statement about the values the community or organization possesses. –Steve Deller in Rural Wealth Creation (p. 161) Wow. Read that one more time. A deceptively simple, intensely powerful sentence. Actions matter. Intentions matter. A community that allows its poor to be further marginalized is making a statement. A community that supports entrepreneurs, volunteers, or youth is also making a statement. Why your community chooses certain wealth… Read More →