Federal and state governments should pass policy to improve the lives of people in rural communities. Rural advocates from across the country have united around common values and shared challenges and identified four primary pillars for rural progress. Within each pillar, there are strategic, popular and meaningful policies that can be adopted now.
1. End Historic Discrimination
Everyone, regardless of where we live or what we look like, should have the freedom to vote, a safe place to live and work, and the opportunity to thrive. Ensure Black, Indigenous, Latino, and Asian people are involved in policy making and implementation. Respect and support sovereign rights of Tribal Governments.
2. Invest in Rural Communities
The lack of government investment, historic extraction of resources, and the COVID-19 pandemic has left rural communities in a financial hole. Now is the time for policy that invests in rural people, critical infrastructure and services, small businesses and family farms, and climate change adaptation.
- Fairness in Funding
- Ensure Healthcare Access for All
- Building Out Broadband Reliability and Access
- Invest in a Clean Energy Transition for Rural Communities
- Address the Affordable Housing Crisis in Rural Communities
- Support Small Business and Rural Main Street
- Create Equitable Access to Licensing
- Expand Support for Regional Food Economies
- Expand Access to Credit For Farm Businesses
- Support Equitable Access to Farmland
- Support Agriculture and Worker Cooperatives
- Protect and Strengthen the United States Postal Service (USPS)
3. REIN IN CORPORATE MONOPOLIES AND PRIORITIZE WORKING PEOPLE AND LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES
Level the playing field for working families, small businesses, and family farms. Strengthen antitrust laws to eliminate the outsize power of monopolies. Ensure people in rural communities have choices and opportunities for living wages and essential benefits, as well as access to natural resources.
- Strengthen Economic Competition
- Curb Corporate Power: Repeal Right to Farm Laws and Stop “Ag-Gag” Laws
- Reform Mandatory Checkoff Programs for Commodities
- Stop Taxpayer Funding of Industrial Animal Agriculture
- Protect Commercial Fisheries against Industrial Aquaculture Threats
- Ensure Equal Rights for Food and Farm Workers
4. BUILD A RURAL ECONOMY THAT PRIORITIZES COMMUNITY AND IS SUSTAINABLE, NOT EXTRACTIVE
Reliance on extractive industries like fossil fuels, factory farming and industrial timber must end. A new economy can be built on regenerative food, clean and sustainable energy production, small business innovation, and a strong public sector. Rural policy must prioritize resilient local economies and putting people, small businesses, family farms, and communities first.