Giving New Life to Rural Indiana

A Message from Dean Akridge

Giving New Life to Rural Indiana

Dean Jay Akridge
Dean Jay Akridge

Every small town in the U.S. started for an economic purpose, often to serve local farm families. Many of you grew up in a town like this, as I did.

But as the number of farms declined and manufacturing plants shut down or moved elsewhere, people began to move to larger urban areas. Residents left behind face many problems: unemployment, lack of basic services those living in cities take for granted and poverty.

This special issue of Agricultures showcases some of the ways that Purdue Agriculture and Purdue Extension programs are giving new life to rural Indiana.

  • Several counties offer a Getting Ahead program that has helped long-term unemployed residents get back into the workforce and out of poverty.
  • Specialists and researchers from across Purdue's campus are writing a series of Purdue Extension publications about the problems facing rural Indiana to help local leaders generate communitywide discussion of issues and determine courses of action.
  • Purdue Extension provides technical and business expertise to entrepreneurs and new agricultural enterprises. And the Purdue Center for Regional Development, with whom we are closely allied, helps “home-grown” companies expand.
  • Ag alumni who return to their hometowns to work and live not only contribute to local economies, but also bring the leadership skills and dedication to position their communities for the future.

State and county financial investment help make research and Extension programs possible. Research and education will help the state increase economic development, add jobs in food and agricultural industries, and enhance Hoosiers' well-being.

Jay Akridge

Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture