Poll highlights rural community actors and grassroots efforts | Agriculture News

Trisha Purdon, director of the Kansas Department of Commerce’s office of rural prosperity, and Marci Penner, executive director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, reported the results of the foundation’s investigation into the Kansas Power Up and Go project in a Facebook Live video on August 2.

Read the Kansas Power Up and Go Action Report at https://bit.ly/3lqjwan.

Penner interviewed 460 rural residents, ages 21 to 39, in Kansas’ 105 counties in 2020 and 2021. She then followed 175 survey participants to ask them about the opportunities and challenges of living in the areas. rural Kansas. The project’s mission was to “better understand the current challenges and opportunities in rural Kansas for young people, helping to understand why they choose to live in rural communities and why it might be difficult to make that choice.”

Penner said, “One thing I love about the content here is that we’re really focusing on community players and the courage and common sense of these small towns… These grassroots efforts are really important and like the report says when rural Kansas thrives. , it bodes well for the state as a whole.

The survey found that rural Kansan youth are concerned about broadband and housing, but as state-level initiatives address these issues, they were not included in the report’s recommendations for action. One of the next steps is to help rural Kansan youth connect with government to access programs.

Purdon said the report “really sets the pace for a popular momentum to take over and help rural Kansas.”

She plans to add a grassroots support division to the Office of Rural Prosperity to help communities build networks and connections at the grassroots. The division will also target local champions and provide training, funding and other resources to help them meet the challenges in their communities.

Lack of quality child care is also a critical issue for this age group, and the state will continue to coordinate programs, providers and advocacy efforts.

The creation of a community of rural “influencers” who will champion rural communities and the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem are other improvement plans drawn from the survey project.

“A lot of those interviewed told us they chose rural because they felt they could make a difference and not just be a number,” said Penner. “You know, it’s something that they really want to do in this age group – they want to help things get better. “

About Keneth T. Graves

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