The severe economic distress of the 1980s produced an interest in state action to help rural citizens and communities. One result of that interest has been the creation of statewide offices and agencies whose primary mission is to study rural concerns and develop policy options to address rural needs.
We are again in an era when interest in such offices is at a peak level. Four state “rural centers” were created in 2004. Another has been created this year in Indiana, and a serious effort in Alabama fell just short of success. The current level of interest led SLC to form a Rural Development Task Force, and the Task Force encourages states to consider establishing such centers. As an aid to such efforts, the Task Force offers these profiles of four rural centers in the South: North Carolina, Louisiana, Maryland and Texas.