United States and OECD outline guidance for rural economic development policies

Farm Forum

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – On May 21, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi released a joint statement outlining three major themes guiding rural economic development policies.

The statement was issued at the conclusion of the three-day, 10th Annual OECD Rural Development Conference, titled, National Prosperity through Modern Rural Policy: Competitiveness and Well-Being in Rural Regions.

The major themes guiding rural economic development policies include:

• A New Rural Narrative noting that in OECD countries, the term “rural” is synonymous with unharnessed potential for growth. Agriculture and natural resources remains important in some regions, but many rural regions are diversifying their economies to include manufacturing and services.

• Prosperity for All noting that an approach to rural development policy is to be tailored and specific to the attributes, resources, and priorities of the place is needed to make our rural communities more resilient. Features such as low population density, physical distance, population decline and aging, and limited diversity in economic structures all expose rural communities to economic shocks. For this reason, rural policy should be an important part of any national strategy promoting inclusive growth.

• Implementing the New Rural Policy noting that Rural stakeholders participating in the Conference recognised the value of the OECD New Rural Paradigm as a policy framework to promote rural development and encouraged OECD governments to implement policies accordingly.