Without making this a thread that blames one political party versus the other (since probably both are to blame to some extent), I wanted to share something I just read:
"For Americans living in metropolitan areas, inflation-adjusted household income rose by 6 percent from 2014 to 2015—a robust bounce back from the recession. But for those living outside those areas—totaling more than 40 million Americans—household income actually fell by 2 percent. The numbers on poverty reveal a similar trend. The number of people in poverty in rural areas did fall by 800,000, but that doesn’t appear to be because people are escaping poverty: Instead, people are simply leaving. The rural population, in that span of time, declined by five million people. Taken in total, the rural poverty rate actually rose slightly, by 0.2 percentage points. In the rest of country, the poverty rate declined by 1.4 percentage points."
Most, if not all of you live and work in rural areas. Making a living, especially independently, is tough. Very tough. But as it's important that we all strive to help maintain the knowledge of skills like working horses and mules, growing food and making things, you all play an active and integral part in keeping rural communities alive simply by making these areas your home. So keep up the good work. It isn't easy. But it's necessary.