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Rethinking Rural


People are rethinking where they live and what they spend their time doing.  Now is the time to push the creative envelope, redefine goals and find unique ways to make a living in a rural area.

The rural life style has gained some much-deserved appreciation over the past year. It’s a perfect opportunity to attract and retain people to rural communities.  It’s time to think differently and support the communities to help them be the best they can be.

Rethink rural.  How do we keep young families in the community?  How do we help people make new connections?  How do families find alternative income sources? How do communities effectively build community capitals to sustain multiple generations?

Our rural communities are rich with opportunity. We have some of the fastest and most reliable internet in the world. We have adequate space in many instances to engage in innovative animal agriculture, most importantly we have strong, determined individuals who know the value of rural and are working to make opportunities happen.

NDSU Extension is extending knowledge by connecting resources in leadership development and civic engagement to support agriculture, communities and rural quality of life. Visit our Leadership and Civic Engagement page or contact us to learn more about how you or your community can participate.

Building Tomorrow's Leaders - Empowers high school students to get involved, build confidence and skills, assist them in the development of personal and professional networks, and complete a project to meet a school or community need.

Community Impressions - Community exchange program helps communities learn about their strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of the first-time visitor.

Growing Leaders Short Course - Provides personal, community and leadership development to citizens.  Participants will have a better understanding of themselves and others and be more prepared to navigate the changes in their communities, businesses, farms and ranches.

Lead Local - Training for aspiring, elected and appointed leaders serving on boards, councils and committees.

Marketing Hometown America - an opportunity for communities to have a deliberate discussion around the issue of marketing their community to newcomers.

Remote Work Certification Program - preparing the North Dakota workforce for future online opportunities for remote employment.

Rural Leadership North Dakota - designed  for men and women  who are dedicated to strengthening the agriculture  community,  their community and the state of North Dakota for the future.

Soil and Water Conservation Leadership Academy - designed to build your skills and enhance your ability to lead watershed, conservation and community-based projects that will protect water quality for future generations.

Youth Lead Local - Fun, interactive day of leadership learning for high school students.


Andrea Bowman
Extension Program Coordinator, Leadership and Community Development

Jodi Bruns
NDSU Extension Leadership and Civic Engagement Specialist