Advances in production, communication and transportation technologies as well as expectations of consumers, taxpayers, business people and rural residents continue to cause changes in agriculture and rural areas. These changes pose challenges, such as increased competition, as well as offer opportunities to produce specialized products and reach new markets. The opportunities for production agriculture appear to be 1) low-cost, large-scale commodity production, 2) medium- or small-scale commodity production combined with non-farm sources of income, or 3) production and marketing of specialized products. Emerging opportunities for rural businesses appear to be in serving production agriculture and agribusinesses by meeting their unique needs. These firms also can use advancing communication technologies to reach distant markets. Many business managers are adopting strategies that will shift their firm away from perfect competition. Opportunities for rural communities lie in using technology to efficiently provide services to rural residents. The size and composition of rural communities also will be redefined by advances in communication and transportation technologies. The decision of how to pursue these opportunities require a thorough understanding of what is occurring and thoughtful deliberations.


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