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The last 100 years have ushered in major change to the countryside. Once a majority, rural people are now a minority, while farmers have become a minority even in rural areas. Mines have opened and closed, creating and then eliminating communities. Forests have been harvested and restored. And in some rural regions, a wave of manufacturing has swept in and then largely disappeared. At the turn of the 21st century, one thing is clear: rural areas will not return to the way they were. If rural people and places are to benefit from ongoing changes, rural advocates must build coalitions, gain urban support, and promote sound policies.


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