Northern Community Radio, which went on the air in 1976, is an independent affiliate of National Public Radio.
The sector includes companies that make everything from massive conveyor belts to radiators and air coolers to replacement parts for machines that crush ore to special tools used by miners.
The project began with a question: How could rural grocers offer more of the fresh produce that is grown in the farm fields all around them?
With help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state’s garlic growers have embarked on an effort to see if Minnesota garlic can become a full-fledged industry.
“We are just scratching the surface of what’s needed in terms of rehab,” said Dale Slagter, Kandiyohi County’s housing rehabilitation manager. “There is a lot of need out here.”
Rural distilleries provide a case study in the latest thinking about econmic development in small towns, one that uses a multi-faceted approach to build economies on local strengths.
As the rural economy has evolved, so too has the University of Minnesota Extension, the public agency charged with “extending” the university’s expertise and knowledge into every corner of the state.
Since 2000, Barnesville has been attracting new residents at a steady pace, growing 18 percent to today’s population of about 2,500. Many have easy commutes to jobs in Fargo-Moorhead, just 25 miles away.
The presence of a new business along the main drag of this Sibley County town – and a high-tech one, at that – has generated some buzz in the community.
Le Sueur is a medium-population county an hour southwest of the Twin Cities. Its eviction filing rate is one of the highest in the state.
“I love this job,” Swift County Monitor-News publisher Reed Anfinson said in his office in Benson. “What I worry about is what replaces me.”
Last year solar jobs dropped 4 percent nationwide, while in Minnesota they rose 48.2 percent. Many installers complain that they can’t get enough labor for the demand.
Just 6 percent of principal farm operators in Minnesota are under the age of 35, according to the most recent census data.
As baby boomers prepare to transfer assets — including the family cabin — to the next generation, things are getting complicated.
Bemidji benefits not only from the money BSU pumps into the local economy but also from its cultural impact, which includes plays and concerts, athletic events, workshops and speeches.
The number of resorts in Minnesota has dropped by nearly half since 1985.
Farmers and other landowners in Chisago County have put up a dozen solar gardens, with another four now in the planning stages.
At a time when many Minnesota regions are growing slowly, or projected to lose population in the future, expansion is something that sets Central Minnesota apart.
Rural priorities include the passage of another bonding bill; another increase in LGA funding; money for street repairs in small towns; broadband expansion and bolstered child care options.
Considering Minnesota’s regions separately reveals different challenges — and suggests different solutions.