Significant portions of rural America are in trouble. For some parts of rural America, the slow slide to no longer being economically, socially, or politically viable is within sight. At the same time, without intending it, rural America appears headed for a land of the rich and the poor—a rural America of resorts and pockets of persistent poverty.> Yet current rural policies are designed for the past, not the future. In terms of public dollars committed, today’s rural policy focuses primarily on two areas—agriculture and manufacturing. Neither focus can meet the future needs of rural people and their communities.> In his paper presented at this year’s conference sponsored by the Center for the Study of Rural America, Exploring Policy Options for a New Rural America, Dr. Stauber discusses how a successful rural policy must be crafted with three key societal benefits in mind—the survival of the rural middle class, reducing concentrated rural poverty, and sustaining and improving the quality of the natural environment.