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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Bird’s Eye View

A penguin walks into a bar.  He goes up to the bartender and says, “Have you seen my father in here today?” The bartender says, “I don’t know……. what does he look like?”

Why do seagulls fly over the sea? Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be bay-gulls!

Why does a chicken coop have two doors? Because if it had 4 doors, it would be a chicken sedan.

Why do hummingbirds hum? Isn’t is obvious….they don’t know the words.

With all the discussion of birds here is a bird’s eye view of a large problem we have in Tama County. According to the US Census Bureau’s estimates, the median age of people in Tama County has moved from 40.9 to 42.5 in 2010. You might say “who cares Heath”— well we all should because it means that each year, hundreds of young people move away to attend college, join the military or take a job – and NEVER return to become part of the economic and social fabric of our hometowns here in Tama County.

Successful rural communities of the future must have a population of young people engaged in decision-making and actively working to grow their local economies. Young people

> who bring fresh perspectives and new energy

> who have insight into social change

> who understand the dynamics of the global marketplace

> who grasp the full potential of emerging technologies

> who are raising families and participating in community life, and

> who think and act entrepreneurially whether on the farm, in business, in local institutions or in public service.

Young people are our greatest asset in rural Iowa. Working across generations, we must give them a reason to stay or return by creating welcoming, economically vibrant communities – and ensure they are full participants in shaping our positive future.

One final thought (the 500 pound gorilla in the room)– the packing industry may not be the most glamorous of industries, but it is the most vital to our current growth. And if we could somehow stop playing politics and capitalize on this huge investment in Tama County, then we can start to create the quality of life that our youth want to come back to. And that is no bird joke.

Hate? Love? Agree? Disagree? I want to hear from you.  Email me at info@tamacountyiowa.org or call at 641-484-3108.

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