The Rural Citizen’s Challenge:  Rural economies are declining and farmers confront unprecedented challenges to their livelihoods – with low commodity prices, restricted access to international markets, drought-induced losses, volatile weather and unpredictable yields, and increasing regulations.

The Urban Citizen’s Challenge:  Urban constituents are increasingly concerned about environmental issues, including water quality, water conservation, and climate change.  They increasingly organize rallies and advance environmental legislation that typically only gets supported by Democratic representatives.  Rural legislators typically oppose these bills because they often impose costs and extra regulations on farmers.  The single party support means it could potentially pass whenever that party has control, and it will always be in jeopardy without bipartisan support.  This tenuous political context is why all stakeholders should come to the table to negotiate a shared vision for stewardship.

Rural and urban constituents can join forces and find a path that achieves all of these goals.  Our founding fathers had the wisdom to design legislative representation to reflect both urban and rural constituencies, and when we can find common ground, we can move mountains together.  The RIPE Roadmap solves all of these challenges in one policy framework.