No doubt about it, rural America is different. I’ve always taken pride in the fact that our values, work ethic and beliefs are different from that of our urban counterparts. Certainly, when one compares income levels and even education levels, rural America has fallen short, but we seem to be catching our urban counterparts in some unenviable areas.

According to the last census, rural people for the first time are now as likely to divorce as non-rural populations. The experts credit it to fewer one-income homes, giving women more freedom to leave bad relationships. I’ve been accused of being naïve before, but I don’t believe this factor previously kept huge percentages of women trapped in bad relationships. I think the loss of one-income households has been more of a strain than a burden lifter.

Sadly, I also believe that if we’re catching our urban cousins on traits like divorce and drug use, it’s because we’re adopting more of their values rather than disseminating our values into society. Right now the agricultural economy is one of the strongest segments of the economy, but that’s a new phenomenon, and financial stress and financial expectations are one of the leading causes of divorce.

A lot of people are writing off rural America and its prospects, but I see a vastly different scenario. I see technology allowing more and more people to live and work in rural America. I see agriculture and rural America experiencing a renaissance of sorts from an economic standpoint, and I’ve always believed in the lifestyle benefits of rural America.

If we retain the values and beliefs that have allowed us to thrive, I think America will continue to look to us not only for their food, but also for their moral bearings.