Policy brief from the James A. & Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research | Idaho at a Glance. 2005. | Change truly is the one constant on which we can depend. If there is any question, travel throughout rural Idaho. Seasons change, challenges change and communities change. Some change is positive, some managed and some is out of our control. As human beings, it is our duty to seek change that is best for ourselves, neighbors, community and state. We must get ahead of the change and direct it when we can, adapt to the change we cannot control and maintain a positive approach throughout. One of the most powerful ways to influence positive change is through partnership. Sitting down with people from divergent backgrounds to work toward a common goal of creating change or adapting to it benefits everyone who participates. The Profile of Rural Idaho represents the power of partnership. The University of Idaho and Idaho Commerce & Labor invested greatly to gather, assess and organize the data. Numerous people from a
variety of federal, state and private entities helped through the Profile writing process. Idaho Rural Partnership (IRP) provided resources and technology and financed printing. The Profile is a tangible example of IRP's mission to join diverse public and private resources for innovative collaborations to strengthen communities and improve life in rural Idaho. The coalition of federal, state, local and private partners recognizes the importance of this profile and the possible positive changes that come from understanding the data. However, the true collaboration comes now. The information represents the dynamic changes experienced in rural Idaho. Population fluctuations, rural economies and employment, agriculture and natural resource management issues, and educating
Idaho's young people are challenges highlighted in the Profile of Rural Idaho. The issues are the impetus for divergent groups to gather with a single goal: How can Idahoans work together to improve the quality of life in this State? How can federal, state, private, and non-profit groups enter the realm of give-and-take, consensus building, collaboration, and ultimately partnership? The process starts by critically assessing the data, setting aside agendas and entering the discussion asking, “What is best for rural Idaho?” This is the fourth Profile of Rural Idaho. The data is collected and assembled every five years. We are
most grateful to authors Priscilla Salant and Alan Porter. They, and respective staff, also researched the data. Salant works in the area of rural policy and assessment in the Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Department at the University of Idaho. Porter is the manager of information services in the
Communications & Research Division of Idaho Commerce & Labor. Christine Dearien and Debbie Gray, research analysts with the University of Idaho, and Tony Tenne, economic development analyst with Idaho Commerce & Labor, also researched the data and offered technical assistance. The document is available online at http://irp.idaho.gov.