Broadband, Child Care Biggest Rural Challenges

Office of Rural Prosperity Director Marcy West grew up in Green Bay in and around the farm. She’s lived in rural La Farge in the Kickapoo Valley with her family for the past two decades.

West is brand new to the role. She was drawn to the diverse mix of people involved in advocating for agriculture at the Capitol. The Office of Rural Prosperity is housed in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Its goal is to connect communities or businesses to grants and programs.

“State programs can be really overwhelming,” she said. “We’re trying to cut through the chase and get to what the rural needs and hopefully we’re able to do that with our team.”

In her conversation with the Mid-West Farm Report at Udder Brothers’ Creamery in Boscobel, she outlines broadband and quality child care as the two biggest issues facing rural communities right now. Pilot projects within the WEDC continue to look at the best fit for getting broadband to the end user in rural Wisconsin, West said.

She noted that one of her goals as the director is to send a message of optimism to rural communities that things are getting better.

“We’re trying to help those communities and those businesses or individuals that give us a call, you know, as word gets out that we have this office . . . we can make things a little easier for folks that have an idea and want to implement,” West said.