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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana’s rural counties are getting older and smaller.

An IU population forecast predicts Indiana will add nearly 700-thousand people over the next 30 years — but three-quarters of them will be in Indianapolis and its suburbs. I-U expects 59 counties to lose people, mainly in rural areas.

Indiana Farm Bureau public policy director Katrina Hall told the Farm Bureau’s ag policy conference that rural areas need to build quality of life, even in basic ways like broadband and better roads. Warren County Commissioner Steve Eberly adds having convenient access to highways and rail lines isn’t enough to attract businesses to rural Indiana. He says communities may need to put up buildings on some undeveloped land before they have a tenant, to demonstrate to companies what the county can offer.

The Holcomb administration rolled out a rural development outline last month calling for not only expanded broadband, but downtown revitalization grants, and state and regional efforts to attract talent.

(Photo: valio84sl/Thinkstock)