Choices magazine special issue focuses on COVID-19 impacts on Rural America

The papers in this special issue were commissioned by the Council on Food, Agriculture, and Resource Economics (C-FARE), which hosted a webinar on Monday, July 12, to explore the issues raised in the special issue with some of the papers’ authors. The webinar was recorded and is available here.

The special issue was prepared in collaboration with the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) on behalf of the Regional Rural Development Centers.

“We thought that assessing the differential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural versus urban regions of country, as well as different sectors of the economy, one year into the pandemic was important both in its own right and in order to help policymakers formulate strategies and policies for not only helping rural areas recover but also to be better prepare for future pandemics,” said Stephan Goetz,  professor of agricultural and regional economics in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and director of NERCRD, who served as guest co-editors of the issue, along with Jane Kolodinsky, C-FARE Board Member and Professor/Chair at the University of Vermont. 

Kolodinsky and Goetz also wrote a Theme Overview, which introduces the issue and provides an overview of the eight papers. They conclude that, taken together, the papers paint a somewhat dark picture of the pandemic’s effects on Rural America, and offer insights into how public policy can shape a more equitable recovery, especially as the findings relate to federal investments.

“The eight papers in this collection examine multiple impacts of the pandemic as well as the effects of selected federal policies designed to mitigate adverse impacts,” said Kolodinsky. “For rural communities to bounce back to their pre-pandemic levels, public policy interventions will be needed beyond short-term emergency levels.”

Papers in the issue were selected on a competitive basis following a national call for submissions and include:

Kolodinsky and Goetz worked in consort with Choices Editor, Allison Davis (University of Kentucky), to produce the issue, and NERCRD Business Manager, Kim Boonie, provided administrative support.

Choices is a free, online-only publication that provides peer-reviewed articles exploring the economic implications of current food, farm, resource or rural community issues. It is directed toward a broad audience. To access the special issue, visit:



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