Rural communities matter. Almost a quarter of the Midwest's population lives in rural communities, but emerging demographic patterns, including the increase of Latinos, are changing the landscapes of rural Midwestern communities. Often, the rise in the Latino population is the deciding factor between growth or decline for a rural community. This circumstance presents a unique opportunity for Extension professionals and communities to initiate best practices around community building and welcoming of newcomers, especially immigrants. We need to harness the strength of all rural residents to create vibrant, healthy, sustainable communities that are centers of creativity and innovation.

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