In the last few weeks I visited the farms of two rural Ohio families for feature articles in the agriculture publication Rural Life Today. In both cases, and I suspect in the cases for most folks who live in rural Ohio and rural America, they are rural residents by choice.
Living removed from the congestion, hustle and bustle and negatives that come with living in larger cities is a lifestyle choice made by millions in Ohio and around the country.
In talking with the Kristin and Matt Furbee family in Madison County and the Stephanie and Zachary Taylor family in Delaware County, I was struck by how happy they were to be raising families in a rural setting.
Frankly, I have seen the same thing over the years every time I visit a farm family or couple in rural Ohio. They wouldn’t live any other way. Some, like Debbie and Phil Bullington in Meigs County, feel the farther away from city life, the better. Others like for their farms to be … just far enough away.
Like everything else, however, there are trade-offs.
Most of the time you don’t have city sewer and water. You’ve got a well and septic tank. Maybe those work well, and maybe they don’t. There is a lot of talk here in Ohio about the “high percentage” of rural septic systems that don’t meet state Health Department standards. That may be true.
And often the quality of well water is suspect even though many people would prefer well water to “city water” any day of the week.
Technology isn’t always available in rural communities. While efforts are being made to get everyone online, I know that some rural communities cannot get affordable internet access simply because of where they are located. The same goes for cable and satellite TV.
Many people in rural communities have backup generators because as sure as the wind blows, someone’s power will go out. This is a problem not faced nearly as frequently as folks in the cities.
And just try to get someone to deliver a pizza.
All of these drawbacks may be true of rural living, but those living on farms and in small communities think of them mostly as just inconveniences — acceptable annoyances in order to live a rural life away from all the problems of the city.
What is the biggest plus when you ask farmers about why they live with these “inconveniences?”
They usually just look at their children and say — “them.”
People living on farms or small communities cherish the idea that their children are growing up in a supportive, family-strong environment, free from all the negativity that comes with big-city life. And while the current opioid epidemic hitting Ohio’s small towns is jarring to this perception, those living in rural Ohio still believe their way is the best way to raise a family safely and with strong moral values.
I agree 100 percent.
Speaking of strong local communities, I was pleased to begin this week as the new General Manager/Editor at The Madison Press here in London. In the coming days I will share more with you about my relocation here and how excited I am to be part of Madison County.
I know there are a number of events coming up we want to cover in The Press, and things all our readers will want to see both in print and our website. These include our upcoming graduations, area festivals and of course the Madison County Fair.
My first step is hearing from you. If you have ideas for coverage of events or issues here in Madison County, please give me a call or email me. I want to know what you feel is important for The Madison Press to cover — and maybe not cover.
My number of 937-556-5759 (I brought my phone with me, so the number stays the same!) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from you soon.
Gary Brock is editor of Rural Life Today and can be reached at 937-556-5759 or on Twitter at GBrock4.