Agriculture and Rural Development


Rural South Dakota town.

Challenges Facing Rural Communities

Rural America is undergoing changes, and state legislatures are responding. Legislatures in nine states have initiated rural commissions and committees, dedicated to improving rural areas of their state. 


Pileof papers

Urban Agriculture

Farmer or city slicker? It may be increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two as the farm-to-table movement grows. As opportunities for and interest in urban agriculture increase, states are considering policy options to support its growth. 

Building Democracy


Agriculture and Rural Development


Hemp cloth

State Industrial Hemp Statutes

State legislatures have taken action to promote industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity in recent years. At least 41 states passed legislation related to industrial hemp.


Female doctor in a rural setting

Health Care in Rural Communities

Rural and underserved communities face significant challenges accessing health care services. In many areas, the supply of health care providers cannot keep up with the demand for services. The shortage or inadequate distribution of the health care workforce can create barriers to accessing timely and appropriate care, lead to negative health status and create significant costs for states.


Chairs at a table

Natural Resources and Infrastructure

The Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee is one of eight NCSL Standing Committees that educates Congress and federal agencies about state concerns and serves as a forum for state legislators and legislative staff to learn about and share information regarding programs and initiatives in other states.



The Agriculture Task Force  examines state and federal agricultural policy issues and serves as the conduit for state legislative communication with Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal agencies.