How Does Rural System Propose to Make Money?

Our staff is often asked, “How does Rural System make money?” Recently a reader also sent us the following question about the profits reaped by the community:

 “I understand [Rural System, Inc.] to be a system of land management that generates profit, both for the people who live in rural areas and for absentee landowners. What I’m less clear about is exactly how it does that.”

We’re happy to answer these questions! There are many layers to how our company proposes to achieve “profit” and we’ve touched on aspects of economies of scale, groups, reduced waste, reasonable expectations, and what we offer the landowner. But the real key to Rural System’s success can actually be understood not as profit per se, but as savings. The profit ceiling may not change much if at all, but the profit margin is wider because costs have decreased – the idea behind “lean manufacturing” practices. Thus, more money is conserved within the company and invested in the community. [Read more…]

Five Microfinance Options for Americans

In Reaching for Economies of Scale we discussed how small businesses might band together and share resources to cut costs and maximize profits. But  in order for a system of small businesses to thrive each one must first begin. It’s old news that about 80 percent of small businesses fail. Less often do we hear about the microfinance options that may have helped them stay afloat. Microfinance Options for Americans

Developing countries have been helped tremendously by systems of microfinance. Communities of men, and more often women, can lend each other money and resources in order to get their various small enterprises going. As they pay each other back and make profit, they can take their profits to the bank. Savings allows a measure of financial security and stability previously unknown to such impoverished comnunities. Virginia’s own Virginia Tech created a game in 2013 that teaches illiterate or semiliterate women how to cooperate in a microfinance community. [Read more…]

Six Things Rural Communities Can Do About their Meth Problems

A flu epidemic can be stemmed and treated as individuals bring themselves or family members in for medical care. But a meth epidemic is much harder to stop.

As an illegal substance, there are barriers between meth addicts and cures: the risk of imprisonment, fines, loss of child custody, and stigma from the sober community. On top of this, methamphetamine affects the decision-making parts of the brain, making it physiologically and psychologically much more difficult to quit. [Read more…]

On the Meth Epidemic in Rural America

Rural Appalachia is in long-standing poverty, and wherever coal mines have been and been depleted, the land health is very poor. We have populations of people without work, without money, and in poor health. In another post we’ve seen the prevalence of opioid addiction in rural America, and in Local Costs of Meth in Montgomery County, VA we caught a glimpse of meth addiction as well.

CRIME-SCENEThe full scope of meth addiction is intimidating, however, and causes much more damage than just high costs for taxpayers. Meth addiction in rural America is a fast growing epidemic, a problem of public health more so than justice. And meth addiction poses a danger for the entire rural community. [Read more…]

The Business Case for Opening a Suboxone Clinic

Given these indications of widespread prescription opioid addiction in rural America, we investigated the possibility of opening a Suboxone clinic as one of the Rural System Groups. rs_suboxone_clinicSuboxone is an evidence-based medication treatment known for reducing crime and illegal opioid use.

Here are basics about Suboxone: [Read more…]