Madelyn Beck

The old hospital in Syracuse, Nebraska, was built in 1952.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media file photo

Rural hospitals aren’t just providers of medicine and health care, but also are often major employers and a massive part of a town’s tax base. However, mounting challenges are forcing these hospitals to merge and close in droves.

Madelyn Beck / Harvest Public Media

Fields, crops and farm animals are part of the agriculture-industry landscape, but an increasingly small one.

The number of farm and ranch managers shrunk by about 20 percent between 1996 and 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. At the same time, there are more students graduating from ag colleges, and, in many parts of the country, 80 percent to 90 percent of them find a job (or go for an advanced degree) within a few months of graduating.