Big machinery

William Maxey, the foreman and compactor operator, shields himself from a dust storm as he waits for the arrival of more trucks of fill dirt to fill a trench his crew dug to install water lines in rural Lowndes County, Miss., where a water system extension has been financed by the USDA Rural Development to enable the county to continue expanding its new industrial park which it hopes to transform into an Aerospace cluster outside of Columbus, Miss. Officials with the Obama administration are counting on projects like this one. The administration has pumped billions of dollars into rural areas to help struggle economies as it try to make rural development a crucial part of its economic development and job creation policy. While the nation as a whole continues to suffer from high unemployment and economic stagnation, rural areas in particular have been hard hit. Data from the Census Bureau shows that rural continues to have higher number of people in poverty than more urban areas. And rural advocates say their problems are excerbated by an aging population and an outmigration of young people.