On March 18, 2010, The Chicago Council released a report, Past Silos and Smokestacks: Transforming the Rural Economy in the Midwest, as part of its Heartland Paper series. The report, authored by Dr. Mark Drabenstott, founding director of the Center for Regional Competitiveness at the Rural Policy Research Institute and chairman of the Territorial Development Policy Committee for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, says the rural Midwest must reinvent itself and compete in the global economy.
Drabenstott calls on towns and counties, competing with each other for industry and manufacturing jobs and investments, to join forces to spur innovation and entrepreneurship. In order to encourage new industry and job creation, the rural Midwest needs a bold new development strategy to transform its economy. It needs to “partner regionally to compete globally.”
The Chicago Council published Drabenstott's report, with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Agency, as part of its Heartland Papers series under its Global Midwest Initiative, a regional effort to promote interstate dialogue between government, business, and civic leaders about how best to respond to the effects of globalization. Heartland Papers are a monograph series that address issues and provide policy recommendations to improve regional success.