Rocky Ford, Colorado, has been named the poorest town in the state, according to a 2023 study by 24/7 Wall St. The median household income in Rocky Ford is $29,822, compared to the state average of $80,184. Over 37% of households in Rocky Ford receive SNAP benefits, and the median household value is $81,900.
Rocky Ford is located in Otero County, Colorado, and has a population of over 3,800 people. The town is known for its agricultural industry, particularly its cantaloupes. However, the agricultural industry has been struggling in recent years, and Rocky Ford has been hit hard.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to Rocky Ford’s poverty. One factor is the decline of the agricultural industry. Another factor is the lack of economic diversity in Rocky Ford. The town is heavily reliant on agriculture, and there are few other major employers. Additionally, Rocky Ford is located in a rural area, which can make it difficult to attract new businesses and residents.
Decline of the agricultural industry
The agricultural industry has been struggling in recent years, due to a number of factors, including:
- Increased competition from other states and countries
- Climate change
- Labor shortages
Rocky Ford is facing increased competition from other states and countries that produce cantaloupes, such as California, Arizona, and Mexico. These states and countries have lower production costs, which allows them to sell their cantaloupes at a lower price than Rocky Ford can.
Climate change is also making it more difficult to grow cantaloupes in Rocky Ford. The town is experiencing more extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, which can damage crops.
The agricultural industry in Rocky Ford is also facing labor shortages. This is making it difficult for farmers to find enough workers to pick and harvest their crops.
Lack of economic diversity
Rocky Ford is heavily reliant on agriculture, and there are few other major employers. This lack of economic diversity makes the town vulnerable to economic shocks. For example, if the agricultural industry struggles, the entire town is affected.
Rocky Ford is located in a rural area, which can make it difficult to attract new businesses and residents. Rural areas often have less access to resources and opportunities than urban areas.
Other factors that have contributed to Rocky Ford’s poverty include:
- High cost of living
- Limited access to education and training
- Social problems
- Lack of investment
What can be done?
It is important to address the factors that have contributed to Rocky Ford’s poverty in order to help the town and its residents. This will require a concerted effort from the government, businesses, and community organizations.
The government can provide financial assistance to businesses and residents, invest in education and training programs, and address social problems. Businesses can create new jobs and invest in the community. Community organizations can provide services to residents and advocate for change.
By working together, the government, businesses, and community organizations can help Rocky Ford to overcome its challenges and build a better future for its residents.