[Excerpt] For over a century, governmental programs and policies have influenced both the demand and the supply forces that operate in rural labor markets. These interventions emerged as logical responses to growing and more complex economic problems in an increasingly interdependent national and world industrial order. Thus, the evolutionary role of government has not been an ideological issue as much as it has been a pragmatic reaction of a nation seeking to build a just society. Viewed in this context, it is not surprising that governmental involvement has included new initiatives and increased support for ongoing programs followed by periods of retrenchment and reduced commitment. In the 1980s the political cycle entered a retrenchment in the government's role in both the rural and urban economies. But, with many old problems still unresolved and a host of new challenges confronting the rural economy, a more activist period may be on the horizon.