Rural Leaders Say Planning, Support Key to Growth

WASHINGTON (AP) - Witnesses are telling a Senate panel that rural communities need to sell what they are, not what they are not in order to thrive economically.     They also say government support is important for growth and that small cities and towns should band together to maximize their potential.  A subcommittee of the Senate Agriculture Committee focused Thursday on how to boost rural economies. Witnesses included business and community leaders from North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.  Mark Tilsen is the chief executive officer of Native American Natural Foods based in Kyle, South Dakota. He says his company has studied other rural businesses to plan for success.  But he says that for his business to succeed, the government has to follow through on programs designed to boost rural economies.