The farm financial crisis of the 1980s has introduced severe hardships to rural communities dependent on agriculture for their economic vitality (Heffernan and Heffernan, 1986a; Mueller, 1986; Mutdock et al., 1987). Its effects have been observed across a number of arenas. Agribusiness firms, as providers of important support services for the farm community, have suffered appreciable declines in their economic health (Hines et al., 1986; Iubbs, 1985), lending institutions have been rocked with increasing numbers of problem agricultural loans (Green et al., 1986; Melichar and Irwin, 1985; Milkove et al., 1986), and with a declining demand for goods and services, local retail establishments have witnessed a steady erosion in their volume of sales (Dillman, 1986; Ginder et al., 1985). As a result, the property tax base of many rural communities has been seriously strained, placing local government officials in a quandary regarding the maintenance of important public services (Green etal., 1986; Heffernan and Heffernan, 1986b). Recognizing the bond between the farm sector and the local community, a recent U.S. Senate Subcommittee report declared that the farm economic crisis, in combination with reduced federal and state aid, has placed many of the nation's rural communities under stress that is unmatched since the Great Depression (U.S. Senate, 1986).