From what I have observed, there is a palpable disconnect between academia and the “real world,” including rural America. Partly to blame is our system of higher education and what we have traditionally valued in academia (we are “doctors of philosophy” not technicians or engineers, and certainly not farmers). Part of it is, yes, our system of tenure, which forces many into a frenzy to publish or perish. This pushes many academics to jump from topic to topic, going with whatever is trendy at the time so they can say they made a “contribution,” the whole time making their vitas longer and heavier but producing very little of use to those of us on the ground.
The article is insightful because of the national conversation growing louder about urban vs. rural issues. Recommended reading.
P.S. The Daily Yonder also has an enlightening piece about Choctaw Chief Phillip Martin, who recently passed away.