Mail service essential to rural America

Dave Bergmeier

The U.S. Postal Service has been the headliner in the news instead of delivering periodicals for rural residents. We have received far too many stories about unexpected and lengthy delivery delays of High Plains Journal, local newspapers, medications, bank statements, bills or birthday cards.

The most recent news involves Louis DeJoy, USPS postmaster general and CEO, who recently testified to Congress as he made a commitment to make sure mail-in ballots will be counted in a timely manner for the Nov. 3 presidential election. Just as important is efficient delivery of all mail.

Rural lawmakers and those who live in rural areas are rightfully concerned when they hear stories about delays in delivery and “changes in efficiency” that only will worsen the problem.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operation. According to its website,, it has an annual operating revenue of more than $71 billion and delivers 48% of the world’s mail. It has more than 630,000 employees. It also has been in red ink as noted by the Postal Service Inspector General. In July, DeJoy, said reform legislation from Congress and pricing reform from the Postal Regulatory Commission has not occurred the past four years and that has stifled progress on efficiency.

The Postal Service began with the Second Continental Congress and Benjamin Franklin in 1775, and our Founding Fathers made the Postal Service a permanent fixture of the federal government. The USPS states, “Legislation included provisions to facilitate freedom of the press, the privacy of personal correspondence and expand the nation’s physical infrastructure, all vital to our nation’s growth and prosperity.”

With that edict, consolidation of Postal Service operations must not come at the price of service to rural communities. Reducing personnel or consolidating processing centers will likely be a long-term plan for failure.

Some people say that’s the way it is but it does not have to be that way. It requires all of us to be a good listener and understand problems the USPS faces. We should advocate for retention of delivery and services because they are as essential as broadband technology to the long-term success of rural communities.

We need to understand COVID-19 impacted the Postal Service as rural communities depended more on package delivery of goods and services. No one could foresee that change as a result of the pandemic, which also doubled down by cutting into stamp sales, the most important revenue source for post offices, according to U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, who has been a long-time advocate of retention of rural postal services. He has correctly noted that the postal service needs time to adjust to changes in package delivery and that means looking at the current fleet of vehicles for the USPS.

In rural areas, there are many employees who need the work to supplement jobs in light of reduced farm income and in the High Plains there are a countless number of farmers and ranchers who remembered taking a job at the post office while establishing their operations. That stabilizes household income.

The post office remains the front door for many rural Americans who put their trust in men and women to make sure publications, personal correspondence, bills and packages are delivered in a timely manner.

At High Plains Journal we also offer subscribers access to our digital edition to ensure timely delivery of news and advertisements. Subscribers are encouraged to reach out to us at 800-353-1841 or go to for more information about the service we provide that can help. A short-term solution could be a digital edition subscription. We are also keeping track of missed papers so if you have missed two or more editions please let us know.

At the same point we need to make sure the USPS remains a vital and timely service to rural America. The High Plains needs this service that is essential to our infrastructure and rural fabric.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].