Rural areas account for the majority of land area in the United States, are home to 15% of the population, and contribute significantly to the national economy and well-being. Given the wide range of geographic locations across the United States, these communities are routinely subjected to extreme loads and natural hazards including earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes resulting in considerable losses every single year. These losses are due, in part, to a lack of knowledge regarding the response of rural infrastructure to extreme loads and how this response contributes to the resilience of rural communities. In this context, physical infrastructure is defined as the basic physical structures needed for the rural community. In addition to the well-studied buildings and power/water networks, rural infrastructure predominantly includes agricultural support and production systems in many communities, such as storage silos and center pivot irrigation systems. This paper aims to address these gaps in knowledge through three primary research tasks. First, a digital reconnaissance survey is presented highlighting the numerous occurrences, geographic distribution, and significant extent of hazard damage to rural infrastructure throughout the United States from January through August 2018. Second, a detailed reconnaissance survey of an individual rural community in Nebraska is presented. This community was hit by a strong windstorm, in which more than 50% of its irrigation systems and storage silos were severely damaged. Results from this detailed reconnaissance include ground and UAV-based videos and images documenting the various damage and failure mechanisms. The final aspect of this paper aims to address the lack of knowledge regarding the performance of uniquely rural infrastructure and begin to assess methods to mitigate such damage. For this aspect of the study, the focus is narrowed to the steel storage silo, which is widely utilized in both individual farms and agricultural cooperatives. To this end, a parametric study of steel storage silos is presented through finite element analyses conducted within LS-DYNA accounting for both buckling and uplifting based failures. The results are presented highlighting the most critical configurations and offering insight into potential methods of mitigation.