Earthquakes occur in an instant, but their consequences extend over time. . Although earthquakes are relatively rare in the central United States, it helps to think ahead about the recovery process, so as to minimize the consequences of the next major earthquake. To that end, this paper draws lessons from several cases of recovery following disasters in agricultural communities in developed countries, because they are relevant to the future post-earthquake experiences of towns and small cities across the Central U.S. These cases are: the devastating 1993 Mississippi River floods; the 1993 tsunami in Okushiri Island, Japan; the 2004 tornado in Utica, Illinois; and the 2004 earthquake in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. These cases suggest that communities in Mid-America will have a difficult time financing their reconstruction following an earthquake and are likely to see reductions in population; these effects can be reduced, however, by actively engaging in community planning before the disaster.