This study is primarily concerned with the general issue of what role local governmental agencies have played in rural development in South Korea and will not attempt a systematic consideration of either central-local or government-citizen relations. Both of these topics are germane to our more general analysis, however, and will receive some attention within a broader context. The approach will be largely descriptive, and while some provocative conclusions will be suggested, the author must emphasize the limited scope of his field work and the fact that any study of a nation that is undergoing rapid social and economic change cannot avoid the limitations of a restricted time frame of analysis. The study is divided into two parts. The first part examines in aggregate terms the role that agriculture has played in the South Korean economy after first setting down the major institutional arrangements for local government and rural development in recent Korean history. From this macro-level survey of rural local institutions and rural development, the study proceeds to examine the findings of a field trip to two rural counties. Based on the micro-level analysis drawn from this field study, some general conclusions concerning the role of local governing institutions in rural development in South Korea is presented.