About the Center for Rural Affairs

We are unapologetically rural. We stand up for the small family farmer, new business owner, and rural communities.
Declare your pride in small town America!

For over 40 years, we've been a leading force engaging people to build a better rural future. We believe that where you live shouldn't determine your access to opportunity, education, and health. That's why we take rural voices to Washington, and we don't back down until we see that policies reflect the needs of all rural citizens. We live for this work. Welcome to our rural movement.

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It Starts...

We breathed fire and ran on unrefined youthful energy. It was 1973. Our founders, Don Ralston and Marty Strange, captured our early history here (recommended reading!).

We knew that if we wanted federal policy to work for rural Americans, we had to raise our voice. So we opened shop in an old storefront in rural Nebraska and put nose-to-grindstone. We grew a rural grassroots community. We spoke up about corporate wrongs against family farmers. We took rural voices to Washington. 

We believed we would succeed. It was hard work, but our passion kept us standing strong for rural Americans. And now, we’re over 30,000 and growing across the nation. We’re proud of our track record of successes. See a timeline with some of our major accomplishments here.

As long as rural advocates are needed for health care, clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and community development, you can bet we’ll be in the front lines, building a bright rural future.

Make yourself at home and take look around! We look forward to working with you for rural Americans.

About the Center for Rural Affairs Notes


You're Invited to Have Twice the Impact!

What was your least favorite school lunch growing up? Mine was salisbury steak. It was a strange textured mystery meat, coated in slick, salty gravy, and served with instant mashed potatoes- a true cafeteria atrocity I hope my kids will never have to eat. Our Farm to School program tries to make sure of that.

Farm to School is a national movement that encourages schools to serve locally grown food from partnering farmers. Our Farm to School effort has helped save over 140,000 children from these meals in 2015 alone.