About the Center for Rural Affairs

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

For more than 40 years, we've been a leading force engaging people to build a better rural future. We live this work. Welcome to our rural revolution.

Join our newsletter list to learn about what's happening in rural America and at the Center!

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

 

Annual Report 2016 - It's a 2017 Wall Calendar

Our 2016 annual report is a 2017 wall calendar. This calendar illustrates month-by-month the accomplishments you helped us achieve in the last year. With your help, new immigrants have a stronger sense of home in their new communities, more businesses are open in our small towns, and rural people across the country are making their voices heard. Your donations and your actions helped lift the future of the Center and the people we serve.

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You are the force that makes our values come alive

As we close out the year, I wanted to share some reflections on our work.

1. Center staff, board and grassroots supporters are fantastic people - As I crisscross the state and the country visiting with Center folks, I’ve come to see how deeply you care about your community. You are passionate about everyone having opportunity no matter where they live or who they are. And many of you dig deep each year to make a gift that supports our cause. You are fantastic.

Sandoval receives Outstanding Service Award

Juan Sandoval, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) Latino Business Center director, received the 2016 Outstanding Service Award from the Nebraska Entrepreneurship Task Force on Nov. 17 at the Innovation Campus in Lincoln.

The award recognizes individuals or organizations that have demonstrated and sustained outstanding leadership and advocacy for entrepreneurship education and/or business development services in Nebraska.

10 things I have learned in my 10 years with the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project

1. Small business is BIG business in rural areas (90 percent of the businesses have 10 and fewer full-time employees).

2. Staff within REAP and its partner Rural Investment Corporation, a certified Community Development Financial Institution, are not afraid to take a good, hard look at what they are doing and evaluate if it is indeed what our market needs.