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.

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!

 We have offices in three main locations: Lyons, Nebraska, at 145 Main St., PO Box 136; Nevada, Iowa, at 1400 Fawcett Parkway, Suite D2; and Hartington, Nebraska, at 106 N. Broadway, PO Box 736; as well as in-home offices throughout Nebraska.

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


2017 Annual Report & 2018 Wall Calendar

This 2018 calendar illustrates month-by-month the accomplishments you helped us achieve in 2017. With your help, small businesses are open and expanding; food systems are created and thriving; 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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From the desk of the executive director: Where have all the bankers gone?

The Center for Rural Affairs first examined consolidation in the banking industry in a 1978 report, “Where Have All the Bankers Gone?”. We have long understood the critical link between credit, who has access, who doesn’t, and how it shapes communities.

That’s why a recent report in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. It detailed how banking in rural communities has fared in the years since the financial crisis. 

Your 2018 Advocacy Toolkit

Do you know what happens in September 2018? The entire federal farm bill expires.

That means the end of critical programs that support beginning farmers, conservation, and small town development, unless we act now to urge Congress to renew them with a new farm bill this year. This action kit outlines critical priorities for farm bill renewal.

Value of rural communities weighed at conference

What do you love about rural communities? We asked attendees of the Practical Farmers of Iowa’s annual conference last month, when they stopped by our Center for Rural Affairs booth.

“Neighbors invest their time, talents, and equipment to improve my farm, and vice versa.”

“The ability/willingness of the community to come together in times of need.”

“Connections and supporting small businesses.”

“Close-knit community of friends.”

“Farmer wave.”