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.

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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


REAP loans almost 2 million dollars to small businesses in FY 2016

Fiscal Year 2016 was a record-setting year for Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP). In 2016, we placed and leveraged over $2.9 million in loans and reached significant numbers of women and Latino entrepreneurs across Nebraska.

We are respected nationally as an outstanding microenterprise development program that serves rural entrepreneurs and small businesses in Nebraska. REAP is the largest rural microenterprise development program in the United States.

The complexity of agriculture guided Anna to the Center

I grew up in the mid-size town of Annapolis, Md. The similarities to rural life were few. I was outside early every morning, but it was to catch the school bus because my high school of 1,100 kids started at 7:17 a.m. We went swimming in the local creek in the summer, but it was in the calm spot between two well-trafficked bridges. So how, after a childhood primarily filled with reading indoors, did I come to love rural places and decide to work at the Center for Rural Affairs?