About the Center for Rural Affairs

We are unapologetically rural. We stand up for the small family farmer, new business owner, and rural communities. 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.

Join us today.

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

 

Unapologetically Rural: Annual Report 2014

It’s an exciting time to be in rural America. (We should know to because our organization has been living and working here for over 40 years). Our work projects and work areas span from community arts projects to small business loans to advocating for policy areas like conservation, farming, energy, and health care. Just as rural America is a diverse place, so is the toolset at the Center for Rural Affairs.

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Challenges that Shaped the Center’s Character

It’s Throwback Thursday (#tbt). Here's an article by Center Co-founder Marty Strange for a special 25th Anniversary Edition of the Center for Rural Affairs Newsletter.

What happens when you speak truth to power, which has been the Center’s habit over the years? You get whooped a lot. And you learn a lot. In 23 years with the Center, and since, I’ve had plenty of occasion to reflect on the challenges that have shaped the Center’s character. Here are a few thoughts about the lessons we’ve learned from facing those challenges. 

Creating Jobs and Self Sufficiency Through Self-Employment

Microenterprise and microfinance have the power to empower people and transform lives. The concept was pioneered in 1976 by Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The bank was established for the purpose of making small loans to the poor − predominantly women – to help them obtain economic self-sufficiency.

"You're looking pretty rural!”

My sweet former neighbors and landlords must have be feeling festive, or feisty at least. They called out to me, "Hey, Erin! You're looking pretty rural!" I was crossing the yard, headed home from a veggie delivery run, but turned back with the “What?!” response you'd expect. I mean, who says that? And what does it even mean?! Does everyone think I look rural? Is that my look, RURAL?!