16+ Years of Faithful Service to Rural America

For our #tbt Throwback Thursday article, we thought we’d share a look back to March 1990, and a newsletter article marking the 200th edition of the Center for Rural Affairs Newsletter and 16 years of publishing the news.

It began, “Something you can count on. That’s what we want the Newsletter to be. Over the years We’ve tried to keep it basic, simple, and informative.”

The first edition came out in August 1973. The lead story reported on a Wisconsin study debunking a USDA report that found that corporate farms were no threat. We reported to our alarm  that an 80-acre parcel in Iowa sold for the astounding amount of $925 per acre.

We also reported, much to our delight, that a Rural Action Group had formed in Northeast Nebraska  to promote legislation controlling corporate farms. This later became the strongest corporate farming law in the nation, Initiative 300.

“We thought that first edition was pretty good, and we waited for the public response. There wasn’t any. ‘Give them a few months,’ we said. After a few editions, we finally got a postcard from a reader. He asked us not to staple the folded newsletter because it was wasteful and inconvenient! Oh well, at least one person was unfolding it.

“We still worry about whether the newsletter provides the service we hope it does. And we’re always glad to hear from readers, compliments or criticism. Last month, a farmer called to tell us there are a lot of people who, like himself, get a monthly dose of encouragement just knowing the Center is ‘out there’ and that the newsletter will be coming soon, and that we’ll have all made it one more month.”

Nowadays we reach you lots of ways: email, social media, and in your mailbox. And our goal remains to be simple, basic, and informative. Something you can count on.

You can see our newsletters here, and sign up for a subscription here.

Feature image: This archive photo of Center for Rural Affairs co-founder Marty Strange captures both the easy atmosphere and the focused concentration that characterize the organization. It was taken in Walthill, Nebraska, in 1975.