Childhood experiences spark lifelong passion for rural living

Rural places are close to my heart because I have seen the value of them firsthand. I am from Monticello, Iowa, which is a town of about 4,000 people, three stop lights, and one grocery store. Growing up, driving 35 minutes to see a movie used to frustrate me. But, as I’ve gotten older, I have truly been able to see the value of my town and what the way of life contributes to people.

Spending time on my grandparents’ and uncle’s farms began my love of agriculture and the living it provides. Summers during my childhood consisted of my sister and I staying at my uncle’s farm. We spent our days riding horses, jumping on hay bales, swimming in the river behind my grandpa’s timber, and playing hide and seek around the farm. I remember always being so sad as a child when it was time to go home; there was nowhere as great or magical as the farm. So, when it came time for me to decide where I wanted my career path to go, I knew I wanted to work with farmers and rural people.

Growing up on a family farm gave me an appreciation for rural people and who they are. Rural areas are not only a source of agriculture and food, but a way of life that is enriching, unique, and full of character. Rural people value hard work, providing for their family and caring for their close-knit community.

At the Center for Rural Affairs, I have been able to live my dream of helping farmers and rural communities. I have had the opportunity to speak to dozens of farmers about their triumphs and challenges and find out what they need to be successful. Working on projects such as letters to the editor and fact sheets helps farmers by spreading their message and making sure they are heard.

I love working for the Center because it is so evident that everyone here has a passion for helping rural people. The scope of the work we do reaches into every aspect of rural life – small business, farming, clean energy, and local food, to name a few. I am grateful and proud every day to work for an organization where I can make a difference in something I care so much for.

Lacie is a policy program assistant at the Center for Rural Affairs, beginning as an intern in June 2017. She works in our Nevada, Iowa, office. She is a senior at Iowa State University studying Agriculture and Society and Public Relations.

Feature photo: Lacie is pictured (center) with her cousin and grandfather. | Photo submitted by Lacie Dotterweich