Center for Rural Affairs January and February newsletter

Note from the Editor

This edition of our newsletter focuses on genuine OPPORTUNITY for all to earn a living, raise a family, and prosper in a rural place.

Brian writes about current opportunities that may be slipping away from rural citizens. As they stand at the time of print, both tax bills in Congress benefit the wealthy and large corporations, while doing little for everyday people and small town development.

We learn about USDA’s beginning farmer and rancher program that focuses on training opportunities. A recent report found this program reached 60,000 beginners in nine years.

We are working hand-in-hand with two Native American communities to examine their food systems. Alongside the Santee Sioux Tribe, we released a report in November. Residents are coming up with opportunities of access to fresh and traditional food, including more gardens and local markets.

We recently were awarded a large grant for lending capital. This adds to the existing capital we have available to loan to small businesses in Nebraska. We are looking to rebalance the scales of opportunity, building inclusive and vibrant communities.

My colleagues, Jordan and Carlos, sit down to talk about their inclusion work. They explain that inclusion is making sure everyone in a community has an opportunity to participate, and chat about the conversations they have with community leaders.

Lastly, we hear about Daniels Produce, a farm that found Whole Farm Revenue Protection to be an answer to their problems. The program is a new form of crop insurance that allows farmers and ranchers to insure commodities they couldn’t insure before, such as small grains crop, fruits and vegetables, even livestock.

Many opportunities are found throughout our work; this is just an example of some of the projects we’re working on. Be sure to visit our website for more:

Inside this issue

Rebuilding Sovereign food systems – Prior to European colonization efforts, the Santee Sioux people in northeast Nebraska were a “food sovereign” nation – they existed in a closed loop system in which they provided for themselves, by their own efforts, from their own land, and without dependence on outside governments and systems. 

Keeping communities vibrant through forward thinking – For hundreds of years, immigration has shaped U.S. history. And, it continues to shape America, especially in rural areas. Jordan and Carlos recently sat down to chat about our inclusion work.

Whole Farm Revenue Protection: A risk management tool for diversified farms – Daniels Produce found Whole Farm Revenue Protection to be an answer to a problem many diversified producers face: the inability to receive crop insurance coverage for a variety of crops they grow.

Successful USDA program aids beginning farmers – The 2008 farm bill introduced U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) first – and so far only – program focused on the next generation of farmers: the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The Center for Rural Affairs was a leader in designing, writing, and winning the program. A new report documents the success of the program in offering training opportunities to new farmers and ranchers.

$665,000 more available in lending capital – Recently, we learned of a $665,000 grant awarded to our Rural Investment Corporation for lending capital. The Rural Investment Corporation is a subsidiary of the Center for Rural Affairs that is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). 

From the desk of the executive director: Passage of tax bill puts rural priorities at risk – The tax bill secured final passage just as we went to press with our January/February newsletter. The Center opposed the bill and we called on Congress to return the bill to committee for further debate and deliberation.

Staff spotlight: Eberle serves east central small businesses – The Center for Rural Affairs recently hired Craig Eberle, of Bradshaw, Nebraska, as a small business loan specialist. Eberle’s role is to work with new and existing small businesses to help them develop business plans, obtain funding, and receive training.

2018 Nebraska Legislative Policy Priorities

2018 Iowa Legislative Policy Priorities

Save the date – Answering the Call: Veteran Farmer Conference is March 24 in Hastings, Neb.


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