A leading force engaging people and ideas in building a better future for rural America.
I’m an urban-to-rural worker bee helping rural people pursue their dreams. I combine policy solutions with on-the-ground practices that make rural areas and their residents thrive. I hope to guide people into farming by finding creative solutions to lack of land and access to capital, health insurance, and mentors.
I grew up in South Minneapolis swimming in lakes, making big batches of basil pesto and going to Minnesota Twins baseball games. College took me to the Appalachian Mountains where I learned to do field work and log with draft horses, followed by a year spent making hay and moving cows in the Big Horns of Wyoming.
I’m now settled on the Nebraska plains, raising my son Forrest, who I hope will someday learn to farm with horsepower.
I grew up in South Minneapolis on busy 42nd Avenue. The student body of my high school was larger than the population of most towns I lived in post graduation. I was pretty anonymous, average by all accounts. I didn’t stand out.
On Jan 27, 2015, the Center for Rural Affairs and Lancaster County Farmers Union hosted an informational forum on wind energy development in Cortland, Nebraska. Cortland sits on Highway 77 about 20 miles south of Lincoln.
If you live in or around communities impacted by wind energy development, you deserve to ask questions and have your voice heard. People in Cortland and surrounding communities told us they had not had a chance to engage in a public conversation on the project.
Kerry Hoffschneider of rural Waco, Nebraska, has a vision. She wants to increase access to fresh, healthy food; care for the land; and help her community. Kerry is working with friend and business partner Del Ficke to develop a farm business.
I met Kerry at the Center for Rural Affairs’ and University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Recipe to Reality Seminar in January. I can’t get her ideas off my mind. She and nine other women farmers and entrepreneurs met for a full-day seminar hosted by UNL’s Food Processing Center.
Hallam, Nebraska, received some good news this week. Volkswind USA Inc., an international wind developer, applied for permits to build 54 wind turbines in Lancaster and Gage counties. According to a recent Lincoln Journal Star article, Volkswind says the wind farm would provide more than 200 jobs during construction, additional full-time operating jobs and about $700,000 in total property tax benefits annually to both counties. Volkswind is submitting proposals to Lincoln Electric System (LES), which is looking to add up to 100 megawatts of wind energy to their portfolio.
My town, Fremont, Nebraska, population 26,000, has an aging population. We’re no different from many small and midsized towns across rural America. By 2017, 31% of Fremont’s residents are projected to be 55 or older.
A new population of Latino immigrants has been moving to the quiet town since the late 1970s. In 1990 there were only 223 Latinos in Dodge County, where Fremont is the county seat. That number increased to approximately 1,400 in 2000 and more than 2,500 in 2012.