Niobrara Nebraska from nearby hill

Blog Articles & Stories

What's happening with the Center for Rural Affairs? Find the latest on rural America and our work here.

Rural America has faced a series of major disturbances in the past few years and those can take a toll on mental health, especially for farmers and ranchers and their families.
  • Farm and Food
Center staff and Board spent the past year developing a set of principles to help guide our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. In adopting these principles at our recent Board meeting...
  • Small Towns
This summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun accepting applications for two important programs for rural development. The first is the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC)...
  • Small Business
  • Small Towns
One of the biggest issues beginning farmers and ranchers often face when starting out is access to land they can afford. On the opposite side of things, retiring landowners who don’t have family or anyone they trust to pass their land on to are stuck trying to find someone to carry on the agricultural legacy they built.
  • Farm and Food
As a child, Karen Tikalsky believed good would prevail over evil. As an adult, she learned that creating opportunity and meaningful life in rural America requires hard work, embracing responsibility...
  • Small Towns
The passage of bills supporting small meat processors and livestock producers was a common theme as the 2021 legislative sessions in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota came to an end.
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Towns
Last month, President Joe Biden unveiled his full budget for fiscal year 2022. The annual release—a formal request by the administration to Congress for funding for government programs—was several months behind schedule, likely due to the change in administration and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Environment
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Business
  • Small Towns
The feeling didn’t happen overnight. In fact, my appreciation for local, rural communities developed over many years. I was born and raised in a growing and thriving small town that offered a plethora...
  • Small Towns
Minnesota is known for extreme weather, but climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of unfavorable weather events. This June, Minnesota has felt like a convection oven, with record...
  • Environment
Across the country, states have been innovative in finding ways to integrate the goals of eliminating hunger and strengthening local food systems, according to a white paper released by the Center for...
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Towns
Last fall, nearly two years after voter approval, Nebraska expanded Medicaid coverage to adults earning less than 138% of the federal poverty level, or about $17,000 per year. While this was good news...
  • Rural Health
Even with full-time jobs and full lives, Brandon and Lisa Hixon wanted to contribute more to their hometown of Chappell, Nebraska. “We wanted to give something to the town that we thought would make...
  • Small Business
It’s widespread knowledge that clean energy has taken its place in the spotlight over the past decade. What’s less known, however, is the rate at which coal plants are going dark. As renewable energy...
  • Environment
With more than 36 languages spoken in Schuyler, Nebraska, population 6,211, community organizations, businesses, and volunteers have pitched in to assist at the weekly COVID-19 vaccination clinic...
  • Small Towns
As Iowa begins writing the next chapter of our clean energy future, Linn County has arisen as an attractive location for renewable energy projects, such as utility-scale solar. In light of the public dialogue surrounding potential solar energy projects in Linn County, it is important to note that these projects can be both a tool for promoting economic development and investing in the conservation of our natural resources, namely soil and water.
  • Environment
With more and more people looking to buy their meat from local providers, small town meat lockers don’t have the capacity to keep up with demand. During the 2021 legislative session, the Center for Rural Affairs successfully advanced bills that would boost small meat processors looking to grow and improve their operations, which is a vital step in addressing issues in local processing and supporting the growth of rural economies.
  • Farm and Food
Born and raised in various Midwestern farming communities, and currently living in Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska, Nancy Meyer has called rural America home for most of her life.
  • Small Towns
Many beginning entrepreneurs have questions and unknowns that can lead to doubt and, ultimately, giving up.
  • Small Business
  • Small Towns
Rural Americans often don’t receive the same resources or opportunities as those in more urban areas. Amanda McKinney of Beatrice, Nebraska, is working hard to change that. As a physician, Doane...
  • Small Towns
Eighteen months into the pandemic many group gatherings, including farm tours, continue to be postponed or altered. So instead of having an audience come to the farm, we’ve brought the farm to you, including filmed conversations with members of a producer organization called Women in Local Food and Farming.
  • Farm and Food