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Blog Articles & Stories

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

Many of us have changed the way we purchase and prepare our food over the past 12 months. Families now spend more time cooking at home. We are learning that local meat provides a better and more affordable alternative to the big box store.
  • Farm and Food
When Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth ran for the Nebraska Legislature in 2018, improving broadband service in rural areas was one of the issues at the top of his priority list. But, his first attempt at...
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Business
  • Small Towns
The Watchful Citizen “The salvation of the state is in the watchfulness of the citizen.” —Hartley Burr Alexander The past two weeks have seen continued floor debate on bills, agency confirmations, and...
  • Environment
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Business
  • Small Towns
Last week marked the 12th week of the 2021 Iowa legislative session. On Friday, the second funnel deadline came and went. This deadline means that bills from one chamber must have made it out of the committee of another to remain alive.
  • Environment
  • Farm and Food
The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG), a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant program available for farmers and ranchers, has received a major funding increase, a lower match requirement, and an application extension.
  • Farm and Food
South Dakota’s meat supply chain has experienced significant disruptions because of the COVID-19 pandemic and small meat processors are under incredible strain. Due to increased demands, reservations at local meat lockers have increased from 4-6 weeks in advance to 20-24 months, creating hardships for livestock producers needing to process their animals.
  • Farm and Food
Rural small businesses have two more months to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), to keep their workforce employed and to cover normal operating expenses during this ongoing COVID-19...
  • Small Business
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award is presented annually to an individual or individuals who best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that is so crucial to the future prosperity of Nebraska’s rural communities. This organization has demonstrated outstanding support for the Center for Rural Affairs and exceptional dedication to small business development through technical assistance, business training, lending, and networking across rural Nebraska.
  • Small Business
Paul Swanson joined the Board in 1995, and says a gathering in Brewster, Nebraska, holds extra significance for him.
  • Small Towns
Residents of Santee, Nebraska, were offered a unique opportunity in December 2020 that not only provided some holiday cheer to those who participated, it served as a potential small business venture as well.
  • Small Towns
Over the past 12 months, we have lost many of the small businesses that make our communities whole. Thousands more have been forced to delay planned investment and pause plans for future growth.
  • Small Business
Before finishing cosmetology school, Jennifer Hill had a dream to be a business owner and open her own salon. With the drive and determination to make that dream a reality, she started looking into what it would take to start her own business. Jennifer reached out to a contact at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension office and received guidance on where to begin, including how to make a business plan.
  • Small Business
Growing up in North Dakota on a small hobby-type ranch, Dean Dauphinais became interested in farming at a young age. Dean is now an honorably discharged Marine Corps veteran and has relocated to...
  • Farm and Food
School districts and organizations across Nebraska are putting a renewed emphasis on food—not only which food students eat, but where it comes from and what the students know about it.
  • Farm and Food
As the operator of a small local meat locker, I find that the goal of our day-to-day work is not to get our product to a big-box grocery store customer. Instead, we do our best to create a quality food that our neighbors, family, friends and farmers can be proud of.
  • Farm and Food
Last week marked the 10th week of the 2021 Iowa legislative session. On Friday, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met and projected a revenue increase of $109 million, reaching a total of $8.079 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2021, which ends on June 30, 2021. For FY 2022, which ends on June 30, 2022, the REC increased the revenue estimate to $8.385 billion, an increase of $120 million compared to the December estimate.
  • Environment
  • Farm and Food
It has been a good couple of weeks for the Center’s priority bills. Legislative Bill (LB) 324, which would amend the state’s meat and poultry inspection law to make it easier to buy meat from local farmers, passed General File (the first vote) 46-0. It has advanced to the Select File stage; after one more round of review, it will be moved to a final reading and vote.
  • Environment
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Business
  • Small Towns
​​​​​​​Bonnie Haugen believes the better she takes care of her part of the world, the better it is for herself and those around her.
  • Environment
  • Farm and Food
Rural America is vastly different from how it was in the early 1990s, but one constant has been the Center for Rural Affairs’ core values. They have been upheld and have remained strong since their inception. That’s why, for nearly 30 years, Keith Mahaney has lent his voice to the Center for Rural Affairs Board of Directors.
  • Small Towns
In mid-February, a large swath of the Midwest and Great Plains faced extreme cold and winter weather. While many states, including Nebraska, were impacted, Texas was by far the hardest hit by these events.
  • Environment