Linster hired as Center for Rural Affairs policy director

Small Towns

Jillian Linster, policy director,, 402.687.2100, ext. 1018; Teresa Hoffman, senior communications associate,, 402.687.2100, ext. 1012

LYONS, NEBRASKA – Jillian Linster, of Pender, Nebraska, was recently named policy director with the Center for Rural Affairs.

Linster joined the Center in May 2023 as the assistant policy director and served as interim policy director before her recent appointment. The Center’s policy work spans the nation and is focused in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

“After stepping into the interim role last fall, Jillian quickly demonstrated the skills and capacities necessary to lead the Center’s policy program in the long term,” said Brian Depew, Center executive director. “I look forward to seeing Jillian’s leadership as our staff continue to develop, coordinate, and execute strategies that advance the Center’s state and federal policy objectives.”

Before joining the Center, Linster taught at the University of South Dakota, where she worked with students who often wrote impassioned essays about the climate crisis, equality, conservation, health care access, and food systems.

Linster said the students' insistence on the need for change inspired her to want to do more about the crucial dilemmas facing current and future generations, which led her to the Center.  

“Serving as policy director gives me the opportunity to draw on my diverse experiences to advance our goals of values, worth, and action while supporting a group of exceptional people in their tireless dedication to strong rural communities,” she said. “I enjoy working with my colleagues to advance state and federal policies that improve the lives of rural residents and open new possibilities for our local communities.”

Linster is based in the Center’s Lyons, Nebraska office; reach her at 402.687.2100, ext. 1018, or