Rural advocates honored by Center for Rural Affairs

Small Towns

 Rhea Landholm, communications manager,, 402.687.2100 ext. 1025; Teresa Hoffman, senior communications associate,, 402.687.2100 ext. 1012

LYONS, NEBRASKA – The Center for Rural Affairs has announced recognition of outstanding people and entities in two states.

“Each year, we honor the rural champions who help us accomplish so much for rural America,” said Brian Depew, executive director. “This group of award winners have gone above and beyond to lay the foundation for a better rural future.”

Awards include:

Seventh Generation Award: Denise O’Brien and Larry Harris, Rolling Acres Farm, Atlantic, Iowa, for lifetime service in making major contributions in improving rural life and protecting our land and water.

Citizenship Award: Will Corman, Superior, Nebraska, for working closely with the Center to advance public policies that strengthen family farms, ranches, and rural communities.

Rural Community Champion Award: Candi Benge, Gibbon, Nebraska, for making extraordinary contributions in building community engagement within her own communities around nutrition education and food sovereignty.

Entrepreneur Award (two businesses): Rachael Barlow and Heather Veik, owners of River Mill Coffee Co. in Neligh, Nebraska, and Maria Dolores Arias Villalpando, owner of Laundry Mex in Grand Island, Nebraska, for receiving the Center's services and achieving remarkable success in business while demonstrating the values of innovation, community leadership, and social responsibility.

Entrepreneur Partner Award: Maricela Novoa, of Educational Service Unit #10 in Kearney, Nebraska, for demonstrating outstanding support for the Center and exceptional dedication to small business development through technical assistance, business training, lending, and networking across rural Nebraska.

Awards will be presented to each recipient this spring.

The Center for Rural Affairs works to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.