Farm and Food News

Conservation Going Strong in Sandhills

Over the past decade, high commodities prices have encouraged and accelerated the conversion of our native grasslands to cultivated cropland. According to the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), between 2011 and 2012, nearly 400,000 acres of grassland and other non-cropland across the United States were plowed up or otherwise converted to cropland.

Rural Food Business Growth: A Tool for Rural Vibrancy

Have you heard about the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Food Business Growth Project aimed at 5 counties in northeast Nebraska? What exactly does it mean? We invite you to dream with us on a food system vision.

You may ask, “Aren’t we already doing our part to feed the world?” I challenge this idea, when we import produce and meats from other states to the grocery stores where most of us purchase food.

Retracing the Steps

Stephanie Bertagnoli once said she would never move back to Nebraska. After growing up on a conventional farm in Utica she left for Colorado Christian University near Denver, where she met her husband Tim, a “city boy.” She thought that’s where they would stay, until one day when she was driving home to Nebraska during calving season.

Farming Fits Veterans and Veterans Fit Farming

The Center for Rural Affairs has focused on beginning farmers since 1990, when we analyzed the changing age of farmers. In 2009 we noticed an increasing number of inquiries from military veterans about how to start farming, while asking what special help they could get.

The military veterans who sought our advice had the same needs as other new farmers: access to land, financing and information. But they also brought new issues: disabilities, returning to civilian life, a drive to help fellow veterans, a powerful sense of wanting to be of service to their country.

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