About the Center for Rural Affairs News

Staff spotlight: Center welcomes chief administrative officer

Newly hired as chief administrative officer for the Center for Rural Affairs, Linda Butkus is no stranger to rural life.

Though she grew up in the city, she’s spent many years taking hunting trips to Knox County, Nebraska, where her family owned a one-room schoolhouse. Her family also goes on camping trips in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and South Dakota. Linda says the rural lifestyle has always held a special place in her heart.

Staff spotlight: Carlos helps bring communities together

After migrating from Mexico to the United States in 1994, Carlos Barcenas discovered that, though the landscape may change, rural living still encompasses the same ideals.

“Rural brings a sense of agriculture, families, connection, and opportunity no matter where you’re at,” said Barcenas. “Rural America is important to me, because, throughout U.S. history, it has played a significant role in all areas of the country, and is the backbone of what the country stands for today.”

Winds of the past, a farm today

I love the wind. I like to feel it rushing by, rustling leaves. I like to watch birds catch a breeze and take off. My son loves flying kites, and watching bubbles twisting around, showing us just how much our air moves. However, there is a point where it stops sounding like the ocean and starts causing damage. Living next to our corn and bean acres outside Brainard, Nebraska, the wind races across the field unbridled and rips apart my yard. It knocks tree branches down, sends items unsecured across the highway, and causes damage to property and trees.

Staff Spotlight: Community and family are top priorities for Lizzie

Native communities, such as Santee, Nebraska, the principal village of the Santee Sioux Reservation in Knox County, often lack access to the fresh fruits and vegetables necessary for healthy living. Because of their size and rural location, these communities can also get left out when considering funding opportunities for these essential foods and other development projects.

Lizzie Swalley hopes to change that.

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