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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.

Staff spotlight: Erin’s journey brought her from the Sunshine State to small-town living

Many Nebraskans long for a break from the harsh, Plains winters, and travel to warm, sunny climates to find it. Erin Mockler, however, did the opposite.

“I grew up in a small town in Florida,” said Mockler. “My entire childhood, I had a desire to move to a climate with more seasonal changes, so when I became an adult, I moved to Nebraska.”

And, we’re glad she did.

One of the newest members of the Center for Rural Affairs team, Mockler is a staff accountant. She lives in Lyons and works from the Center’s main office, and is happy about her new, more rural, home.

Childhood experiences spark lifelong passion for rural living

Rural places are close to my heart because I have seen the value of them firsthand. I am from Monticello, Iowa, which is a town of about 4,000 people, three stop lights, and one grocery store. Growing up, driving 35 minutes to see a movie used to frustrate me. But, as I’ve gotten older, I have truly been able to see the value of my town and what the way of life contributes to people.

From the desk of the executive director: Where have all the bankers gone?

The Center for Rural Affairs first examined consolidation in the banking industry in a 1978 report, “Where Have All the Bankers Gone?”. We have long understood the critical link between credit, who has access, who doesn’t, and how it shapes communities.

That’s why a recent report in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. It detailed how banking in rural communities has fared in the years since the financial crisis. 

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