Crafting our policy priorities from the roots up

Advocating for policy that builds a stronger, brighter future in rural America is no small feat. At the Center for Rural Affairs, we understand that, to craft this future, we must engage with rural people and communities in all aspects of our work. This principle is part of our core values and purpose; it’s why we work – and live – where you do.

Recently, nine members of our policy team attended a retreat in Ericson, Nebraska, a small, farming community in Wheeler County. For some of us, the visit was our first trip to Wheeler County, population 818, but for one of us, Jordan Rasmussen, it was just another trip to the farm. Jordan, a policy manager at the Center, and her husband operate a corn and soybean farm there.

The purpose of the retreat was to bring our team under one roof, develop new policy solutions, build stronger relationships, and establish a clear path forward for our priorities. We have team members in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, and took this opportunity to reconnect with each other and with those we serve. We were proud to do just that.

In the evening, we went to Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell, population 1,200. The rodeo arena was packed with what seemed like twice that amount. As our policy team enjoyed the event, we interacted and conversed with people from all over the world who came to rural Nebraska. For Burwell, the annual event offers economic stimulation, recreation, and a sense of pride for members of this rural community.

As we work to craft policy that helps rural communities realize their potential, we remain committed to working and living in the communities we aim to serve – they’re our homes, too. Through informed farm, clean energy, health care, small business, rural development, and conservation policy, we will continue engaging with you, and we welcome you to do the same with us.

Meet our team

Johnathan Hladik
policy program director
hometown: Valparaiso, Nebraska, population 570




Jordan Rasmussen
policy manager
hometown: Plymouth, Nebraska, population 409​




Anna Johnson
policy manager
hometown: Annapolis, Maryland, population 39,418




Lucas Nelsen
policy associate
hometown: Norfolk, Nebraska, population 24,348


Cora Fox
policy associate
hometown: Turin, Iowa, population 65




Katie Rock
policy associate
hometown: Muscatine, Iowa, population 23,914




Corbin Delgado
policy assistant
hometown: Papillion, Nebraska, population 19,597




Lacie Dotterweich

policy assistant
hometown: Monticello, Iowa, population 3,836




Cody Smith
policy assistant
hometown: Crawfordsville, Indiana, population 16,001