Niche Pork Workshops

Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa State University Extension, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension are teaming up on a series of workshops this winter. Most will be teleconference calls with an option to participate via the Internet. To register or for more information, contact Gary Huber at 515.232.5661 or

USDA’s Effectiveness with Beginning Farmer Assistance Examined

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published a report, Beginning Farmers: Additional Steps Needed to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of USDA Assistance to examine the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approach to serving beginning farmers and ranchers.

GAO conducted the report at the request of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

More Lessons from 30 Years

Last month we shared insights from Chuck Hassebrook, the Center’s executive director, on what he had learned in his 30 years at the Center for Rural Affairs. This time Chuck offers his reflections on the importance of how we approach our work and one another.

How we do our work is as important as what we do. Our work must be guided by our values – genuine opportunity for all, widespread ownership, fairness, community, environmental stewardship, citizenship involvement, and responsibility. Adhering to these values must come before the selfish interests of any group. Our true interest is tied to the common good. And the common good is best served by creating a future that reflects these values.

Development Matters … tis the season

I often joke with my daughter, Abby, about Christmas being, “just around the corner.” I usually make that comment in July or August, it’s funnier that way. But here we are in December, with the holiday season upon us.

This is a time when many people make decisions about charitable giving. Most of you have received our annual appeal, and the response has been generous. We have set an ambitious goal of raising $150, 000 this year from individual donors. We are on pace to raise a full third of that goal in the first three months (by December 31st).

New Role for Center Policy Organizer

Kathie Starkweather has stepped down from her full-time position at the Center, but continues to work with us part-time on farm bill advocacy and organizing the annual Marketplace: Opening Doors to Success conference.


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