Blogging for Rural America

Hopefully you have had a chance to check out the Center for Rural Affairs’ redesigned website. It’s now home to our Blog for Rural America, with steady, provocative commentary and news from around the internet. These posts pull no punches – see what I mean at and in the example posts below.

Dear Senator Nelson
The following letter about the lack of competition in livestock markets was set to Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson by Center for Rural Affairs’ board member Jim Knopik. Jim was kind enough to share the letter with us for publication here as well.

Senator Nelson,
I don’t know if you remember, but I stopped in and visited with you about a year ago in DC. My wife and daughter along with my brother and sister-in-law and Reverend Roger Verley were also there. The time you spent with us we really appreciated.

That day I covered many concerns I have about farming and agriculture. One of those concerns was the monopolistic control and power that is in the hands of only a few packers. Because they are allowed to own and raise their own livestock along with contracting from farmers and feeders they now have under their thumbs, we have no fair marketing system anymore. They have set standards of size and grade for the animals they purchase in order to discount or steal others that do not make the grade ... .

Read more online

Yes Virginia, There is a Future in Agriculture
Here at the Center for Rural Affairs, we’re constantly asked if there really is a future for farmers in agriculture. Usually, this question comes from somebody who lives in an urban area, or a jaded activist who has lost too many battles on the policy front.

The answer is simple. Yes, there is a future in agriculture. But it is not easy. Farming and ranching are a tough business. Maybe one of the toughest around, when you think of all the government policy that favors a particular type of farming that offers little opportunity for young people, especially those not in line to inherit a substantial amount of land. Then you look at the difficulty of finding health insurance, securing credit – the list goes on and on. So it definitely ain’t easy ... .

Read more at, and contact Dan Owens and Brian Depew with suggestions for blog topics. You can reach them at, respectively,, 402.687.2103 x 1017;, 402.687.2103 x 1015.

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