Center for Rural Affairs January and February Newsletter

Note from the Editor:

In December, I had the opportunity to visit some of you on a two-day road trip. One of my fellow staff members appropriately named the trip “Rhea on the Road.”

In just a couple of days, I did seven interviews and took hundreds of photos. I got sidetracked in almost every rural community I drove past, taking photos of downtowns, churches, courthouses, post offices and libraries.

I am so excited to share these stories and more with you this year. Check out our blog at for these features and the latest Rural News.

This Edition

Thank you, donors. We couldn’t do our work without you. Check out our special insert that includes all of our 2016 donors.

By donating to the Center for Rural Affairs, you take a step toward one of our values, ACTION to shape the future.

In this issue, you can see individuals living this value. You will also read about opportunities to take your own steps toward shaping the future of rural America.

I’ll let you read on for more.

Remember, this is just a sample of what we’re up to. Check out our website for more.

Inside this issue:

From the desk of the Executive Director, What if the workers owned it?: The sale and closure of a midsize manufacturing plant in a nearby small town got me thinking. The business was home-grown, but no one in the next generation was interested in taking the helm. The owners were ready to retire, and they needed to sell the business.

Fairness in the livestock industry: USDA took an important step in December to improve protections for farmers, when they introduced three “Farmer Fair Practice Rules.” Much of the livestock industry is vertically integrated; meat processors enter into contract agreements with farmers to grow livestock. The processor owns the feed and animals, and sells them to the farmer at a set price.

Small business needs identified in report: The opinions of 587 business owners, resource providers and lenders will help shape the future of our Rural Enterprise Assistance Program. Responses are compiled in “Their needs and thoughts: Results of the fifth biennial Small Business Needs Assessment,” by Dena Beck, Rural Enterprise Assistance Program senior project leader.

Think beyond biases to create welcome communities: We all discriminate. It does not matter if you are a person of color or not, female or male, young or old, gay or straight. We all discriminate.

Gardens keep Santee Sioux traditions alive: For the past three summers, our community food specialists have been hard at work alongside members of the Santee Sioux and Omaha Tribes improving access to fresh food grown in their own backyards.

Big issues for Nebraska and Iowa in 2017: Elected representatives in Nebraska and Iowa will debate a host of contentious issues during the 2017 legislative session. Important items to be debated include budget and tax, health care, energy and environment, and food and agriculture. Here is a preview of select topics that will receive our attention.

Thank you 2016 donors

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