Center for Rural Affairs July and August 2022 Newsletter

Farm and Food
Small Business
Small Towns
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Editor’s Note

During the last couple of months, I have assisted our staff with creating soil health videos. These videos will soon be available on our YouTube channel.

On one particular farm visit, we taped Sharon Oamek, owner of Honey Creek Creamery near Crescent, Iowa. She raises goats and brings a lot of folks to her operation with agritourism—goat yoga and goat hikes. In addition, she runs a restaurant during the summer months featuring gelato and cheeses she makes.

During the opening scenes of the video, Sharon was standing in front of the goat pen telling us about goats’ daily walk to the pasture. She had just said “they are not confined,” when Rufus, the smallest goat (a triplet), snuck through the fence behind her and started sniffing around. I had to walk away so my giggles were not caught on tape.

Sharon then took us on our very own goat hike up to the top of the hill, with the goats and the dogs leading the way. She pointed out the fields across the highway and the work she and her husband have done to improve the soil health on those fields and the pastures where the goats and cows graze.

After returning to her house, taste testing four different types of cheese, and giving the two dogs more pets, we completed the video. I can’t wait to show you what life is like at Honey Creek Creamery. Stay tuned!

Inside this issue

Martin and Linda dedicate lives to family farms, organic farming, and renewable energy​​​​​​​ - People have traversed the world to visit 365 acres of certified organic fields and pastures nestled in the valley of West Bow Creek in northeast Nebraska. Linda and Martin Kleinschmit welcome their visitors with practical wisdom and an open mind.

Center publishes resources on USDA conservation programs - Rural farms and ranches have a reciprocal relationship with their environment. Soil health, sufficient water, and proper temperatures all bring crops or animals to fruition.

Support for small meat processors, rural broadband highlight state legislative sessions - During their 2022 sessions, the Nebraska and Iowa legislatures continued to show support for small meat processors, with the passage of bills that create new programs and provide funding to increase capacity and address workforce issues. Meanwhile, South Dakota lawmakers approved bills addressing solar energy facilities, rural broadband, and the state’s home-processed foods law.

Women landowners showcase their land and legacy - More than half of the farmland in the U.S. is owned or co-owned by women. Whether the farmland was recently inherited, owned for years in a trust, or is going through a transition, women landowners need opportunities to connect with programs, resources, and one another.

Yellow Taco Truck owner cooks his way to the top - Ciro Cortez has worked in the restaurant industry since he was a 16-year-old dishwasher in California. Four months later, he was promoted to kitchen assistant, then to cook, and he kept rising through the culinary ranks until he was a chef in charge of an entire kitchen.

Micro-dairy serves community with value-added grant - Malloree Barnes knows a little can go a long way. Milking just four cows per day, she’s supplying raw milk to 30 customers each week. With support from a Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG), she’s planning to do even more with her micro-dairy business.

From the desk of the executive director: rural America needs investment in home construction and repair - Communities in every corner of the country now struggle with a lack of affordable homes, an ailment long associated with fast-growing urban areas.

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