Center for Rural Affairs July and August 2023 newsletter

Small Towns
Farm and Food
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Editor’s Note 

Have you heard about our Academies? This is just one type of event we offer to entrepreneurs. 

Academies are multi-day, industry-specific trainings for construction, child care, restaurants, cleaning, trucking, and salons.

I was able to attend our Salon Academy a couple of weeks ago to take photos. For this particular event, we partnered with Joseph’s College in Grand Island to offer this session in conjunction with their curriculum. The instructor, our Women’s Business Center Director Jessica Campos, covered financials, marketing, management, regulations, permits, and licensing requirements specific to those starting their own salons.

We figure a majority of these graduates will start their own businesses in rural areas and we can help. These individuals can come to us for one-on-one business coaching, a loan, or additional training events.

Along with the basics of starting a business, marketing, and financials, other Academies offer industry-specific knowledge. For example, we cover food handling and permits in our Restaurant Academy, bidding and safety requirements in the Construction Academy, child safety and CPR in the Child Care Academy, and cleaning chemistry and maintenance of different surfaces in our Cleaning Academy.

Learn more at

In this edition

From the desk of the executive director: rural-urban divide is oversimplified: For the past decade, the media has been obsessed with the idea of a growing divide between rural and urban areas, often portraying it as a deep chasm separating the nation’s citizens. I’ve come to see this narrative as more about entertainment than a serious attempt to understand or address the actual issues at hand.

Seeing investments in small businesses firsthand ‘incredibly exciting’ for USDA official: Through her mother’s example, Cesia Madrigal Góngora and other family members are learning to fight for their dreams.

Celebrating 50 years in rural America: policy has been steady throughout our history:  Fifty years ago, founders of the Center for Rural Affairs knew that if they wanted policy to work for rural Americans, they had to raise their voice and grow a grassroots community.

Kearney Area Farmers Market focuses on access to fresh foods: Many people would agree with Candi Benge that there’s just something better about fresh foods when people can buy them locally, straight from the farmer.

Military veteran pursues agriculture, provides support for other service members: Martin Neal gave 31 years of service to the U.S. Army before retiring. After serving and commanding at a variety of levels during his Army career, Martin was ready for a new adventure for him and his family. 

Reap the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act: Rural small businesses and agricultural producers looking to save money by reducing energy costs may be eligible for the Rural Energy for America Program. 

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