Center for Rural Affairs March and April 2021 Newsletter

Small Towns
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Editor's Note

How has winter been in your corner of rural America? Where our home office is based in northeast Nebraska, we seem to be getting snowstorm after snowstorm. I am itching for spring when I can resume my walks around town.

In this edition, we chose stories to highlight our core value of “Citizen involvement and ACTION to shape the future.” All I have to say is, “Wow!” I wish we could highlight all of you, but we just don’t have room.

Featured in these pages are a young health care worker who stepped up to get the COVID-19 vaccine and to tell others about her experience, a Catholic priest-cowboy who started a processing unit to provide meat to his community, and a family who started a bakery.

We also tell you how you can get involved in sharing your own views.

And, tucked inside is our annual donors list. Thank you so much to all of you who took action this past year to support us. We couldn’t do our work without you.

As always, check out our website for more. A note: we have workshops for small business owners, farmers and ranchers, those interested in policy issues, and more, listed at They all take place online, for now. Check it out.

Inside this Issue

Vaccines offer hope and healing to rural communities—The coronavirus pandemic has swept through the U.S., leaving devastation in its wake. In less than a year, our country has suffered the loss of nearly 500,000 souls due to COVID-19.

Catholic priest finds a new way to serve his community—Before Father Bryce Lungren was a priest, he was a cowboy. Today, he gets to be both.

From the desk of the executive director: media narrative distracts from focus on improving lives—Each of the past several elections has thrust rural people into the media spotlight. Rural and urban people are divided, the pundits tell us. Neither understands the lives of the other, the news reports read.

Being a rural advocate at home, in the Capitol—Democracy needs input from citizens to thrive, but figuring out how to share your voice and have an impact on government can be challenging. Luckily, constituents can make a difference in several ways.

Business owners bake their way to success—Spending time with family is a top priority for Marina Gomez and her daughters, Wendy Alfaro and Marta Gomez. The three women have always cherished their time baking together as a family. Their love of creating confectionery treats is so strong that it led to them opening their own business. Para la versión en español de esta historia, por favor oprima aqui.

Corporate farming notes: ‘recycling’ pesticide-treated seeds + moreState regulators ordered an ethanol plant in Mead, Nebraska, to stop producing ethanol from seed corn treated with insecticides and fungicides.

Staff spotlight: Kristine cultivates growth in Native communitiesAfter several years assisting the Center for Rural Affairs with its Tribal programs, Kristine Flyinghawk is bringing her community development talents to the Center full time.

Special insert: Thank you 2020 donors!

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