Center for Rural Affairs September and October 2021 Newsletter

Farm and Food
Small Towns
September/October 2021 newsletter

Editor's note

Throughout this issue, we focus on one of our organization’s core values: “Genuine OPPORTUNITY for all to earn a living, raise a family, and prosper in a rural place.”

Opportunity begins in youth. In this edition, we learn about how UMÓⁿHOⁿ Nation Public School students are cultivating their own food while learning about their language and customs. I had the chance to visit their thriving seven-acre garden, and I am so proud of the Center’s role in this big project.

In these pages, you can read about a teacher in Iowa providing opportunity to her students, taking them to her land, and teaching them conservation projects along the way. And, about a small business owner who has taken advantage of opportunities provided to her by the Center, including loans, to further her business.

Our executive director continues the conversation with news of an opportunity not previously available—an expanded tax credit which will help reduce child poverty in rural areas.

However, we are losing out on rural health. Over 100 rural hospitals across the country have closed, including the facility in Oakland, Nebraska, closest to our home office. This is a missed opportunity.

As always, these stories contain just a sample of what we are up to. Read more at

Inside this issue

Growing the future at UMÓⁿHOⁿ Nation - Incoming sophomore student Donovon Hastings at UMÓⁿHOⁿ (Omaha) Nation Public School, in Macy, Nebraska, has come to love working in his cabbage patch. He keeps it well manicured with not a weed in sight. One of his goals is to grow the biggest cabbage possible.

Business serves community with COVID-19 grant - Alma Sagastume knows a thing or two about running a business. For years, she ran her own shop in Guatemala before moving to Nebraska, where she has owned and operated My 15 City for the better part of a decade.

From the desk of the executive director: expanded tax credit will reduce rural child poverty - A recent change in federal policy offers a promising antidote to the long-running challenge of rural childhood poverty. Starting in July, most households with children began to receive monthly advances on an expanded child tax credit.

Iowa teacher works to leave legacy of conservation - For Margaret Hogan of Earlville, Iowa, prioritizing conservation means sharing it with the next generation. A farmer and landowner who implements conservation practices, Margaret is also a science teacher who gets her seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade students involved as much as she can.

Hospital closing part of national trend - After more than 70 years, the community of Oakland, Nebraska, has no hospital. Citing low in-patient and emergency room volume, hospital officials announced the closure of MercyOne Oakland in June—leaving all of Burt County without a facility.

Staff spotlight: Allen Chlopek’s hometown values align with the Center’s mission - Allen Chlopek has spent his career so far supporting rural America, and, in his newest venture, he wants to continue that trend and make people’s homeownership and business dreams come true.

New resources provide an overview of NRCS conservation programs, application process - Many producers know that conservation helps keep their ranches and farms resilient. However, the path to adopting sound environmental practices might not be clear for farmers and ranchers new to federal cost-share programs.

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