|The mission of the Rural Research and Analysis Program is to maintain this traditional commitment to research and analysis. The program will conduct in-depth research and analysis on emerging and critical rural issues, author reports and studies based on this research and analysis, and disseminate such reports and studies to relevant audiences.|
Since its founding, one of the hallmarks of the Center has been its research and analysis on emerging and critical issues to family-scale agriculture and rural communities. One of the first projects of the Center was a research report on the growth of large-scale hog operations (Who Will Sit Up With the Corporate Sow?) that foresaw many of the issues of agricultural consolidation and market inequities that form the basis of portions of our work to this day.
In subsequent years, research, analysis, and reports on land use, water usage, rural poverty, energy, and climate change have placed the Center at the forefront of these issues and their potential solutions. One of the first reports of the Research and Analysis Program was Swept Away: Chronic Hardship and Fresh Promise on the Rural Great Plains, a 2003 report that documented many socio-economic forces in the region. In 2004, the program released Fresh Promises, a report detailing numerous initiatives and programs that aid in the economic and community development of rural communities in the region.
In 2005, the program began its first regular publication, the Rural Brief, a periodic report detailing analysis of federal budget proposals concerning rural development and rural asset- and wealth-building policy. Since 2005, the program has developed a series of publications and analyses on rural development and rural asset- and wealth-building policy and has developed a “virtual library” of such publications on the CFRA website.
Action-oriented solutions and public policy solutions are what have always separated the Center’s research and analysis efforts from other research-oriented organizations. The Center has always used opportunities for in-depth analysis and research as methods to create solutions – whether service projects or public policy recommendations – to the issues suggested by data or analysis. The development of the Center’s microenterprise program, for example, came out of research reports on rural poverty.