Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Center for Rural Affairs Annual Gathering February 26, 2005 in Norfolk, NE

-- from the desk of Russ Gifford, Communications/Development Director, Center for Rural Affairs

Best Selling Author Thomas Frank Keynote Speaker

In 1973 a group of feisty northeast Nebraskans established an organization that would take on the underlying issues challenging family farms, ranches, and rural communities. We're still going strong 32 years later.

At our annual gathering we share ideas, listen to others, and meet friends old and new. The Center for Rural Affairs staff, board, and people interested in the future of rural America – people like you - will gather this year in Norfolk, Nebraska, at the Life Long Learning Center at Northeast Community College. The program starts Saturday, February 26 at 10:00 a.m. (Registration starts at 9:30 a.m.)

We are excited to announce that our key note speaker is Thomas Frank, best selling author of What’s the Matter with Kansas and a frequent guest on national news programs. A stinging critic of both political parties, he’ll make you mad, he’ll make you laugh and, most important, he’ll make you think. I believe we can all agree on his central thesis – the political process today is not working for ordinary rural people. His speech will launch a discussion on how we rural people can fix that.

As always, we have put together a strong program of the issues in our rural communities that most need attention. This meeting promises to be informational and thought-provoking. Can we count on you to join us there?

Following registration, which is from 9:30 to 10:00 a.m., attend your choice of teach-in style discussions. There will be multiple choices so you can pick the sessions that interest you.

The topics include small business strategies, high value livestock markets and cooperatives, federal farm and rural policy including critical budget legislation, wind power, and a popular new model of community development. These are just a few of the many important topics.

(I'll post the schedule once all the speakers have been finalized.)

The main course for the noon meal is roast beef, marinated pork loin, green salad, and roasted potatoes – all family farm produced and locally sourced. The tickets for dinner will be sold at the registration table. Look for our food suppliers in our small business fair area, which will be open throughout the meeting.

We'll have frank discussions about the future of small businesses, family farming and ranching, and rural communities as seen through your eyes and ours. The point is how we’ll face the challenges of today and tomorrow in rural America. Bring your friends!

We look forward to seeing you in Norfolk on February 26th!


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