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

Friday, January 14, 2005

On our way

Greetings and Welcome to the Center for Rural Affairs' web log.

Check here for first response to the changing legislative and economical environment of Rural America. You can check our website,, for reports, issue briefs, press releases and our monthly newsletter.

But here is where you'll want to be in order to get the low down on what makes the Center tick. We'll introduce you to the people behind the scenes, the ones who do the research and the leg work, so you can stay on top of the issues. We'll keep you in touch with their thoughts and opinions regarding what is happening and what can happen to keep small farms and ranches, micro businesses and rural communities viable for the future.

Let's start with the Center's response to the Nebraska Governor's proposed budget:

Proposed Budget is an Important First Step for Rural Nebraska
Center for Rural Affairs sees positives, but budget "still falls short on important rural needs."

LYONS, NE -- "Until the state gets serious about investing in rural Nebraska the way it invests in metropolitan Nebraska, we will never solve our budget problems," says Chuck Hassebrook, executive director for the Center for Rural Affairs.

The increase for small business development funding - adding back $250,000 in small business development funds cut in previous budgets - is a good first step for getting Nebraska back on the plus column in revenue, according to the Center for Rural Affairs. But the decision to delete funding for the Lied Main Street program makes it seem that funding rural Nebraska is a game no one ever wins.

"These economies are tied together, and both need attention. This should not be a situation where Lincoln or Omaha wins, rural Nebraska loses. But too often it seems that any money going to rural Nebraska has to come from other rural programs," said Hassebrook.

Noting that Nebraska's population of wage earners (18 to 65 year olds) is 45th in the nation, Hassebrook points out that Nebraska "will continue to have too few people of income earning ages to support services for our children and retirees" if rural Nebraskans don't receive similar earning opportunities.

You can reach the Center at 402-687-2100. Chuck Hassebrook's email is


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