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, February 15, 2006

Center Annual Gathering in Kearney

Center for Rural Affairs Hosts Annual Gathering in Kearney

Public Invited and Encouraged to Attend

Lyons - The Center for Rural Affairs will hold it’s Annual Gathering on February 25, 2006, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The meeting has 14 teach-in sessions which focus on varied agricultural, business, and rural issues. In a new twist this year, two of the morning teach-ins will focus on the interest and need for a statewide entrepreneurial fair. The Center for Rural Affairs, along with several other partners, is working on the idea of combining their annual gathering with a Marketplace for Entrepreneurs. North Dakota has been holding an event such as this for the last 17 years, and it has been very successful, drawing over 7,000 people each year.

Nebraska’s rural communities need small business and micro entrepreneurs for economic growth. During our Annual Gathering in Kearney, listening sessions will gauge Nebraskans interest in holding such an event next year. There will be two listening sessions held: one from 9:30-10:30 - the other from 10:45 - 11:45. People interested in this idea, especially community leaders with knowledge of what is going on within their communities, and entrepreneurs are encouraged to participate in the listening sessions. Contact Kathie Starkweather,, 402-687-2100 or Monica Braun,, 402-643-2673, or check the Center’s website, for more information.

The event would be an Entrepreneurial Fair where new entrepreneurs could meet with established entrepreneurs for guidance and networking, and meet with experts like the Small Business Administration and the Center’s Rural Enterprise Assistance Project. Established entrepreneurs could share success stories and also stories about overcoming mistakes and failures. They could help others understand there are many rewards and risks in bringing new ideas and products into the marketplace. Many rural entrepreneurial opportunities can exist side-by-side with an existing farm or ranch.

Like the Center's annual gathering, North Dakota’s Marketplace for Entrepreneurs has classes that cover a wide range of agricultural and business topics, including advertising, export regulation, new crops, farm diversification, patents, copyrights, and information technology. The difference is in scale and the number of partners involved.

Marketplace classes are taught by representatives of private businesses, government agencies and institutions of higher learning. Other classes are led by farmers, ranchers, entrepreneurs and others who have launched their own entrepreneurial ventures. The event extends over several days.

Another item on the annual meeting agenda will include a keynote from Chuck Hassebrook, a noted authority on farm and rural issues. Hassebrook is a regent for the University of Nebraska and the Center’s Executive Director.

A Gubernatorial Candidate Forum featuring Congressman Tom Osborne, Dave Nabity, and David Hahn will be held in the afternoon, co-hosted by Nebraska Educational Television and Radio. There will also be a Small Business Fair. The meeting itself is free; there is a charge for lunch and refreshments of $10.00 per person.

You can find more information on Kearney, including area accommodations and maps, at the Kearney Visitor’s Bureau, 800-652-9435 or

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


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