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PrairieFire Rural Action records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0313

Scope and Content

The collection (1977-1996, undated) contains newsletters, publications, correspondence, presidential forum materials, press clips, and meeting materials. Many of the publications and newsletters are from church and agricultural organizations, including Rural America. Correspondence is often with farm leaders and organizations. Included are materials from the media and from Iowa political and agricultural groups preparing for the 1988 Presidential Forum on Agriculture and Rural Life. This "non-partisan, public education event", held in part with the Democratic National Committee Agriculture Council, allowed presidential candidates to address rural and agricultural issues.


  • 1977-1996, undated


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


PrairieFire Rural Action was founded in 1985 and based in Des Moines, Iowa. Organized during the 1980s farm crisis, PrairieFire Rural Action assisted Midwestern farmers and their families, and provided advocacy on behalf of farmers. The organization endeavored to keep families on their farms by keeping rural communities informed about current issues, educating them about their legal and political rights, and serving as an aid to organized action. The group organized educational programs in rural communities to keep communities informed about policy issues affecting agriculture, organized coalitions of rural groups and individuals, and conducted training and educational programs for rural clergy and farm leaders. In addition to helping small groups and individuals, PrairieFire also provided trainings and assistance to leaders and staff of other farm, rural and religious organizations responding to the crisis.

The organization wrote many newspaper articles and letters to communities and to congress detailing the struggle of rural families to survive during the farm crisis of the 1980s. A farm survival hotline was created, as were extensive brochures and handouts explaining how to handle stress through difficult financial times. Another major way the organization brought the farm crisis to attention was by organizing National Farm Crisis Day on October 2, 1982. This was a rally in Nevada, Iowa that hosted exhibits and numerous speakers from groups such as the Iowa Farm Unity Coalition. It was a "day of action and recommitment" where various organizations gathered to develop new programs and proposals and to show their concern about the farm crisis. The Iowa Farm Unity Coalition, organized in 1982, was originally composed of the U.S. Farmers Association, Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa American Agricultural Movement, Iowa National Farmers Organization, and Rural Iowa, Inc. It then expanded to include Catholic Rural Life, Iowa Citizens for Economic Improvement, and the United Auto Workers CAP Council of Iowa.

In 1999, PrairieFire Rural Action was dissolved and merged with the Iowa Farmers Union Education Foundation.


5.88 Linear Feet (14 document boxes, 1 map case folder)


The collection is organized Alphabetically then Chronologically.

Items in related collections

MS-0419. Rural America records, 1970-1982, undated

Related collection materials

PrairieFire's newsletter, Prairie Journal: A Journal of PrairieFire Rural Action is cataloged separately.

The Department holds numerous collections relating to agricultural groups, farmers organizations and the 1980s farm crisis. Many of these collections can be found in our subject guides.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

MS-0313. PrairieFire Rural Action records, 1977-1996, undated
December 12, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672