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Center for Rural Affairs records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0413

Scope and Content

The collection consists of project reports, newsletters, correspondence, annual reports, publications, audiocassettes, VHS tapes, photographs, negatives, and slides. Records include documents regarding conferences, workshops, CRA projects, grants, legislation, and subject files on issues of interest to CRA, including the Farm Crisis of the 1980s. Also included are records on the Susan LaFlesche Picotte Center, located in Walthill, Nebraska. Picotte was the first Native American woman to become a physician in the United States.

Dates

  • 1855-2006, undated

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Access Restrictions

Open for research. This collection is stored offsite. Please contact the department at least 3 working days in advance.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives

Biography/Profile

The Center for Rural Affairs (CRA) is a non-profit group formerly based in Walthill, Nebraska, a small town on the western edge of the Corn Belt. It relocated to Lyons, Nebraska in 2003. This non-profit was organized in September of 1973 as a response to the closing of federal anti-poverty programs under the Nixon presidency. While the Center advocated for rural interests in politics, they also established experiments in clean energy, lobbied for changes in rural healthcare, and looked to improve the overall welfare of rural Americans. The Center has been actively involved in policy debates including organic farming, tax and credit policy, appropriate technology, and land grant university research. They have been especially concerned with Nebraska's Initiative 300, a state constitutional amendment that limits the ability of corporations to own farmland or livestock. Since its introduction in 1972, the Center has continued to support this legislation in the courts and the public arena. Despite this sponsorship, Initiative 300 was ruled unconstitutional in 2007.

Through the years, the Center has taken on many projects. These include the Market Structure Project, Winnebago Timberlands Project, Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), World Agriculture Project, water projects such as the Mid-West Demonstration Water Project, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP), Small Farm Advocacy Project, Small Farm Energy Project (SFEP), which evolved into the Small Farm Resources Project (SFRP),Nebraska Public Power Project, and sustainable agriculture projects including Beginning Farmer and Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SAWG), including the Midwest regional version, MSAWG. In addition to these projects, CRA has distributed several publications, including Who Will Sit Up with the Corporate Sow?, Wheels of Fortune, and The Great Trade Debate, as well as many newsletters and editorials.

CRA continues to organize numerous seminars and educational opportunities related to its initiatives. The Rural Institute's purpose has been "to teach agricultural policy analysis skills, to improve understanding of social and economic issues in agriculture, and to provide an alternative to conventional agricultural education." They also have had seminars and workshops on sustainable agriculture, groundwater, and small farms.

The founding members of this non-profit include Don Ralston and Marty Strange, two men originally involved in another non-profit organization called the Goldenrod Hills Community Action Agency. Marty Strange left the group in 1996, and Don Ralston followed him in 2001. Brian Depew is the current Executive Director (2014), taking the place of Chuck Hassebrook who stepped down from the position in September, 2013.

Extent

189.9 Linear Feet (143 record center cartons, 4 oversized boxes)

Abstract

The Center for Rural Affairs was organized as a non-profit organization in 1973 as a response to the closing of federal anti-poverty programs under the Nixon presidency. While the Center advocated for rural interests in politics, they also established experiments in clean energy, lobbied for changes in rural healthcare, and looked to improve the overall welfare of rural Americans. The collection consists of project reports, newsletters, correspondence, annual reports, publications, audiocassettes, VHS tapes, photographs, negatives, and slides. Subjects covered in this collection include conferences, workshops, various CRA projects, grants, legislation, and subject files on issues of interest to CRA, including the Farm Crisis of the 1980s.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into the following nine series:



Series 1, Administrative Files, 1890-ongoing, undated (chronological)

Series 2, Grants, 1974-2000, undated (chronological)

Series 3, Projects, 1855-2003, undated (chronological)

Series 4, Initiative 300, 1973-1999, undated (chronological)

Series 5, Small Farm Energy Project, 1967-1997, undated (chronological)

Series 6, Publications, 1971-2006, undated (chronological)

Series 7, Legislation, 1969-1998, undated (chronological)

Series 8, Conferences and Education, 1973-1999, undated (chronological)

Series 9, Subject Files, 1921-1999, undated (chronological)



Project records make up the majority of the collection, and two major projects comprise their own series - Initiative 300 and Small Farm Energy Project (SFEP). Additionally, articles regarding the Farm Crisis of the 1980s are located within the collection as well as other agriculture-related publications and not produced by CRA.



A list of acronyms that appear more than once is included at the end of the finding aid, in Appendix A.



The linear feet of each series is approximate and extent does not include boxes due to the scattered nature of the records in the collection.

Physical Location

This collection is stored offsite. Please contact the Special Collections and University Archives at least 3 working days in advance.

Items in related collections

MS-0135. Robert H. Steffen papers, 1970-1981, undated MS-0258. Vincent E. Rossiter, Sr. papers, 1927-1991, undated MS-0300. People United for Rural Education records, 1967-1993, undated MS-0368. Rural Coalition records, 1943-1990, undated MS-0438. James V. Risser papers, 1963-1983, undated MS-0482. Farm Crisis Committee records, 1979-2008, undated MS-0548. National Family Farm Coalition records, 1974-1985, undated MS-0595. Merle Hansen papers, 1932-1999, undated

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

Acronyms

CRA.Center for Rural Affairs

CRP.Conservation Reserve Program

EPA.Environmental Protection Agency

FCS.Farm Credit Services

FDIC.Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

FmHA.Farmers Home Administration

FOIA.Freedom of Information Act

GATT.General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

GIPSA.Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration

IPPA.Iowa Pork Producers Association

LISA.Low Input and Sustainable Agriculture

MAP.Midwest Assistance Program

McREL.Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning

MDWP.Mid-West Demonstration Water Project

MSAWG.Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

NAFTA.North American Free Trade Agreement

NCAT.National Center for Appropriate Technology

NETV.Nebraska's PBS station

NGO.Non-governmental organization

NPPC.National Pork Producers Council

NPPD.Nebraska Public Power District

NPPP.Nebraska Public Power Project

NRI.National Research Initiative

PCA.Production Credit Association

RCVP.Rural Community Viability Project

REAP.Rural Enterprise Assistance Project

SAGE.Sustainable Agriculture Enterprises Project

SAWG.Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

SFEP.Small Farm Energy Project

SFRP.Small Farm Resources Project

UNCED.United Nations Conference on Environment and Development

USDA.United States Department of Agriculture

VISTA.Volunteers in Service to America (now under AmeriCorps)
Title
MS-0413. Center for Rural Affairs records, 1855-2006, undated
Date
July 1, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

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