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Kate Bolz
Release Date

USDA RD Seeks to Understand Rural Communities Better/Improve Service

I love a good pancake feed, chili supper, or fish fry.  It’s not just that I love comfort food – I embrace the feeling of togetherness that turns a meal into a community. If you stick around long enough, you begin to hear the hopes and dreams of your friends and neighbors over a piece of pie or a cup of coffee. 

While our team at the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development can’t attend every fish fry (even if I try) we can do something very important, listen to what rural Nebraskans have to say. 

Community is what USDA RD is all about

Community is what the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development is all about. USDA RD fosters opportunity and economic security in rural America by investing in infrastructure, opening doors to better jobs, access to innovation technology, and the promise of rural prosperity. To truly embrace this mission, we must start by listening.  For the past three months, we’ve been doing just that.  

Since the beginning of the year, our team here at USDA RD has held personal conversations with Nebraskans from Lyman to Pawnee City, from Decatur to Harvard to Gordon, and many places in between. We set out to listen to people in one-on-one conversations and hear more about the communities we serve – not with an agenda, but with a desire to understand.  

Here are a few things we heard and learned: 
Small town togetherness is real, evidenced by everything from local libraries with open doors to volunteer emergency responders meeting urgent needs. 

Rural communities have vision for the future, ranging from revitalization of local industry to new community centers. 
Genuine need exists; housing needs are urgent, so is the demand for new and better jobs. 

Today, we’d like to say thank you for talking with us. Thank you for sharing your insights, for telling us about your hopes for your community, and trusting us with your local challenges. Thank you for inviting us to your pancake feeds. We hear you. We would embrace the opportunity to respond to what we’ve heard and learned with our resources and our skills. Our community facilities programs can help to finance libraries and community centers and emergency response equipment. Our business development programs can support growth of local businesses through marketing, training, equipment, and more. Our single-family housing program can provide grants for home repair and open doors to families who want to buy a home and put down roots. We would be proud to partner with you to help your community visions become a reality. 

USDA Rural Development is a catalyst for rural prosperity - your prosperity. Over the last few months, we’ve made phone call after phone call – we’ve heard story after story of small-town traditions, leaders, and opportunities.  You inspire us. We would like to support your hometown. Learn more about our programs at https://www.rd.usda.gov/ne or give us a call at (402) 437-5550.