Your Stories

Staff spotlight: Howard looks forward to helping entrepreneurs in central Nebraska

With decades of experience under his belt, and a strong desire to fight for the little guy, Howard White now holds the entrepreneurs of central Nebraska in his very capable hands.

The Center for Rural Affairs recently brought Howard onto the team as a loan specialist, a position he’s excited to be in, with an organization he holds in high regard.

Red Fern Farm builds resiliency through diversification

Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice, owners of Red Fern Farm, have built resiliency in their operation to overcome challenging weather.

Nestled in a heavily wooded area just south of Grandview, Iowa, Red Fern Farm offers a unique experience for customers to harvest their own Iowa-grown fruits and nuts.

The owners grow a variety of fruit and nut trees—including chestnuts, persimmons, heartnut, pawpaw, and Asian pear. Their primary market is a “you pick” business throughout the summer, where customers schedule a time to pick from the trees and pay per pound harvested.

Staff spotlight: Studying abroad reinforces love of rural communities

Growing up on an acreage outside of Firth, Nebraska, my responsibility was to take care of the cattle—from the bottle-fed calves to the big bull we knighted Sir Loin. I broke the ice for them in winter and stuck them with needles when the time came for vaccinations. My summers were spent detasseling, hunting down thistles in my grandpa’s pasture, and swimming in creeks when they swelled with rainwater (after making sure my tetanus shot was up-to-date).

Staff spotlight: Raúl passes on knowledge to Nebraska business owners

After years of acquiring business knowledge, Raúl Arcos Hawkins now has the opportunity to share everything he’s learned with aspiring entrepreneurs throughout Nebraska.

Recently hired as a Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) business development specialist at the Center for Rural Affairs, Raúl is no stranger to the organization. Initially hired as a contractor for REAP, Raúl spent more than a year assisting business owners before taking on his new role.

Clara’s Garden shows that a sustainable floral business is possible

Being a florist focused on sustainability in the face of our changing climate may be difficult, but Mediapolis, Iowa, mother-daughter duo Meredith and Jen Hinson do just that.

Meredith began her floral career working for a local florist 15 years before opening her own shop—Clara’s Garden—in 2000. Jen joined the Clara’s Garden team when she moved back for the summer after teaching in Houston, Texas, for a few years.

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