Center Announces Grant to Support Youth Leadership

The Center for Rural Affairs was recently awarded a grant to expand MarketPlace, an entrepreneurial and small business event.

Young people are returning to rural communities through small businesses including farming and ranching.

Young people are returning to rural communities through small businesses including farming and ranching.

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Lyons, Nebraska – The Center for Rural Affairs was recently awarded a grant from the CHS Foundation. The grant will allow the Center to promote youth leadership development and expand MarketPlace, an entrepreneurial and small business event now in its third year.

William Nelson, president of the CHS Foundation, says, "The MarketPlace conference is a strong fit with the CHS Foundation's commitment to the future of agribusiness, cooperatives and rural America." 

"Thanks to the CHS Foundation's contributions, youth leadership development will have a strong presence at this year's MarketPlace. Our goal is to help young individuals realize that viable options exist to return to their communities through small business development, including farming and ranching,” says Kathie Starkweather, Center for Rural Affairs.

It has long been shown that small business owners in rural communities are also the community's leaders. Organizers say that MarketPlace focuses on networking with community leaders and established business owners – which results in a critical connection between youth and community leaders to help forge relationships and develop future community leaders.

"The overall objective of this project is rural economic and community development through strong small businesses including farms and ranches. We will not achieve this goal unless we have a strong youth focus that highlights the possibility of owning a business, which in turn allows for those emerging leaders to return to their communities," Starkweather says.

The third annual MarketPlace rural entrepreneurship event will be held February 25 in the SandhillsConvention Center in North Platte, Nebraska. The conference will again offer training, networking, and professional development opportunities for startup and existing small businesses, service providers, rural communities, and family farmers and ranchers. Early bird registration ends Feb. 11. 

For more information, visit the MarketPlace website.

The CHS Foundation is the major giving entity of CHS Inc., a diversified energy, grains and foods Fortune 200 company. As a part of the CHS stewardship focus, the CHS Foundation is committed to investing in the future of rural America, agriculture and cooperative business through education and leadership development.

The Center for Rural Affairs was established in 1973 as an unaffiliated nonprofit corporation. The Center for Rural Affairs was formed by rural Nebraskans concerned about family farms and rural communities, and the organization works to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities.