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‘Rural Opportunities’ workshop centers on small town business PDF Print E-mail
    “Opening the Doors to New Rural Opportunities” will be held Saturday, Feb. 7, in Curtis at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in the VT Building. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
    “Opening Doors” gives aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn the steps needed to develop new opportunities in rural Nebraska.
    Keynote speaker for this year’s event is Michael Bacon. According to Bacon, his speech,  “Yes I Can— Thriving In Small Town Nebraska” is not a list of businesses or job opportunities in small towns.
    “You will not learn how to do a goat cooperative or market your mom’s salsa recipe. You might get a healthy dose of reality about living in small town Nebraska. You might find out that you are not competing for a job or for sales with John in the next town down the highway, but with Vinod from Pakistan.
    “It’s possible that you will figure out that you can compete with Vinod. You might discover that the biggest block to earning a good living in a small town is the block between your ears. Thriving is different than surviving. We will discuss what makes the difference. And we will talk about your obligations to your small town,” he said.
    Bacon opened his own law practice in 1981 in Gothenburg. His Bacon’s practice has always focused on business, agricultural, municipal and individual clients, mainly in the areas of real estate, estate planning and business entity formation.
    In the process of representing municipalities, Bacon became involved in several major community development projects that used Tax Increment Financing, a tool used by municipalities to provide financial assistance to redevelop areas that the governing body of the city has declared blighted and substandard pursuant to the Community Development Law.
    Over the past 15 years, his practice in TIF has expanded on a statewide basis.
    The workshop will also include two panel discussions. The first will look at Livestock Cooperatives with Jim Crandle, Director of the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center, Randy Saner, Extension Educator for Lincoln County; and Mel Uphoff from Many River’s Producer’s Non-stock Co-op.
    This panel will discuss the process of setting up Livestock Cooperatives and possible benefits for individual operations.
    The second panel will be Land Management Entrepreneurs with Mark Roblee, a native of Frontier County and owner of his own tree removal business.  
    Frontier Tree Clearing began as an opportunity for Roblee to own his own business by clearing cedar trees taking over pastures. He will discuss how he started his own business.
    Also on the panel will be Gordon Roethemeyer, who is a partner in the OLD HWY 83 LLC north of Maywood. Concerns about the overgrowth of eastern red cedars in pastures and CPR ground led him to do some research on uses for cedars. He will share his research and describe his plan for how a cooperative could work.
    Other sessions throughout the day include “Target Goat Grazing—An approach to utilizing noxious weeds and invasive species” with Michelle Wendell; “Equine Support Industries,” with                      Bob and Sharron Harvey, and Billy Bryant; and “Starting and Growing Your Own Business” with the Village Pie Maker.
    Cost for the day is $20 per person. Booth setup is available for interested businesses.
    If you would like more information about this conference, or to register, call Southwest Nebraska RC&D at (308) 697-3477 or 888-585-1085.