Lisa HightowerWelcome to the blog. My name is Lisa Hightower and I serve as the director of rural development for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, DC. I work with county and state Farm Bureaus to create and implement rural development projects that improve the quality of life in rural communities.

I grew up in rural Alaska and have worked in Florida and Virginia facilitating community development projects and creating educational materials for farmers and local communities. I have a PhD in Agricultural and Extension Education from Virginia Tech.  My dissertation research focused on community development, and evaluated the impact of beginning farmer programs across the country.

To learn more about rural development initiatives at the American Farm Bureau Federation, please contact me at To find out more about the American Farm Bureau Federation, visit our website at


  1. We had a small 4 acre farm and was interested in the #PBS special last week. It was about the growing of heirloom rare food on a mid-West farm that exports. Farms and chefs locally and internationally send them heirloom seed of vegetables, spice, etc. to grow to protect the strain. This implies heirloom crops and seed are under attack.

  2. I wrote a book that’s soon to be published that is set in a small town. It is a historical narrative. Is there an online venue I might use to market it? Do you know of an internet meeting place where rural authors doing memoirs can connect? Thanks!

  3. My husband and I are trying to increase our profits on our 300 acre farm. We now sell hay, 600 round bales a year, and work 5 bee hives, 23 gallons of honey last year. We’d like to know if skydiving would be considered one of the outdoor recreational agricultural activities.

  4. Will you be doing the “Helping Small Towns Succeed Annual Institute” again this year. The outline looked very good but all I can find is from 2011.

  5. Could you tell me the date and location of the next Value-Added Conference?

    Thank you,

    • Louis, the 15th Annual National Value-Added Agriculture Conference will be May 19 – 21, 2013 in Rogers, Arkansas. Registration cost is estimated to be $150. Conference Hotel is $119/night at Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas, 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway, Rogers, Arkansas 72758. More info coming soon. Thanks for asking!

  6. Dave, Farm Bureau recognizes that collaborating with other groups to improve communities is the best way to go! So many diverse groups have similar missions and goals but if they talk to one another, progress can be exponential!

  7. Sabrina:
    I was pleased to see your mention of the Stronger Economies Together program in your blog. Michigan is a Phase II SET participant. I am pleased that we have purposively reached out to our local Farm Bureau leadership to engage your members’ participation in the SET training process. The regional plans we are developing include a strong agricultural base and Farm Bureau (and other agricultural organizations) need to have a voice in setting that regional vision.

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