History & Background

We strive to build grassroots leadership through community organizing by giving people a strong voice in decisions affecting their quality of life.

History and Background

Dakota Rural Action grew out of a steering committee called the South Dakota Rural Organizing Project (SDROP) which began in late 1985, who wanted a sustained, effective organizing response largely because of the farm crisis. The steering committee worked with the St. Paul-based Family Farm Organizing Resource Center (FFORC), which provided organizational development assistance, handled the books and served as fiscal agent. A full time lead organizer was employed May, 1986 and a voter education staff was employed in fall of 1986 to work with SDROP. It became evident that the effort needed to be focused on the cause of the farm crisis, not the effect, and Dakota Rural Action became the non-profit, non-partisan, community based organization it is today. DRA held its organizational meeting on January 10, 1987 at which time by-laws were adopted, an organizational structure was established, membership dues were set, and an issues platform was voted on by those in attendance. After the organizational meeting, DRA worked to build its base in earnest.

Dakota Rural Action Mission Statement

We strive to build grassroots leadership through community organizing by giving people a strong voice in decisions affecting their qualify of life.

The DRA mission statement was adopted in 1990, and revised in 1998. In keeping with this mission, Dakota Rural Action is structured and operates as a grassroots, membership organization of family farmers, ranchers, workers, educators, church and small business people who are dedicated to social and economic justice for South Dakota people. Members are the heart and soul of the organization, and organize in their communities to have a voice in decisions affecting their lives.