DRA is a 30 year old grassroots family agriculture and conservation group that organizes South Dakotans to protect our family farmer and ranchers, natural resources and unique way of life. DRA is the lead Farm to School organization in South Dakota and has been instrumental in beginning farmer training and advancing the local foods industry in the state.
Dakota Rural Action (DRA) was formed in 1987 to respond to the devastation wrought by the 1980’s farm crisis on farmers, ranchers, and rural main street businesses in South Dakota. DRA is a membership-based, grassroots, family agriculture and conservation group that organizes South Dakotans to protect our family farmers and ranchers, natural resources and unique way of life. DRA’s mission is to build grassroots leadership through community organizing by giving people a strong voice in decisions affecting their quality of life.
DRA has a long history of organizing around agricultural and natural resource issues and is considered a resource on issues such as county zoning, fighting corporate development of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), and farm to school - community schools having access to local foods. As an example, DRA has been working with allies to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and assisting communities faced by CAFO development. Further, DRA members organize to proactively make change happen, from training a new generation of beginning farmers and ranchers to challenging the state’s pro-extractive energy policies.
DRA organizes around issues statewide, has seven community based chapters located across the state, including the state capitol in Pierre. DRA’s chapters are geographically based predominantly in rural communities and with chapters in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.