About Us

The Center for Rural Policy and Development, based in St. Peter, Minn., is a non-partisan, not-for-profit policy research organization dedicated to benefiting Minnesota by providing its policy makers with an unbiased evaluation of issues from a rural perspective. To fulfill this mission, we work with academic and non-academic researchers from throughout the state to design and conduct our research projects.

The Center’s board members come from all over the state, representing a variety of interests. Thirteen are appointed by the Governor and two are appointed by the House and Senate leadership; all members represent different aspects of rural Minnesota. Remaining members consist of  five at large positions and are  nominated then voted on by the board members themselves. The board works closely with staff to help guide the direction of the Center, to set research priorities and to help make the Center a presence in the rural policy community. To view our strategic plan, click here.

Staff

Brad Finstad
Executive Director
Marnie Werner
Research Director

 

     

Board of Directors

Timothy Houle
Chair
Crow Wing County Administrator
Brainerd   

Steve Wenzel
Vice Chair
Central Lakes College
Brainerd

Nancy Straw
Secretary/Treasurer
West Central Initiative
Fergus Falls

 
 
Eunice Biel
Harmony

Rep. Kathy Brynaert
Minn. House of Representatives
Mankato

Dave Chura
Minnesota Logger Education Program
Duluth
     

Richard Davenport
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Mankato

Wade Fauth
Blandin Foundation
Grand Rapids

Dawn Hegland
Upper Minnesota Valley RDC
Appleton

 

Anne Klein
Pine City
Dave Ladd
RDL Associates LLC
Woodbury
 William McCormack
The Schwan Food Co. (retired);
Schwan’s Development Co.;
Schwan’s Venture Group Inc.
Marshall 

 

 

 
Kevin Paap
Minnesota Farm Bureau
Garden City
Tony Sertich
Iron Range Resources
Eveleth 
 Tim Velde
Minnesota Farmers Union
Granite Falls

 

 

 

 Ron Zeigler
Community Economic Development Association
Chatfield