Dakota Rural Action (DRA) organizes people and builds leadership while developing strong allied relationships. We protect environmental resources, advocate for resilient agriculture systems, and empower people to create policy change that strengthens their communities and cultures.


We envision an active and engaged membership promoting healthy, beautiful, and just food, agriculture, and energy systems that protect clean air, water, and soil for all the current and future inhabitants of South Dakota.

How we are organized

Dakota Rural Action is structured on three levels:


DRA is a member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils.  WORC is a regional network of grassroots community organizations that include 12,200 members and 39 local chapters across 7 western states. WORC helps member groups succeed by providing training and coordinating issue work, and is in turn led by a board of directors made up of member leaders from its member organizations. Based in Billings, Montana, WORC has field offices in Montrose, Colorado, and Washington, D.C.


DRA is a democratically controlled, member-based organization. Based in Brookings, South Dakota, DRA is a 501(c(3) tax exempt non-profit organization. It is led by a board of directors who provide oversight to our staff.


Many of DRA’s members belong to one of our local chapters working in communities across the state. Our chapters help advance our mission on the local level and make South Dakota an even better place to live, work and play. Join one of our local chapters today and help us build a better South Dakota!


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.

Resolutions and Statements

Dakota Rural Action’s adopted resolutions are a guide for our members on how we stand on certain issues.

Resolutions are reviewed every year at our annual meeting by our members and board of directors. Decisions around additions, edits, and removal of resolutions occurs when there is a need to add new resolutions to reflect our position on a new issue, to update our position on an issue, or to strike from the books something that is no longer an issue.


Are you interested in learning more? Do you want to become a member? Contact us at action@dakotarural.org or call our offices at 605-697-5204.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION, RESPECT (adopted 2017, amended 2020, 2021)

WHEREAS, all land now known as South Dakota is land stolen from the Oceti Sakowin, The Seven Council Fires, the Great Sioux Nation, and

WHEREAS, people were stolen from their homelands, enslaved, and forced to come to what is now known as the United States and it territories for the economic benefit of white people, and

WHEREAS, accounts of incidents of hate targeted at groups such as Native American, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, Jewish, Latinix, African-American, Asian, female, people with disabilities, refugee, immigrant, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two spirited and other vulnerable community members have been reported to police, on social media, and to advocacy organizations across the nation and in South Dakota; and

WHEREAS, many marginalized groups of people here, including but not limited to the original Indigenous inhabitants of South Dakota, Alaskan Natives, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)  refugees, immigrants, LGBTQ2SIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two spirit, intersex, asexual), persons who are unhoused, and persons not U. S. citizens both documented and undocumented by the federal government and residing in South Dakota, and persons who adhere to religions other than Christianity are hurting and fearful as a result of the rise of discrimination or the rhetoric of exclusion and vilification; and

WHEREAS, MMIWCM (Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Children and Men) numbers continue to increase as a result of the promotion of  activities surrounding extractive industries, hunting seasons, and the Sturgis Bike Rally and inadequate  law enforcement community; and 

WHEREAS, thousands of children’s bodies being discovered buried at or near boarding schools for Native Americans children, and previously refused burial in their homelands; and 

WHEREAS, the 1851 and 1868 Treaties of Fort Laramie, agreements between the Oceti Sakowin (the Great Sioux Nation) and the United States Government, are recognized by the United States Constitution in Article VI, Clause 2, stating that “all Treaties made or which shall be made, under the Authority of The United States, shall be the Supreme Law of the Land …”; and

WHEREAS, there is a national #LANDBACK movement led by Native Americans and Alaska Natives to regain land stolen land; and 

WHEREAS, our communities draw strength from the diversity of people including age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language; physical and mental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; political ideology; and perspective; and

WHEREAS, the United States and South Dakota’s Constitutions support the peaceful exercise of free speech and assembly for all people; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Dakota Rural Action seeks out and become good allies to a variety of Native led organizations and grassroot efforts, encourages employers, organizations and governmental entities to uphold justice, provide equality and equity of opportunity for all, actively encourage all voices to be heard, promote inclusion, and oppose acts of intolerance or discrimination; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DRA strives to an ally and seeks counsel from our friends on ways we can better achieve this goal, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DRA opposes the enactment by the State Legislature or by local ordinance any measure that would discriminate.