Reports & Publications

We aren't afraid of the weeds. The people living in rural America deserve a serious and in-depth look at the issues and forces impacting their communities.

On April 1, 2015, Dr. Allan Jenkins, Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Dr. Ron Konecny, Professor of Management at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, released "Nebraska Medicaid Expansion: Protecting a Critical Infrastructure, Supporting Main Street, Improving...
  • Rural Health
In this report, we outline best practices for developing local and regional food systems in the state. First-hand information came from interviews we conducted with individuals, organizations, and institutions involved in the production, marketing, and usage of local food. They are documented...
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Towns
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is an example of a social safety net, anti-poverty effort, the usage of which varies by place of residence. This brief uses data from the Internal Revenue Service on usage of the EITC, and compares overall usage with U.S. Census Bureau geographic classifications...
  • Small Towns
A review of recent data shows that a significant number of households across the nation received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) benefits. Large numbers of households in metropolitan, small city, and rural areas received SNAP benefits. This brief uses...
  • Small Towns
This Brief is part of a series examining socio-economic aspects of the 2010 Census for the Great Plains and parts of the Midwest. This is the third in a series of briefs examining data from the 2010 Census.
  • Small Towns
A robust electric grid is vital to the health of any economy. Successful improvement of the decades-old infrastructure already in place will enhance reliability, allow for the seamless integration of renewable resources and account for heightened electricity demand. This effort will open the door to...
  • Environment
This brief will examine the age distribution of the region, an important short and long-term demographic and social and economic issue. This is the second in a series of briefs examining data from the 2010 Census.
  • Small Towns
Data from the 2010 Census show that rural areas in the Great Plains and Midwest continue to lose population, while smaller cities and metropolitan areas continue to expand.
  • Small Towns
The local grocery store is an integral institution of rural communities and in rural life. Not only does the local grocery store provide the sustenance of life, it fills the roles of economic driver, community builder, employer and meeting place. Unfortunately, many rural communities across the...
  • Small Towns
Health care in rural communities has many aspects – access to physicians, dentists, nurses, and mental health services; the financial circumstances of rural hospitals; federal rules concerning Medicare reimbursement rates and the impact on rural hospitals and healthcare professionals; and the...
  • Small Towns
"Swept Away: Chronic Hardship and Fresh Promise on the Rural Great Plains" describes the economic conditions of agriculturally-based communities in the six-state region of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We identified 182 counties (of 503) throughout this region as...
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Towns
"Trampled Dreams: The Neglected Economy of the Rural Great Plains" describes the economic conditions of small agricultural communities as compared to other urban and metropolitan areas in a six-state region comprised of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Based on the...
  • Small Towns
The "Small Schools" series of articles began as a response to the public statements of some legislators, metropolitan school board members, and others about the need to eliminate small, rural schools. They said small schools are “inefficient,” and take away too many resources (i.e., public aid to...
  • Small Towns
This is the final report of a task force on Nebraska tax reform. It was commissioned by the Center for Rural Affairs and published in January 1992. The task force found that Nebraska's tax system suffered from three major faults: Nebraska depends too heavily on property tax. It provided 46 percent...
  • Small Business
The "Small Farm Energy Primer" is a collection of reports on energy alternatives and conservative techniques to help lower the high costs of energy inputs on small farms. The reports, entitled, "Project Focus," include innovations built by northeast Nebraska farmers who participated in the Small...
  • Environment
The 1974 Center for Rural Affairs report on vertical integration and large-scale hog production – "Who Will Sit Up With The Corporate Sow?" – accurately predicted the most onerous impacts that consolidation and vertical integration would have on family farm hog producers over the last 30 years. The...
  • Farm and Food