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.

Gary Fehr, Green School Farms, near Lincoln, Nebraska, sells vegetables to area schools. Markets I sell to “I grow market vegetables and primarily sell via Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), direct to schools, at farmers markets, through contract growing, and wholesale distribution.” Best...
  • Small Towns
Mark Roh, of Abie Vegetable People and co-owner of Lone Tree Foods, provides fresh vegetables to local schools. Abie Vegetable People is located near Abie, Nebraska. Favorite aspect of selling to schools “The volume of food we are supplying and knowing that we can provide better food for the kids...
  • Small Towns
What is community inclusion? Community inclusion is about bringing people together, learning from each other, and enriching our communities through our collective differences. We accomplish this by identifying and creating opportunities to bring more awareness and engagement across cultural divides...
  • Small Towns
Marilee and Katie Polacek's farm is located outside Bruno, Nebraska. Land with a legacy Marilee and her daughter, Katie, have farmland that has been in the Polacek family for 120 years. Since Marilee’s husband, Louie, passed away 14 years ago, Marilee and her three children have mostly rented out...
  • Farm and Food
The Joan Buhrmann and family farm is located outside Sprague, Nebraska. A strong family history After seeing an advertisement while living in Europe, the Buhrmanns knew they wanted to purchase land right away. The family initially traveled to the U.S. for the Homestead Act, and found their way to...
  • Farm and Food
Stephanie O'Keefe's farm is located outside Blair, Nebraska. Family farming Stephanie’s son-in-law serves as the land operator. They work together to implement conservation practices that are important to both of them. Willingness to share experience Because of Stephanie’s conservation practices and...
  • Farm and Food
Renewables have been the fastest growing energy source since 2017 when costs reached a key milestone. Costs dropped enough to make wind and solar the cheapest form of conventional energy. Rural communities often carry this infrastructure. This fact sheet looks at the environmental impacts of wind...
  • Environment
Renewables have been the fastest growing conventional energy source since 2017 when wind and solar energy became cheaper than coal and natural gas. Rural communities often carry the infrastructure for this new clean energy economy. This fact sheet looks at the environmental impacts of transmission...
  • Environment
51 to 75% of food is made from scratch. Wayne Community Schools bakes a majority of their own bread for school meals. School spotlight Food service director: Judy Poehlman Regional location: Northeast Nebraska Number of students: 930 Number of feeding sites: 2 Meal participation rate: 70% Number of...
  • Small Towns
11 to 25% of food is made from scratch. Omaha Public Schools has a goal of increasing this number to 26 to 50% in the secondary schools. School spotlight Food service director: Tamara Yarmon Regional location: Eastern Nebraska Number of students: 52,000 Number of feeding sites: 93 Meal participation...
  • Small Towns
26 to 50% of food is made from scratch. Thayer Central Community Schools has a goal to increase this percentage to 75% in the future. School spotlight Food service director: Jennifer Waldmeier Regional location: Southeast Nebraska Number of students: 436 Number of feeding sites: 1 Number of food...
  • Small Towns
Stated purpose The approximately 125-mile, 345 kilovolt line would connect northeastern Iowa and western Wisconsin, helping to improve reliability in the local area and the region. The line will work in combination with other Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s Multi-Value Projects in the...
  • Environment
Rural America faces a conundrum in the expanding development in renewable energy. Many rural areas in the country are providing the infrastructure for a clean energy future through transmission lines, wind turbines, and utility-scale solar. But, much of the power itself is not used locally in rural communities.
  • Environment
In this edition, you will read about Liz Flores who opened a Mexican bakery, after noticing a need in her town. She’s creating opportunity for herself, her family, and her neighbors.
  • Small Towns
Iowa can chart a path forward in addressing water quality by building on its existing framework of a watershed approach with greater emphasis on watershed planning and leadership. Tax dollars Better coordination between state agencies through robust watershed planning could ensure tax dollars are...
  • Environment
Last year, voters accomplished what the Legislature could not—the expansion of Medicaid coverage for 90,000 Nebraskans in the insurance coverage gap. These residents earn too little to qualify for subsidies to purchase coverage from the insurance marketplace and too much to qualify for traditional...
  • Rural Health
In November 2018, Nebraskans voted to expand Medicaid coverage to 90,000 neighbors who fall in the insurance coverage gap. Those in the coverage gap: Earn too little to qualify for subsidies to purchase coverage from the insurance marketplace and too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid; Are...
  • Rural Health
Recently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations department conducted various raids affecting thousands of undocumented immigrants in rural America. On Aug. 8, 2018, Homeland Security Investigations conducted a raid in north central Nebraska. The town most...
  • Small Towns
Iowa has been a national leader in wind energy, and each installment has brought numerous economic benefits to the communities where projects are located. These benefits include direct payments to landowners who host turbines, employment opportunities during the construction and operation of a...
  • Environment
Rural America faces a conundrum with the expansion of renewable energy. Many rural areas in the country are providing infrastructure for a clean energy future, but are dependent on the energy resource mix of their rural electric cooperative, or co-ops. Nationally, co-ops derive 67 percent of their...
  • Environment