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.

26 to 50% of food is made from scratch. Overton Public Schools hopes to increase this percentage in the upcoming years. School spotlight Food service director: Brenda Buchholz Regional location: Central Nebraska Number of students: 293 Number of feeding sites: 1 Number of food service staff: 5...
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Towns
51 to 75% of food is made from scratch. Litchfield Public Schools has a goal of increasing this number to 75 to 100% in the future. School spotlight Food service director: Janice Reynolds Regional location: Central Nebraska Number of students: 120 Number of feeding sites: 1 Meal participation rate:...
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Towns
Nebraska schools source local foods in a variety of ways: Using fresh produce from school gardens and greenhouses in the school lunch and snack programs. Making purchases directly from farms, either by purchases under the micro-purchase threshold of $10,000, or putting out a competitive bid request...
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Towns
Excessive nutrient pollution in oceans and rivers can cause dense growth of plants and algae that, when decaying, deplete oxygen needed to sustain aquatic life. The technical phrase for this is eutrophication resulting in hypoxia. This condition creates the Dead Zone where the Mississippi River...
  • Environment
In this edition, you will read about Ruth Chantry who has co-run a certified organic farm for 22 growing seasons, demonstrating hard work on land she owns.
  • Small Towns
The electric transmission grid is an essential piece of infrastructure. A robust transmission system is key to linking renewable energy generation from across the region to homes and businesses, while upgrades also increase reliability of electric service. But, as the grid is updated, there are...
  • Environment
Iowa holds a rare landscape lush in high yielding, rainfed agriculture, but the bounty comes at a price. The state’s water quality threatens public health and outdoor recreation with excessive nitrate, phosphorus, bacteria, sediment, and other pollutants in surface waters. The modern agriculture...
  • Environment
Over the last 83 years, much has changed in Iowa. The state has weathered a Great Recession, undergone significant demographic shifts, and grappled with a changing agricultural economy. However, one discussion has remained a hot topic for what is now the better part of a century—water quality. For...
  • Environment
Enriqueta Martinez es coproprietario y cooperador de El Rancho El Milagro | Roca, Nebraska. Lo que producimos: betabel (remolacha), zanahorias, ajo, y cebollas.
  • Farm and Food
Justino Borja is the co-owner and co-operator of Las Gemelas near Columbus, Nebraska. What I produce: chiles, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, and green beans.
  • Farm and Food
Enriqueta Martinez is the co-owner and co-operator of El Rancho El Milagro near Roca, Nebraska. What we produce: beets, carrots, garlic, and onions.
  • Farm and Food
Hilda Moreno es copropietaria y cooperador de Los Dos Potrillos | Fremont, Nebraska. Lo que producimos: maiz, huevos, y otros vegetales.
  • Farm and Food
Justino Borja es coproprietorio y cooperador de Las Gemelas | Columbus, Nebraska. Lo que produzco: chiles, jitomates, ajo, cilantro, y ejotes.
  • Farm and Food
Hilda Moreno is the co-owner and co-operator of Los Dos Potrillos near Fremont, Nebraska. They produce corn, eggs, and other vegetables.
  • Farm and Food
Iowa’s current and future agricultural productivity relies on healthy soils. Agricultural practices have already resulted in losses of one-half to one-third of our topsoil and soil carbon. Encouraging grazing and perennial cover Incentives for working lands and pastures at the state level have...
  • Farm and Food
Every day, Nebraskans are making tough decisions about long-term care – crucial services that they, or their loved ones, need to survive. Rural long-term care facilities are closing due to staffing shortages, changes in population, and the shortcomings of programs like Medicaid and Medicare. At the...
  • Rural Health
Wind farm development brings numerous economic benefits to the counties and local communities where the farms are located. Among the perks are direct payments to landowners who host turbines and employment opportunities in the area during the construction and operation of a project. In some cases...
  • Environment
Farmers face risks, real and perceived, to their production systems when adopting a new practice, and often need technical and financial support to counter those risks. In early 2017, the Center for Rural Affairs received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Extension Risk Management Education to survey Iowa farmers.
  • Environment
Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) is a financing tool that creates opportunities for businesses and nonprofits to make clean energy improvements to their properties. Key details • C-PACE enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water...
  • Environment
In this edition, you will read about Latino farmer Justino Borja who is making progress toward his dream of owning land.
  • Small Towns