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.

Why study the food system? In Nebraska, more than $4.4 billion is spent annually on food and 90 percent of that comes from outside of the state. Nebraska’s food system is reliant on other areas of the country, the strength of their food systems and local economies, and the availability of their...
  • Small Towns
Originally from Ogallala, Nebraska, Eric spent part of his childhood in The Cornhusker State, and part of it in The Keystone State—Pennsylvania. He grew up in a family with a conventional farm mindset. Upon returning to Nebraska, Eric studied agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska...
  • Farm and Food
Connectivity is the defining aspect of our 21st century economy. Access to broadband internet in all corners of Nebraska is essential for rural economic development. Unfortunately, an inaccurate method of reporting and mapping access to broadband services has led to thousands of Nebraska’s rural...
  • Small Towns
Energy efficiency is a key element to Iowa’s role in leading the transition to clean, renewable energy. However, there have recently been challenges to Iowa's energy efficiency. Passed in 2018, Senate File 2311 establishes spending caps for energy efficiency programs, allows customers to opt out of...
  • Environment
Ben Schole, originally from Hooper, Nebraska, works the land that his father farmed before him—land which has deep roots in their family. Enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971, Ben used the G.I. Bill to further his education at Colorado State University. Later, he worked at Nebraska Game and...
  • Farm and Food
The Beginning Veteran Farmer Tax Credit seeks to expand Nebraska’s existing beginning farmer tax credit program. The credit would add a 1 percent incentive for property and landowners who rent agricultural property or assets to a qualified beginning veteran farmer. This credit incentivizes the...
  • Farm and Food
This 2019 calendar illustrates month-by-month the accomplishments you helped us achieve in 2018. With your help, small businesses are open and expanding; food systems are created and thriving; and rural people across the country are making their voices heard. Your donations and your actions helped...
  • Small Towns
Adverse possession is an ancient legal principle that has a counterintuitive outcome in practice. It seems to fly in the face of our deeply held views of property ownership in the United States. Because of this, it is often misunderstood by the general population. The basic social theory underlying...
  • Farm and Food
  • Small Towns
In this edition, you will read about our research on broadband internet and our urging to policy makers for fair distribution. We are also asking lawmakers in Washington to pass a new farm bill, to be fair to our rural communities, farmers, and ranchers. In another report, we talked with farmers and water officials to make sure each side is fairly considered on a contentious issue.
  • Small Towns
Wind farm development brings numerous economic benefits to the counties and local communities where they’re 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
Wind farm development brings numerous economic benefits to the counties and local communities where they 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
Wind farm development brings numerous economic benefits to the counties and local communities where the wind farms are located. Among the perks are direct payments to landowners who host turbines, as well as employment opportunities in the area during the construction and operation of a project. In...
  • Environment
Ruth Chantry, originally from Omaha, Nebraska, grew up canning and gardening. Together, she and her husband started on a community farm in Wisconsin. They had a steep learning curve, which helped equip them with the tools and knowledge needed to start their own farm. They moved to Nebraska and...
  • Farm and Food
Access to long-term care facilities in Nebraska is an issue that impacts thousands of families across the state. Rural facilities are closing and their capacity is dwindling as long-term health care services shift to a handful of metropolitan counties. While a net total of 16 rural facilities have...
  • Rural Health
Throughout this edition, you will read about Iowa brothers who take conservation and water quality to heart; in school officials bringing local foods to lunch trays; in small business owners who are standing up for a farm bill program; in Nebraskans who have successfully placed Medicaid expansion on the November ballot; and in our Chief Administrative Officer Linda Butkus as she returns to her rural roots.
  • Small Towns
This report documents the current state of the food system on the Omaha Reservation and identifies strategies and areas of consideration to enable the Omaha people and their neighbors to move toward realizing self-reliance of their food system. As part of the Omaha Nation Food System Initiative, the...
  • Small Towns
Connectivity is the defining aspect of our 21st century economy. It determines the work we do, the markets we access, and our financial prospects, while also shaping our education, health care, and overall quality of life. Not everyone is able to participate in this evolution. In much of rural...
  • Small Towns
Throughout this edition, you will see this value in Lt. Col. Anthony and Mariel Barreras’ vision and interactions with beginning veteran farmers; in South Dak-ota businesses letting us know of their strengths and areas that need attention; and in Laurie Donnell as she starts her new role helping rural entrepreneurs.
  • Small Towns
Water quality is a contentious issue in Iowa, where high nitrogen, phosphorous, bacteria, and sediment levels in surface waters threaten public health and outdoor recreation. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, released in late 2012, aims to provide a framework for how sources of both point and...
  • Environment
Throughout this edition, you will see this value in rural residents forming food policy councils; in Nebraskans as they seek to put Medicaid expansion on the November ballot; and in our own Veronica Spindola as she assists rural entrepreneurs.
  • Small Towns