Latest Updates from

Legal Questions to Ask When Forming Cooperatives

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 15:39

The decision to form a cooperative has been made. While the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center encourages the engagement of legal counsel to guide this process, the steering team and future board of directors should know which questions to ask to ensure that the cooperative is legally structured, and that legal procedures are followed as the cooperative begins operations and policy decisions are made.

What are the legal documents required in Nebraska to establish your cooperative?

Readiness for Change

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 10:20

One community is innovative in addressing long-term issues and situations related to quality of life, economic impact, and demographic renewal.  Another community is not. What is the difference? What can communities do to be ready for change?  What role can Extension play in helping a community address complex situations such as identifying new leaders, being competitive in a digital economy, creating healthy communities, or attracting new populations and retaining exciting community members? One key to success is assessing community readiness for change.

Rural Prosperity Nebraska Offers $50,000 in Grants to Boost Communities

Fri, 09/03/2021 - 10:12

Rural Prosperity Nebraska is offering 10 grants, up to $5,000 each, focused on community development. By coupling University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty with Husker students, the RPN Competitive Grants Program continues a tradition of faculty- and student-led community engagement and service-learning programming.

“Community engagement and service-learning efforts foster opportunities to establish partnerships among faculty, students and community organizations,” said Dave Varner, interim dean of Nebraska Extension.

Leading Locally Program Focuses on Community Leadership

Wed, 08/25/2021 - 09:57

For many Nebraskans, life during the pandemic slowed down. But not in Schuyler. During the past year, Schuyler residents teamed up with Rural Prosperity Nebraska educators to breathe new life into their community.


Cheryl Brandenburgh, Schuyler’s economic development director, connected with Kurt Mantonya, a Nebraska Extension educator. Mantonya runs the Leading Locally program, aimed at strengthening rural communities, and Brandenburgh felt like it was a natural fit for Schuyler.

‘Most Challenging was Most Rewarding:’ Rural Fellow Details Summer Projects

Fri, 08/20/2021 - 15:02

Tori Pedersen, a senior in Agricultural Leadership at the University of Lincoln–Nebraska, spent her summer as a Rural Fellow in Lexington—a town literally 50 times smaller than her hometown of Omaha. And she couldn’t have enjoyed it more.


What was it like moving to Dawson County?

Rural Fellows Celebrate Conclusion of Summer-long Internships

Mon, 08/09/2021 - 10:41

August 6, 2021

For the past 10 weeks, 34 college students from Nebraska and Kansas have participated in an immersive internship program in 17 rural communities across Nebraska.

Known as Rural Fellows, these students worked with local leaders on improving their communities. Projects included mapping out trail systems, creating a library of small-business promotional videos, downtown revitalization efforts and movie nights in community parks.

Not Clowning Around: Plainview Thrives Under Entrepreneur Program

Mon, 08/09/2021 - 10:37

If you walked down Plainview’s Locust Street in 2018, you would’ve passed a lot of dark windows and empty storefronts. Growth had been stagnant for almost 10 years, and the community was struggling. Susan Norris was hired to change that.

“There was a real disconnect between the city and the people,” said Norris, director of Pierce County Economic Development.

Hay Helps Rural Nebraskans Explore Clean Energy Option

Mon, 08/09/2021 - 10:33

Making the switch to clean energy is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. John Hay, a Nebraska Extension educator who conducts workshops on solar energy, helps individuals make the decision that best suits their home, farm, ranch or business.

“Success isn’t always choosing to install solar,” he said. “Success is doing a good analysis of the resources to make the best decision.”

Nebraska Extension’s Barrera Helps Immigrant Business Owners

Mon, 08/09/2021 - 10:29

“Follow your passion,” says Sandra Barrera, associate extension educator with Nebraska Extension. She tells this to every new business owner she helps. And she means it, because every day she follows hers.


Extension Educator Receives National Award for Promoting the Good Life

Mon, 08/09/2021 - 10:27

Lincoln, Neb., May 19, 2021 – Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, an Extension educator of agricultural economics, has received the Distinguished Career Award from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals for her nearly 40 years of service to community development. The award ceremony, which honors one recipient annually, concluded NACDEP’s 2021 conference, which was held virtually this year.


Rural Fellows Embark on Summer of Community Development

Mon, 08/09/2021 - 10:19

Lincoln, Neb. —Working in pairs or trios, 35 University of Nebraska–Lincoln students will take part in the Rural Fellowship program while living and working in 17 communities across the state this summer.

During their 10-week residence, the fellows will collaborate with local leaders on improving the communities. Project goals include strengthening the communities’ web presence, attracting entrepreneurs, and developing city parks and trails.

American Rescue Plan Act for Rural Communities

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:28

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law by President Biden. ARPA provides direct relief to all 19,000 cities, towns and villages across the United States affected by COVID-19. The purpose of ARPA is to support pandemic recovery efforts, replace public sector lost revenue, spur job growth, jump start economic growth through household and business stabilization and address systemic public health and economic challenges.

Prepare for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Mon, 05/10/2021 - 09:34

On April 22nd, the U.S. Small Business Administration released guidelines for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RFF), a fund that is part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  The Act appropriated $28.6 billion dollars for restaurant industry focused funds.  Recipients do not need to repay the awarded funds as long as the monies are used for eligible expenses by March 11, 2023.

Steps to Become a Welcoming Community

Thu, 04/08/2021 - 12:59

Declining rural populations have been making the news for decades. There is little doubt that the trend line of the most rural counties across the country has been down (2020, Cromartie).  Nearly 35 percent of the rural counties within the United States have experienced prolonged and significant population loss (Johnson & Lichter, 2019). 

Nebraska Rural Poll Launches Statewide Survey

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 15:40

Last year, the Nebraska Rural Poll celebrated its 25th anniversary. This year will be another special milestone for the survey. Within the next month, the Rural Poll will once again arrive in mailboxes of 7,000 Nebraskans living in rural parts of the state, just as it has each year since 1996. However, this year 7,000 households in the metropolitan parts of Nebraska will also receive the same survey.

Building Talents to Build Better Businesses and Communities

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 14:54

What do great business builders have in common? Are there talents that can be strengthened to help individuals become better builders? Can these talents be used to help local organizations become more successful in building community? The answer is a definite yes!

Gallup Inc.®, a leading research company located in Omaha, conducted a comprehensive research study with more than 4,000 entrepreneurs from across the globe. Their goal was to gain a better understanding of the actions and behaviors that lead to successful business creation and growth.

Payroll Protection Program Increases Eligibility

Mon, 02/15/2021 - 15:16
Cornhusker Economics February 10, 2021
Payroll Protection Program Increases Eligibility

By Marilyn Schlake and Austin Duerfeldt

Working to Improve 4th Street, Grand Island

Mon, 02/15/2021 - 14:51

Extension Educator, Sandra Barrera is helping to promote businesses along the 4th Street corridor in Grand Island.  The Grand Island Independent follows Sandra to learn more about this Nebrask Extension program and the businesses on 4th Street.

$100,000 in grants available for Rural Fellows host communities

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 09:27

by Cara Pesek | IANR Media

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources will offer grants for communities that participate in the 2021 Rural Fellows program.