Latest Updates from

Husker Alumnus Instrumental in Valentine’s Downtown Revitalization

Wed, 06/22/2022 - 09:39

Valentine’s Main Street looks a little different lately. In summer 2019, the Nebraska Department of Transportation began repaving Highway 83, which runs through Valentine’s business district, and the Sandhills city got to work revitalizing its downtown streetscape. From revamping parking to installing greenspace, the town of 2,700 is creating a place where visitors feel welcome and residents feel at home. And it’s all been aided by a University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumnus.

Kearney, Seward Farmers Markets Become SNAP Certified

Fri, 05/27/2022 - 10:12

This summer, in nearly 100 communities across Nebraska, vendors are selling fresh produce, baked goods, handmade crafts, clothing and more at local farmers markets. To make fresh goods and produce even more accessible, this year two rural Nebraska farmers markets are qualified to accept SNAP benefits.

26 Students Begin Rural Fellows Experiences

Tue, 05/24/2022 - 10:40

Twenty-six students begin their 10-week internships in 16 Nebraska communities on May 24. They are the newest cohort of Rural Fellows, an experiential learning program organized through the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Rural Prosperity Nebraska initiative.

Collaboration Brings Homecare Cooperative Academy to Nebraska

Mon, 04/25/2022 - 11:51

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Nebraska Cooperative Development Center is collaborating with the Northwest Cooperative Development Center, based in Olympia, Wash., to create an online academy that walks rural communities through creating homecare co-ops in their communities. The six-session academy begins May 4 and runs weekly through June 8. Sessions will be available on Zoom for free.

CEC Conference Promotes Local Entrepreneurial Development

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 09:59

The Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference will be held April 27 to 28 in Columbus’ historic downtown business district.

RPN Newsletter—Second Quarter 2022

Fri, 04/15/2022 - 11:42

Our newsletter for the second quarter of 2022 is here!

Download the latest updates from the RPN team on community developement and vitality in Nebraska.

Leading Locally Program Helps Create Leaders in Rural Communities

Wed, 04/06/2022 - 09:17

“To lead is to seek out different viewpoints,” said Lexi Curnyn of Wayne.

“To lead is to be an example,” said Christine Haney of Schuyler.

“To lead is to encourage one another to be their best self,” said John Mullen of Wayne.

“To lead is to be that resourceful person that anyone can come to,” said Adi Perez of Schuyler.

A Community of Cooperation: Lynch Opens Cooperative Grocery Store

Wed, 03/23/2022 - 09:40

Lincoln, Neb., March 23, 2022—According to the USDA, a “food desert” is any rural community more than 10 miles from its nearest food retailer. In early 2020, Lynch became a food desert when its only grocery store closed. In a community where the closest stoplight is 45 miles away, locals didn’t want grocery shopping to become a road trip. So they decided to make some changes. 

Manhani Mattos Advises Students in Community Development

Wed, 03/09/2022 - 10:55

Within every endeavor, there are people behind the scenes who are rarely recognized by the general public. When it comes to Rural Prosperity Nebraska and community development, Daniela Manhani Mattos, an assistant professor and graduate thesis adviser in the Department of Agricultural Economics, is one such person.

ECAP Program Helps Nebraskans Create Communities They Want

Wed, 02/23/2022 - 09:39

Tilden residents enter the city library, bundled up against the cold. They greet each other between sips from their thermoses, then take a seat. Jordan Grummert-Rasmussen and Amanda Kowalewski, extension educators for Rural Prosperity Nebraska, welcome the attendees and begin the first meeting of the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process program.

Kowalewski Focuses on Building Strong, Resilient Communities

Wed, 02/09/2022 - 13:37

At the Tilden Public Library, Nebraska Extension Educator Amanda Kowalewski welcomes residents to the first discussion of the Entrepreneurial Community Activation Process program. When meeting with community members for the first time, she often asks about their hopes, dreams and challenges for their community.

“I really want to know their perspective,” Kowalewski said.

As a Rural Prosperity Nebraska extension educator, she knows it’s not her job to fix communities, but to learn how to help locals where they most want help.

Former Rural Fellows say Program Helped Them Gain Skills, Knowledge

Tue, 01/25/2022 - 09:35

Rural Prosperity Nebraska’s Rural Fellowship program recently finished its eighth year. Since 2013, students from around the globe have spent their summers living, working and serving in rural Nebraska communities. During their immersive internships, Student Fellows have strengthened towns’ websites, created hike-and-bike trails and initiated small-business development programs, among other community development projects.

RPN Newsletter—First Quarter 2022

Mon, 01/24/2022 - 16:05

Our newsletter for the first quarter of 2022 is here!

Download the latest updates from the RPN team on community developement and vitality in Nebraska.

RPN Educators

Wed, 01/12/2022 - 13:09

Rural Prosperity Nebraska has 72 educators in all regions of the state. And they’re ready to help you and your community.

No matter the plan you want to develop, the grant you want to apply for, the idea you want to execute, the project you want to complete, the downtown you want to revitalize, the business you want to bring in, or even the advice you want to hear, our educators have the expertise and experience to bring prosperity and vitality to your community.

Emery Named Director of Rural Prosperity Nebraska

Wed, 12/15/2021 - 10:08

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has named Mary Emery as the inaugural director of Rural Prosperity Nebraska. She will begin her appointment Feb. 15.

Rural Fellowship Program Announces Funding, Scholarships

Tue, 12/07/2021 - 10:47

Nebraska communities that participate in Rural Prosperity Nebraska’s 2022 Rural Fellows program will be eligible for financial support. In total, $100,000 will be available to communities that host students to work on projects as part of the Rural Fellows summer internship program.

In addition, 10 $1,000 scholarships to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources will be awarded to high school students who are selected to serve for 10 hours a week for 10 weeks in their hometowns.

SourceLink Nebraska Helps Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Find “the Right Resources at the Right Time”

Tue, 11/09/2021 - 11:17
Rural Prosperity Nebraska, a division of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has partnered with the Nebraska Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska–Omaha to launch SourceLink Nebraska on Nov. 16. At launch, the online platform will offer over 870 resources from approximately 500 organizations across the state to help entrepreneurs and business owners create and expand their businesses.

3 Internship Programs Help Rural Nebraska Thrive

Wed, 11/03/2021 - 12:25
Of the 531 communities in Nebraska, 427 are considered rural. Each year, fellows and interns live in a number of these towns to help with community improvement projects, thanks in large part to three collaborative programs: the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Rural Fellowship, Lead for America’s Lead for Nebraska and the Nebraska Community Foundation’s Hometown Interns.

The Rural Fellowship program has existed for eight years; Hometown Interns, three; and Lead for Nebraska, one. In 2021, 57 fellows and interns served in 36 communities across the state.

IANR Names Finalists for Rural Prosperity Nebraska Director, Program Leader

Mon, 11/01/2021 - 10:02
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has selected four finalists in its search for director, and one finalist for program leader, of Rural Prosperity Nebraska. The candidates will visit Nebraska and participate in public seminars in Lincoln Nov. 4 to 30.