Nebraska boasts the third largest agricultural economy in the United States, and one in four jobs in the Cornhusker State is tied to agriculture and natural resources. The success of the state is closely tied to agriculture. Conversely, the success of agriculture is closely tied to the vitality of the rural communities that farmers, ranchers, and the businesses that serve them call home.

In 2020, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources launched Rural Prosperity Nebraska, signaling a doubling down of UNL’s commitment to rural development and community prosperity. Community vitality is also embedded in the university’s systemwide five-year strategic vision, as articulated by the president of the University of Nebraska.  

Rural Prosperity Nebraska brings together Nebraska Extension professionals working hand-in-hand with communities across the state and with rural scholarship of faculty members from throughout the University of Nebraska system. Rural Prosperity Nebraska also comprises the Rural Poll, now in its 26th year, which aggregates the voice of rural residents on important statewide issues each year; the Rural Fellows Program, which places college students in rural communities each summer to complete service-learning projects; as well as a host of other innovative programs.