Prosperity Amidst the Absence of Population Growth…

High school athletics in rural America are incredibly unique. Not only does the home town come together to support its youth, but the community travels hundreds of miles for “away” games. Distance takes on a new meaning in the Great Plains region of the country, and the school bus drivers get my vote for the unsung hero award as they work hard to safely deliver our kids to competitions all across the state.sandhillsroad.jpg

Saturday, the Cozad Haymakers road tripped north 140 miles to take on the Ainsworth Bulldogs. My favorite teenager is a member of the JV Girls team. I love the drive to Ainsworth — it is just under 3 hours of peaceful beauty and showcases some of Nebraska’s finest views. Both the rolling Sandhills as well as the small towns nestled along its interior are perfect examples of prosperity amidst the absence of population growth.


Outstate Nebraska (the 3rd Congressional District), covers 65,000 square miles and is home to approximately 570,000 people, and many, many more animals. The wide open spaces and abundant wildlife attest to a natural balance, and the friendly cultures of the towns show a beautiful but perhaps nontraditional definition of prosperity.

With each census that passes, rural Nebraska gives up population numbers relative to urban areas. Additionally, several investigative journalists involved in the current food movement seem to have a love affair with disparaging rural America — likening our communities to ghost towns (the antithesis of prosperity).


But, as I drive the corridors of the Cornhusker State, I see a simple beauty that warms my heart and brings peace to my soul. I am surrounded with the feeling of coming home as my eyes witness a harmony between humans and nature that defines the essence of sustainability .


Rural Nebraska (America) houses a unique form of prosperity that goes much deeper than population numbers and mortar. It is based on a culture that is rooted in community, governed by Mother Nature, and marked by a dedication to hard work and core values.


  • We rally to support our youth and the one community school that they all attend together.
  • We volunteer outside of our families and jobs to continue to ensure that our communities are viable.
  • We work with the land to produce food and fiber that provides the foundation of our country.
  • We share the belief that it is the simple things in life that ensure long term prosperity.

We demonstrate with each day that passes that there is indeed prosperity amidst the absence of population growth…


Filed under General, Rural Communities

11 responses to “Prosperity Amidst the Absence of Population Growth…

  1. theranchwifechronicles

    After spending the weekend in Denver, this post is perfectly timed. The drive across the prairie of Wyoming and south west South Dakota is beautiful. The big big city is a nice place to visit and makes me appreciate the peacefulness of the prairie that much more.

  2. doc raymond

    Well said.

    • Thanks, Doc. You have a unique perspective as you have lived many different places in your life. I think that we both share a healthy respect for the wide open spaces!

      Good to hear from you,

  3. Bobbi

    The sandhills are best kept secret in Nebraska! If I 80 didn’t do such a good job shutting folks through the state more people would want to live in central and western Nebraska after they see the beauty that we live in!!! I laugh every single time someone tells me that Nebraska is sooo flat! I tell them you may want to ask my horse how flat our summer range is, I think he will disagree!!

      • I agree, Bobbi. There is much more to Nebraska than the flat corridor of I-80. I have found over the years that I love both the flat valleys and the rolling hills and canyons — it all makes up the state that I love to call “home” 🙂

        Good to hear from you,

  4. Beautiful post! While we don’t have as long to drive between schools here in Indiana, I can certainly relate to the value of community and the gifts from the land.

    • Thank you, Elise. There is indeed tremendous beauty in the “value of community and the gifts from the land” — Your words are the essence of why I love living in rural America!

      I am glad that you enjoyed the post.


  5. Reminds me of my childhood and traveling long distances to play an opposing team in one of the many sports I played. It never bothered me to have to go such a long way. I think people are too close to things and when you are a little further you appreciate people and places more then things. Hope your kiddos team did well.
    – Kim

    • The girls have had their “ups and downs”, but all together they are putting together a very good season. The game referenced above they lost by 1 point, but last night they had an awesome 50-26 victory 🙂

      It is fun for me to watch the girls build skills and develop a love for the game — and the community that they represent and call home. I know that the “space” in Nebraska has been very good for me over the past 20 years — my perspective and appreciation for the blessings in my life have grown substantially as I have become a “rural American”.

      Good to hear from you, Kim. Hope that all is well back east.


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