Bureau of Business Research


Date of this Version



Business in Nebraska vol. 56, no. 656


Copyright 2001 by Bureau of Business Research, University of Nebraska.


Many rural communities in Nebraska have been losing population and their importance as trade centers for decades. At the same time, the number of family farms has been decreasing, resulting in larger operations run by fewer people. A common assumption is that the decline of small towns in the state, as evidenced by declining population and retail activity, is directly linked to the consolidation of small family farms into larger farms. Conversely, therefore, it is assumed that promoting stability of small farms and even promoting the growth in the number of small farms will lead to a revival of rural communities. While these seem to be logical assumptions on the surface, they overlook economics of agricultural production, marketing, and retail trade that have occurred over the past 70 years.