Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Buffington, M. (2023). Farming for Nebraska's future: Regenerative agriculture in the Cornhusker State. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Undergraduate Honors Thesis.


Copyright Megan Buffington 2023.


This reporting project started, as many do, with questions: Who is practicing sustainable agriculture in Nebraska? Why? What is stopping others from doing the same? And what even is sustainable agriculture?

Over the course of this project, I spoke with farmers, ranchers and academics, eventually learning that regenerative agriculture is the more widely used term, and there are a wide swath of systemic barriers preventing more producers from adopting it. But for those who do take the leap, the unconventional method leads to personal and financial well-being traditional agriculture never provided. The final project is made up of three articles presented via a multimedia website featuring photos and data visualization, which can be found at megbuffington.wixsite.com/farmingfornefuture.

The first story, “Nebraskan look to regenerative ag: ‘You better always take care of the land’” profiles three producers who farm regeneratively and examines how and why they go against the grain. The second, “Money meets Mother Nature: Farmers grapple with climate change, financial struggles” emphasizes the need for change in agriculture due to extreme weather events intensified by climate change. It also touches upon the forces preventing conventional farmers from changing, including peer pressure and the influence of traditional agricultural practices. The final article, “Nebraska Healthy Soils Coalition: Learning together to transform agriculture” focuses on the efforts of a task force in the Nebraska Legislature that recommended peer learning groups to help spur adoption of healthy soil practices and reveals the stagnation it has faced.