Ambitious "Raising Nebraska" Opens at Fair


Folks at the Nebraska State Fair think they've got an exhibit second to none -- "Raising Nebraska".

Showing the diversity and unity in Nebraska agriculture, Raising Nebraska spotlights what our state's top industry is all about.

"There's an awe factor here, without a doubt," said Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann. "There's a little bit everything, this is what we do in Nebraska, to grow food. And we do it so well, so I'm glad they're highlighting that."

They're not shying away from tough issues, as visitors check out videos where "trusted voices" answer questions like why are chickens raised in cages, and what's a GMO.

Dr. Chuck Hibberd, dean of Extension said, "I hope people appreciate that as you go through this space and look at the questions we've been asking ourselves, they're the hard questions consumers really want to know about."

Hibberd is a past state fair board member from Indiana, and in all his travels has never seen anything like this.

"This experiences is unparalleled in the U.S. in terms of creating this kind of conversation," he said.

Raising Nebraska is an ambitious project, with a goal of $5 million in support.

Cargill was announced as the title sponsor, with a million dollar contribution.

Robert Racek of Cargill said, "Farming has become very sophisticated and I think very few people understand that. This is a great opportunity to further educate the general public, particularly the young individuals coming along."

Even a nun from Omaha got in line, to be among the first to ride the combine and take in the 25,000 square foot exhibit.

Sister Rosalee Clarke said, "It's wonderful and air conditioned and easy to get to restrooms and water. Beyond that, the exhibits are really interesting. I like the food exhibit where it talks about where our food comes from."

They'd like to raise more money to support and expand the exhibit. Conceptually, it may have been a tough sell because it is so different from what anyone has seen before. But now that people are walking around, they're already dreaming up new things to do in the space.