Rural Communities Struggle With Low Farming Population


The ag economy may be good in Nebraska, but it may not be enough to keep people in the state's rural communities.

Village officials say the number of farmers and ranchers in the Hayes County area are on the decline but due to consolidation, farms have gotten bigger resulting in the hiring of more people to help out.

And while the population of Hayes County is small – about 950 people according to the latest census – it's been relatively steady thanks to family ties and the draw of small town living.

"I think some are moving back for family, some may be due to the economy," said Hayes Center Village Chair Terry Wortman. "But I know these young people moving back are primarily moving in to help or to raise their families here cuz they were born and raised here."

"Loyalty to the school, think that's what it is is loyalty to the school and the community," said Village improvement committee member Michelle Lapp. "You know, we're a great place to live just maybe we don't have the opera to go to or the fancy restaurants to go to on a daily basis, but raising a family, it's a great place."

Officials add the feed lot is expanding and adding new jobs, and new residents are helping boost housing numbers as well.