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What are micropolitan areas and what are the challenges there? Dr. Eric Thompson, the W.W. Marshall Associate Professor of Economics in the Nebraska College of Business and the director of the Nebraska Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, answers these questions.
Dr. Thompson’s research on the Midwest and national economy examines competitive factors affecting state and local economic growth, the role of agriculture in the economy and the economics of infrastructure. He holds a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and is a former president of the Association for University Business and Economic Research.
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Rural communities matter, but what is rural to you? RFI Fellow Dr. Brad Lubben, Extension Public Policy Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, weighs in.
Dr. Lubben has more than 24 years of experience in teaching, research and extension, focusing on agricultural policy and agricultural economics and working in Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska. He grew up on a grain and livestock farm near Burr, southeast of Lincoln.
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What will you grow after you step outside your comfort zone? ...

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RFI Community Innovation Fellow Catherine Lang, State Director of the Nebraska Business Development Center, is based at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Passionate about the state of Nebraska, she believes that "our rural communities are vital to the success of our state."

Catherine Lang leads the statewide outreach for the Nebraska Business Development Center and works to build new collaborative efforts across the University of Nebraska system to support the Center’s mission.
From 2014 to 2016, Lang was the Vice President of Accelerate Nebraska, a statewide organization connecting improved educational outcomes to local business needs for better careers and stronger communities. Lang also served the State of Nebraska for almost 33 years. She was the Director of Nebraska Department of Economic Development (December 2011 to June 2014) and the Commissioner of Labor (September 2008 to June 2014). She was the Nebraska Property Tax Administrator from 1996 to 2007 and the Deputy Tax Commissioner from 2007 to 2008. As an involved state and community leader, she is also a member of several local and state philanthropic and community organizations.
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RFI’s Associate Executive and Chief Futurist Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild discussed the need for disruption in the health care industry during her presentation today at the Nebraska Rural Health Association Conference. Here are just a few of her slides.

As the growth of people-centered, purpose-driven health care continues to intersect with the tech sector, rural communities and health care systems need to blend high-tech innovations with high-touch care for the betterment of patients, employees and citizens. However, the ways in which this happens are poised to exponentially change in the next few years.

Dr. Connie also discussed significant megatrends that hold opportunities for rural people and communities worldwide.
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