Catch Up With Chuck Episode 13 The Future of Rural Leadership with Matthew and Joseph Brugger


Feb. 8, 2018

Joining Chuck in this week’s episode of Catch Up With Chuck are Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program students Matthew and Joseph Brugger who are passionate about their rural hometown of Albion, Nebraska. They plan to bring their commitment, mentorship and business back to their rural community after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Coming from a farming background in a small rural community, Matthew and Joseph developed a responsible work ethic very early on in their childhood. They specifically noted their mother’s mindful practices that taught them the value of being present and living in the moment.

Albion’s education system empowered the brothers to reach their full potential by giving them space and tools to learn, lead and be creative and innovative. The support from their community led them to see the opportunities in the world to build their future in the way that they wanted, and it ultimately influenced their decision to want to go back to the community after they graduate. RFI believes that people have the capacity to shape their own futures.

“Engler puts the tools in our toolbox to be able to control our own destiny.”

-Joseph Brugger


The transition from their hometown of Albion to the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln made sense for Matthew and Joseph. RFI believes that entrepreneurs are individuals and communities that combine strategic foresight and grit to take action to reach their desired futures. Their business, Upstream Farms and Enterprises, is a fourth generation farm that provides integrated solutions for producers and healthy food options for families, while building rural communities.

The brothers believe that economic development and community development in rural communities are complexly linked. Through building their business, they have become a “backbone”  to inspire the next generation of rural leaders in their community. They believe that empowering youth to take ownership of their future allows them to find their home in their community to which they will want to return.


“If you want to be successful as a rural community, you have to be able to pass on the torch to the younger generation, believe in them, and take a risk in them.”

-Matthew Brugger


Matthew and Joseph believe that it is important for young people to know that they can make an impact in their community and a difference in the world. They also shared how older generations can empower the youth in their community to develop their future. They believe that youth empowerment in this way will lead to more and more young people wanting to return to their rural communities.


Catch Up With Chuck is Facebook Live series with Rural Futures Institute Founding Executive Director Chuck Schroeder. Airing most Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. (CST) on RFI’s Facebook Page, Chuck uses this time to discuss critical rural topics and the latest about RFI while answering viewers’ questions. Stay in touch with Catch Up With Chuck and the Rural Futures Institute through Facebook and Twitter. We will be back soon with another episode looking at rural people and places, success stories, innovators, thinkers and doers who are making rural communities a legitimate best choice for worthwhile living.