Nebraska's Pioneer and Heritage farms: A geographical and historical perspective

H. Jason Combs, Natasha Winfield, Paul R. Burger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Pioneers flooded into the Nebraska Territory soon after its establishment in 1854. Early pioneers as well as landowners since then have confronted a series of boom- and- bust cycles, of hardships and economic upswings. Despite the obstacles, many families have held their land for generations, some for a century or more. The Aksarben Foundation in Omaha, Nebraska, administers two programs for Nebraska families who have retained landownership in the state for at least 150 years and 100 years, respectively- the Heritage and Pioneer Farms. The Aksarben Foundation provided data regarding landownership, land tenure, and spatial data for parcels in each program. This project examines the spatial distribution of Heritage and Pioneer Farms in Nebraska and long- term ownership rates by exploring economic and environmental pitfalls, as well as so- called boom- and- bust periods experienced by Nebraska landowners. The majority of Heritage and Pioneer Farms are owned by Nebraskans, although many are held by out- of- state owners who retain a strong connection to place. In this case, Nebraska farmland has been in their families for generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalGreat Plains Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Geographical information science (GIScience)
  • Homestead act
  • Land tenure
  • Nebraska
  • Settlement patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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