New Learning Experience at State Fairgrounds Dubbed "Raising Nebraska"

GRAND ISLAND, NE—Raising Nebraska has been announced as the official name for the new 25,000 square foot interactive display about Nebraska agriculture that debuts at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

The learning experience will include a wide range of interactive displays including a full-sized pivot irrigation system, a video theatre enclosed in a grain bin, a 50-foot-long floor map of Nebraska, a virtual combine ride, an interactive dinner table and other educational experiences.

The results of a statewide independent consumer research study clearly indicated that Raising Nebraska is a strong brand name for the facility. The new brand name will be supported by the phrase: "Your food & the families who grow it."

Raising Nebraska provides a great deal of flexibility in terms of the content, messaging and experiences that people will have inside the exhibit, according to Dr. Charles Hibberd, dean of extension at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.

"First, it's about what Nebraska does best—raising high quality crops and livestock to provide food, feed, fuel and fiber for the world," Dr. Hibberd. "It also underscores the fact that agriculture and food production raise the state's economy from border to border and raise the profile of Nebraska on a global scale."

Hibberd noted that Raising Nebraska also refers to raising healthy families and raising overall awareness among consumers about where their food comes from. "We want consumers to meet the people who grow the food we all eat," he added. "There are plenty of opportunities in this exhibit for one-on-one conversations between farmers, ranchers and consumers."

"We also intend to raise awareness about the variety of career opportunities in agriculture, natural resources and food production so we can keep young people in the state and continue to strengthen Nebraska's leadership," Hibberd said. "Nebraska is a global center for research and innovation in agriculture and natural resources stewardship. This is where the future of sustainable food production is happening."

The working name for the exhibit has been "the Nebraska Agriculture Experience" , Hibberd said. "That was a pretty big mouthful. We knew we wanted something that had more marketing power and gave us the opportunity to expand the messaging and impact of the exhibit. Nebraska consumers clearly told us that Raising Nebraska was the way to go."

While Raising Nebraska will debut at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair, it will be available throughout the year for school groups, trade teams, and other visitors by appointment. A full-time UNL extension educator will be on-site year-round to manage the exhibit and work with visiting groups.

Raising Nebraska is a collaborative effort between the Nebraska State Fair, which is providing the building; the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the state's commodity groups; and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), which is developing and managing the 25,000 square foot educational experience area.