Nebraska Farmer History

 Nebraska Farmer Serving Faithfully for Nearly 150 Years

When Robert Furnas published Volume 1, No. 1 of Nebraska Farmer, it was October 1859, eight years before Nebraska Territory became a state.

Today, as then, Nebraska Farmer remains an integral part of Nebraska agriculture as the state's leading source of agricultural information.

Three years after starting Nebraska Farmer, Furnas was called to military service in the Civil War, interrupting temporarily his plans for the magazine. He later was elected Nebraska's second governor, taking office in 1873. Furnas returned to the Nebraska Farmer after his term in office.

Furnas was not the only Nebraska Farmer publisher and editor to mix publishing and politics.

That combination also served well another prominent Nebraska Farmer editor and publisher--Samuel R. McKelvie. McKelvie bought the publication in the early 1900s and in 1918 was elected to the first of two terms as Nebraska governor. When he first took office, in his early 30s, McKelvie was known as the "Boy Governor."

Today, Nebraska Farmer serves a diverse geographic region, from the rolling dryland hills of eastern Nebraska, to the bountiful Platte River Valley, to the Sandhills native prairie region. That translates into a wide variety of crops, both irrigated and dryland, and one of the nation's leading ranching and cattle feeding regions.

In the early twentieth century, Nebraska Farmer was instrumental in forming the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association and in sponsoring state hand-husking contests.

Glen Buck succeeded McKelvie as president and publisher of the Nebraska Farmer publishing-printing company after McKelvie's death in 1956.

In the 1950s and 60s, under the leadership of Editor Marv Russell, Nebraska Farmer served as a strong voice against burdensome personal property taxes levied on the state's producers. That effort led to the easing of the tax burden.

Among the many Nebraska Farmer milestones throughout the decades have been the establishment in 1947 of Colorado Rancher and Farmer, which is now part of the Western Farmer Stockman, and the creation of the Husker Harvest Days farm show in 1978. Located six miles west of Grand Island, Husker Harvest Days is the nation's largest farm show in which all crops are irrigated, assuring a crop each year.

Nebraska Farmer, in its coverage of water resource issues and irrigation management practices throughout the years, has been a leading source of information on those issues for Nebraska water users.

, in its coverage of water resource issues and irrigation management practices throughout the years, has been a leading source of information on those issues for Nebraska water users.

Nebraska Farmer publishing company was sold to Harcourt Brace and World, later named Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich (HBJ), in the late 1960s.

publishing company was sold to Harcourt Brace and World, later named Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich (HBJ), in the late 1960s.

Farm Progress Companies purchased all HBJ-owned farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer, in 1991.

Editors following Marv Russell were Bob Bishop and Dave Howe. Don McCabe is the current editor of Nebraska Farmer.