The adventure doesn’t stop when you walk out the doors of the Nebraska Building. Installed in 2015, Raising Nebraska: Outdoors is an internationally recognized creative outdoor presentation of Nebraska’s agricultural diversity.

A huge garden, shaped like the state of Nebraska, is filled with a wide variety of crops, plants, trees and grasses positioned in the areas of the state in which they are prevalent. Approximately 100 feet long and 60 feet deep, the walkways through the space represent the major river systems in Nebraska.




Raising Nebraska: Outdoors provides year-round educational experiences including:

  • Outdoor Installations featuring dozens of plants, crops, trees, and vegetation.
  • On-site kiosks, interpretive displays and educational spaces facilitate both instructor-led classes and self-guided discovery.
  • Workshops and seminars for school groups, community organizations, a wide range of agricultural and food producers, professional landscapers, specialty crop producers, and others.
  • Providing information about recreation, wildlife habitat and products for enjoyment in prairies, forests and rivers—Christmas trees, wine grapes, ecotourism on rivers and lakes.

home gardening

  • Selecting the right seeds and plants for the right place, developed through genetics, genomics and plant breeding.
  • Using cover crops and compost to amend construction soils and reduce erosion.
  • Growing fruits and nuts in small spaces for urban landscapes.
  • The popular “Backyard Farmer” television program has filmed on-location from Raising Nebraska and broadcast statewide on NET Television.


  • Demonstrating how crop rotation and tilling practices work to protect the land in different ways in different places.
  • Protecting our water supply and conserving it through best irrigation practices—turfgrass, native grasses, etc.
  • Managing grasslands for food production and conservation.
  • Using best practices and integrated pest management to touch the earth lightly and lead our young people to become the next generation of stewards of the land.

Economic opportunities

  • Using innovative ways to make byproducts useful as bioenergy and biofuels—switchgrass, corn, sweet sorghum, soybeans.
  • Creating opportunities for niche markets and producers to grow pumpkins, melons, edamame and other specialty crops.


Grand Island YWCA planting vegetables at Raising Nebraska: Outdoors in partnership with Hall County Extension.        Photo: Cami Wells, 2016.


Educational programs and experiences are designed to leverage both the outdoor and indoor spaces at Raising Nebraska to provide a comprehensive look at Nebraska agriculture, natural resources, landscapes and food production.