Rangeland insurance, homemaking, post office communities in GP Quarterly

Released on 06/19/2008, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., June 19th, 2008 —

In the spring issue of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Great Plains Quarterly, three geographers wrote about the impact of rangeland insurance on ranching economy, homemaking on the range as revealed in early 20th-century Plains photograph albums, and early post-office communities of Holt County, Neb.

In his article about the impact of rangeland insurance on ranching economy and culture, Haskell Indian Nations University geographer Rex J. Rowley writes about the human relationship with the land and the recent invention of crop insurance. Rowley describes the ranching culture as threatened by a number of events, including climate and drought, restricted access to public grazing land and subdivision of rural rangeland to meet an increasing demand for second homes. He offers five suggestions for maintaining functioning ranches and discusses the potential of rangeland insurance.

Christina Dando, assistant professor of geography at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, wrote about photography, which she suggests was a key to the transformation of the Plains. "Photographs taken during the settlement process reveal how Plains settlers were placing themselves into the landscape as they were constructing their homes," said Dando. "Photograph albums capture the physical as well as conceptual place-making of the Plains, constructed as they were by individuals to reflect their particular view of the Plains and their lives."

Rebecca A. Buller, a doctoral student at UNL, investigated past communities of Euro-American settlements, concentrating her search on Holt County, where she found only nine communities remaining from the 92 that were established from 1875 to 1912. Most of these towns were "post office communities," Buller said. "Their function was to serve a surrounding area with mail. (But) a post office was frequently not enough to ensure a community's survival."

Great Plains Quarterly is published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at UNL. The journal may be purchased in the Great Plains Art Museum gift shop at 1155 Q St., or by calling the center at (402) 472-3082. Order forms are available online at www.unl.edu/plains.