Land grant courtesy photo

As part of its N150 celebrations, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is honoring those who now use the land that helped establish the university as a land-grant institution in 1857.

The Morrill Act of 1862, along with the Nebraska Enabling Act of 1864, provided nearly 135,000 acres across 13 counties to establish the University of Nebraska, according to Nebraska Today. A new UNL project called Land-Grant Connects honors people who live on or own that land today. 

Land-Grant Connects is a project of Nebraska Extension, which conveys the land-grant mission through research, education and outreach year round. 

“The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s roots run deep across this state,” Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension, told Nebraska Today. “Through Land-Grant Connects, we’re exploring that history and celebrating those who live on the land that played such a key role in the beginning of our story, whom we continue to serve today.”

On the Land-Grant Connects website, users can see a history of the university’s land-grant process, an interactive map of the original granted land and current landowners’ stories about the history of their land. 

The Winter family of Madison County has lived on their land for 153 years and six generations, according to the website. On the land, which is located a few miles north of Norfolk, sits the original family home built in 1896, with an addition from the 1970s.

UNL publicly recognized land owners like the Winters at county fairs throughout the summer, and will recognize more at the Nebraska State Fair on Sept. 1, according to Nebraska Today.