Rulon Taylor is the newest Extension educator to join the Rural Prosperity Nebraska team. Based in Curtis on the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture campus, Taylor works as a statewide engagement coordinator for the Nebraska Regional Food Systems Initiative. Having grown up in Curtis, he’s not only familiar with the state, but he also knows what helps rural communities thrive.
Tell us about your family life.
I come from a large family. There is myself, my parents and four siblings. My whole family lives in Nebraska.
What drew you to the position with Rural Prosperity Nebraska?
I already worked for the University of Nebraska system. I really like it. I have been able to continue to further my education through UNL and, in December, will obtain a masters of applied science with a focus in community development. This has only fueled my desire to help people. I see this position as a way that I can help people around the state.
What aspect of working with community development do you enjoy the most?
The people. 100%. I really enjoy helping people with their needs. As a community developer I get to help individuals, groups and communities achieve success. This success can take many forms. I will be focusing specifically on food chains here in Nebraska. This success could be helping a producer find new market opportunities, helping someone get into production agriculture however small that may be, or helping a grocery store source local produce. There are countless opportunities around the state for food systems development—these are just a few examples of what could happen.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years is the best thing I have every done. When I was 19 years old, I was sent to Honduras. I lived among the people, and I had the opportunity to help them in many aspects of life. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life because I was able to learn an entirely new culture and language, make lifelong friends, and forget about myself for a time.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I’m bilingual—English and Spanish. I lived in Central America for several years in my early 20s. I love being able to speak Spanish and relish opportunities where I get to use it.
What does your life look like outside of work?
I love to spend time with family and friends. Coming from rural Nebraska, I thoroughly enjoy spending time outside, participating in outdoor activities such as hunting, horseback riding, camping, etc. I’m a huge sports guy. My favorite sports would have to be football (go Big Red!) and wrestling. I grew up participating in both and had a successful wrestling career that lasted through my collegiate years. That said, I will play any sport, and I will take every opportunity I can to play whatever it may be.