For Nebraska, the Big 10 conference is more than football and other athletic programs.
According to Ronnie Green, vice chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the conference the UNL joined in 2010 "is an academic conference as well as athletic conference. It is the only conference like it."
Green spoke at the recent Nebraska Ag Classic in Kearney. The Classic is the annual gathering of 11 Nebraska farm and commodity associations.
Green says the 12 Big 10 institutions have strong academic ties and work together on numerous programs. "They are some of the premier public universities in the country in, for instance, engineering and business administration," he explained. "The conference's eight land grant universities are also some of the top programs in the country."
UNL is among the top tier of land grant universities in the Big 10 in agriculture and natural resources, Green said.
The academic and research collaboration among the schools will result in additional opportunities and funding for UNL programs, in agriculture and other areas.
Green spoke of UNL's long-term vision, including the goal of enrolling 30,000 students by 2017. That five-year goal also entails increasing enrollment in the College of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources.
"The 3,000 students enrolled in some type of agriculture and natural resources major at UNL is currently at a record high," Green said. "My goal is to grow enrollment at CASNR at a faster than the rest of the university.
"We need these graduates to meet the major challenges such as food production facing the world today," he added.