Eakins & Snyder / Snyder Bros of Keith County, Nebraska
2015 Grassland Conservation Award Presented The Eakins & Snyder / Snyder Bros. operation from Paxton has been awarded the Twin Platte Natural Resources District 2015 Grassland Conservation Award. The presentation was made at a December 8th award banquet held at the Haythorn Ranch Figure 4 Traditions Event Center. There to receive the award were Bruce and Roxie Snyder, Ken Snyder, and Don and Karen Eakins. The family members received an award plaque and an outdoor sign which was sponsored by First National Bank of North Platte. (From left) Twin Platte Natural Resources District Board Chairman Dennis Schilz and Grasslands Stewardship Coordinator Bill Carhart, Roxie and Bruce Snyder, Ken Snyder, and Karen and Don Eakins, and First National Bank of North Platte President Greg Wilke. Not present for picture was Chris Snyder, Ken’s wife. (Jeff Headley photo)
The Snyder Brothers’ operation began over 60 years ago with a partnership between brothers Bruce and Bill Snyder. The original land holdings were owned in the 1920’s by the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska, the Dean of the University of Nebraska College of Agriculture, and Bruce and Bill’s father, William P. Snyder, the Superintendent of the University’s Experiment Station. It was these close ties with the University of Nebraska that led to the eventual use of new technology and implementation of proven breeding systems in the Snyder Brothers’ Angus breeding operation. Today, the cow herd still stems from the original 17 cows purchased in the 1940’s and is operated by the third generation of the Snyder Family, Bruce and Ken Snyder and their brother-in-law, Don Eakins.
Farming and ranching has been Bruce, Don and Ken’s only business. This dependence on agriculture led them to select genetics in their Angus herd that work well in the real world. Those economically driven traits included moderate mature cow size and moderate feed requirements, as well as calving ease. Their Nebraska Sandhills operation has provided over 1,000 bulls for their commercial and registered customer base during 60-plus years of operation.
Eakins & Snyder utilize irrigated forages including smooth brome under a side roll irrigation system, as well as rye planted in the Fall under several pivots. They also have corn stalks available as winter forage. For many years they have applied a planned grazing system to their upland pastures, having worked with USDA-NRCS staff over the years to get their system well established.
They have installed new fence and developed new water sources to improve livestock distribution. In recent years, they seeded nearly 200 acres to grass through USDA’s CREP Program and the Nebraska Buffer Strip Program, as well as an earlier 50 acre wheatgrass seeding. In 2012, Eakins & Snyder participated in a USFWS program to clear about 170 acres of invasive Russian olive and cedar trees from their river bottom grasslands. Also through that project about 3,400 linear feet of wetland slough was restored, along with invasive cattail removed from about five acres of wetlands.
The improved forage and habitat on their river bottom land is a prime example of what can be accomplished to enhance a grassland operation’s productivity. Congratulations to Bruce and Roxie Snyder, Ken and Chris Snyder, and Don and Karen Eakins on all your accomplishments!