Newman Family Farm of Big Springs, Nebraska
Dick Newman owns a farm approximately 20 miles southwest of Ogallala, Nebraska. The property was deeded as the “Lone Tree Ranch” due to the fact that only one tree stood on the entire ranch and surrounding area. The original owner was Cyrus McCormick, who purchased the land in 1885 from the Union Pacific Railroad via a government program to help fund the railroad project.
Both of Dick’s great-grandfathers, Frank Dodge and Charles Kuskie, came to Keith County, Nebraska to farm. The property was purchased by Bert C. Kuskie, Dick’s grandfather, in 1945, and farmed continuously for six years until 1951 when he sold the land to Dick’s parents, William Newman and Evelyn Kuskie Newman. They operated the farm until 1996, at which time they retired and turned the land over to Dick.
After acquiring the farm, Dick placed approximately 1,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program. Since this time, 4,563 trees and shrubs have been planted through the Twin Platte Natural Resources District cost-share program. In addition to the cost-share program, Dick has personally planted 400 more trees and shrubs.
The trees planted on the Lone Tree Ranch include the Eastern Red Cedar and Rocky Mountain Juniper. A variety of shrubs planted consist of American Plum, Sumac, Chokecherry, Buffaloberry, Sandcherry, and Honeysuckle. Maintenance and care for the trees have proven to be an extensive job. Dick hand waters the trees and shrubs by hauling water in a 300 gallon tank mounted on a small trailer. The trees and shrubs have a high rate of survival and have thrived with substantial growth.
Dick has completed several other conservation and wildlife habitat projects, including the construction of 13 dams which have prevented soil erosion along with providing water for abundant wildlife. Two springs were also developed, and waterfowl nesting sites were built along with several game bird shelters.
Dick has two children, Mike and Cindy. Mike and his wife Cindy have one son, Logan, and Cindy is married to Joe Rieken.