Spurgin Family Farm of Keith County, Nebraska
Elias and Lillie Hanna Spurgin homesteaded in this area in 1884. Their son, Abraham and his wife, Ella, also homesteaded on the same section. Since then, five generations of Spurgins have been involved in agriculture and passed on their love of the land. The Spurgin family farm is owned and operated by Gerald and Janice Spurgin. Gerald and Janice have three sons: Jeremy and wife Caroline, and children, Ali, Kepler, Andi, and Ty; Jonathan; and Jacob; and one daughter Jocelyn, and all are involved in the family farming operation.
The farm includes a cow/calf operation and a crop rotation of corn, wheat, soybeans, sunflowers, and peas. In 1986, the removal of old trees around buildings began. The family replaced the deteriorating trees with oak, maple, ash, hackberry, fruit trees, evergreen trees, and a variety of fruit bearing bushes. They began planting windbreaks around the farmsteads’ in 1997. Soaker hoses were utilized for supplemental watering of the newly planted trees. The windbreaks have provided shelter for livestock and enhanced the habitat for wildlife. They have also provided protection for the farmsteads’ buildings, as well as made the homes more energy efficient.
Approximately 2,300 trees were planted in pivot corners in 2006. The trees planted include eastern red cedar, rocky mountain juniper, hackberry, honey locust, and various bushes. The Spurgin family utilized a 1,000 gallon water tank and hose to water the trees when they were newly planted due to the dry conditions. For three years the family hand planted trees that died. The result was a high rate of survival. Pivot corners were also put in CRP and “Corners for Wildlife” programs. Over 4,000 trees with seven miles of water conservation mulch have been utilized by the family. Approximately 3,000 trees were machine planted and 1,000 trees were used for hand plants.
It is the goal of the Spurgin family to take care of the resources that God has given them. Planting and nurturing trees are a great legacy to pass on to the generations to follow. The Spurgins’ appreciate the help from the TPNRD, NRCS, and FSA to accomplish their goal.
SPURGIN FAMILY FARM MISSION STATEMENT “We strive to maximize profits, take care of our gifts, and enjoy the journey.”