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.
Krawjewski Family Farms of Keith County, Nebraska
David Krajewski began planting trees for conservation in 1992, with his first 240 machine planted trees under the Twin Platte Natural Resources District Conservation Trees Program. Ten years later in 2002, David and the rest of the Krajewski Family Farms which includes his wife, Diane, and sons, Dan, Dustin, Dean, and Darin, once again planted trees under the Tree Program with another 3,852 machine planted trees. Since 2002, the farm has continued annual tree plantings through the NRD, NRCS, and FSA tree programs.
JK Acres of Brule, Nebraska
In 1997, with the help of fellow farmer Dave Washa, Tom Kalkowski rented a few hundred acres of crop and accretion ground from the Brown Family Trust. Later, with the help of Mr. Gerald Brown, Tom purchased the ground he had been farming. Sheila and Jerry Jorgensen joined the farm in 1999. Years of grazing on the accretion ground had decimated the existing quail and pheasant populations. The eggs (and a few chicks that did hatch) were easy prey for predators since there was little cover to protect them.
Wayne & Joan Hansmeier, Kingsley Cattle Co. of Keystone, Nebraska
Wayne and Joan Hansmeier, owners of Kingsley Cattle Company, purchased their Keystone, Nebraska ranch in 1987 from Terry and Chris McGinley and Bill and Jane Walker. With the help of the cost-share program with Twin Platte Natural Resources District, the Hansmeier’s have planted trees almost every year since purchasing the property. During the first few years, they planted trees and used water conservation mulch to build a windbreak for livestock. It became a struggle to get this windbreak established due to drought and rodent damage, so the Hansmeier’s shortened the grove and transplanted some of the trees.
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.
Greg and Peggy Gade of Lewellen, Nebraska
The Gade Ranch is located nine miles east of Lewellen on Highway 92. Greg’s parents purchased the land several years ago. Greg moved there after graduating from high school in 1980, and began ranching full-time with his father.
In 1983, Greg married Peggy Stockey. They made their home on the ranch and have lived there for the last 15 years. They have a 12 year old daughter Tara, and a 10 year old son Blake.
Denny and Rona Ansley of Lemoyne, Nebraska
After years of improvements, the Ansleys own and operate 3,200 acres consisting of 135 acres of alfalfa and oats under pivot irrigation, and 3,065 acres of rangeland which supports a 250 cow/calf operation. Examples of conservation work which have been or are being utilized include: proper irrigation management practices by using minimum tillage and low energy pressure on an irrigation pivot system; proper planned grazing and range rotation; three miles of livestock pipeline to include five tanks; and one windmill and two miles of cross fencing.