Frimann Family Farm of Lincoln County, Nebraska
Steve and Sharon Frimann began planting trees a few years after purchasing their home and rangeland in northeast Lincoln County. The initial planting of 560 trees and shrubs were planted under the Twin Platte NRD Conservation Trees Program in 1998. A combination of Austrian Pine, Jack Pine, Eastern Red Cedar, and Rocky Mountain Juniper were added to existing Cedar windbreaks as additional rows. Shrub plantings included Cotoneaster, Sumac, Sand Cherry, Choke Cherry, and Lilac. All trees and shrubs were planted into a prepared bed with water conservation mulch and drip tape installed under the fabric.
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.
Whitewater Ranch / Stewart Allen Family of Lincoln County, Nebraska
Whitewater, Inc. operates ranching interests in the Sandhills of Arthur and McPherson Counties. The ranch was established in 1884 and is owned and operated by Stewart and Kathy Allen, Mark Allen, Matt and Audra Allen, and their children Kegan, Kaleb, and Kirsten. Stewart and Kathy manage the business headquarters in Lincoln County. Matt and Audra live at Three Mile Ranch and their children represent the seventh generation of the ranching family. The ranch maintains a cow herd, and the majority of the calves are sold as yearlings.
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.
John & Maureen Childears of Northern Lincoln County, Nebraska
In 1992, John & Maureen Childears purchased farmland in northeast Lincoln County. That same year, they repaired the 1954 irrigation well (concrete casing) and repaired/replaced two pivot systems. In the spring of 1993, two pivot corners (Valentine Sand) were planted to trees and shrubs, with fabric mulch for the trees but not the shrubs. These plantings were assisted, guided, and cost-shared by the Twin Platte Natural Resources District. In addition, one corner was placed in a 10 year contract with the Nebraska Game and Parks. This corner included seeding to warm season grasses and native wildflowers, Rocky Mountain Juniper, and a variety of shrubs. Both 1993 and 1994 were very wet years. Plenty of rain and two hand weedings each year resulted in an excellent survival rate. However, the shrub survival without mulch was only two-thirds successful.
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.
Rocky & Diane Hoffman of North Platte, Nebraska
In 1978, Rocky and Diane Hoffmann purchased an acreage 10 miles south of North Platte. The tract was part of the old Hunter property, and a neighbor remembers planting corn with a horse-drawn planter on the site in the late 1920’s. Later, during the dust bowl years, the fields that he had worked with horse and planter blew into a huge sand dune. In the late 1930’s, Hunter planted a few rows of Cottonwoods he had pulled from the South Platte River to control the blowing sand. Most of those Cottonwoods had died by the time the Hoffmanns had moved onto the acreage, but remnant survivors of that original planting symbolized hard work with a shovel and a bucket to conserve the fragile soil. Those old Cottonwoods triggered a plan for a new planting. The wind blew constantly during July when the house was being constructed, and the Hoffmann’s were determined to temper the harsh environment.
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.
Skip and Eileen Marland & Schaeffer Family Farms of North Platte, Nebraska
In the fall of 1979, Skip and Eileen Marland purchased a half section of sandhills valley land from Levi and Amelia Powell, approximately nine miles northeast of North Platte. This was in conjunction with a full section of land selling at public auction that Mr. and Mrs. Powell had owned from 1947 to 1979.
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.
Dave and Denise Manary of North Platte, Nebraska
Dave and Denise Manary operate a ranch 10 miles northwest of North Platte. Ranching is not their primary business, as Dave has been a dentist since 1971, practicing in North Platte for 21 years. Denise is a Certified Dental Technician with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, and has worked in their dental office for the past 18 years. Dave’s grandparents ranched near where Dave and Denise now live, and a portion of that ranch now belongs to Dave and Denise. When Dave was a youngster visiting his grandparents ranch, he frequently admired the nearby ranch of Fred and Nellie Jackson. The Jackson property was especially appealing to Dave because of the numerous trees and the six acre spring fed pond. The pond is the headwaters of the White Horse Creek. As a young man, Dave hoped to someday own the Jackson place, a goal he never forgot.
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.
Ray and Anita Hengen of North Platte, Nebraska
Ray and Anita Hengen are involved in a farming operation eight miles northeast of North Platte. Ray’s dad, Clarence Hengen, purchased the farm in the mid 1940’s. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Hengen family began hand planting 500 Eastern Red Cedar trees for windbreak establishment. The family’s ultimate goal was to provide protection for their livestock, as well as providing protection for the farmstead. Upon Clarence’s death in 1988, Ray and his mother, Ella, assumed the responsibility of ownership and operation of the farm. After years of improvements, the Hengen’s own and operate 800 acres, consisting of 85 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program and 715 acres in rangeland.
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.