Conservation Programs and Land Stewardship

In this special report, five ranchers share their strategies to successful land management using conservation programs and partnerships. Tree plantings, water placement, controlled grazing, prescribed fire, native species, you'll hear directly from the ranchers who tend the land they love.

1. Beel Ranch: Owned and operated by brothers Henry, Frank, and Adam, the Beels apply conservation principles passed down from generation to generation. However, the practices have evolved with time.

2. Wilson Land: In 10 years, land is "getting back to grass" on Max Wilson's place. Goats take care of weeds and cedar tree roughage. "Now it's like a grassland instead of a forest."

3. Buell Brothers: New ideas, methods improve productivity and health of the land on Shovel Dot Ranch. They engage prescribed grazing, use animal escapes, and have fenced off 50 acres around two lakes to provide wildlife habitat.

4. Al Steuter: Al works to counteract the loss of native grasslands at Sandhill & Sun Ranch. His background in grazing and fire ecology has translated into emphasis on the natural ecosystem, informed by historic interactions between bison and fire.

5. Switzer Ranch: Prairie Chickens dance on grassland, where Sarah Sortum is the fourth generation on the ranch. This is a 12,000-acre diversified cattle ranch that is designated an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.

Supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through funding from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.