Nebraska 2010 Kalkowski Family Ranches Omaha Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Kalkowski Family Ranches was started when Larry Kalkowski purchased his first 160 acres in 1957. Additional purchases made by Larry and his four sons and their wives over the years extended the main ranch to include areas along the Niobrara River.

The ranches are located in north central Nebraska in Boyd County. Together with their mother, Kay Lynn Kalkowski, sons Jeff, Tim, Chris, and John Kalkowski manage the approximately 7,000 owned and managed acres.

Kalkowski River View

Kalkowski Family Ranches

Larry Kalkowski taught his sons that natural resources were an asset and that the land should always be left in better shape than it was when acquired. When the Kalkowskis think of the land they care for they think of five elements: the land itself, water, trees, wildlife, and the people entrusted as caretakers.

Whenever the ranches were expanded, land was cleaned by the removal of old homesteads, buildings, and fences. Terraces and berms were added, ditches reshaped, and ground reseeded with native grasses. Land that had been farmed for many years was returned to natural grassland. Larry was also a pioneer in rotating pastures, a practice which his sons greatly expanded. Another change that his sons are initiating is prescribed burning.

Based on the legacy of stewardship that Larry Kalkowski instilled in his sons, in 1998 the family discussed the values that would shape the direction of their future actions as they set goals and priorities. Out of that discussion, they formulated the following statement:

“We will commit ourselves to excellence, striving to carry on family traditions while creating new ones. We will remember that nurturing our children in a rural setting was a focal point in acquiring the river ranch and that the safety and well-being of our children is of prime importance. We hope that they will learn the satisfaction of hard work and the joy of relaxation in the outdoors. We will remember that we are only stewards of the soil and have a grave obligation to conserve all natural resources and do everything possible to protect and preserve the land. We hope to maintain a reputation that is synonymous with honesty and integrity and to produce a quality product. We recognize the obligation to give back to Boyd County by supporting church and community and to share the gift of the land with others.”

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