Leopold Conservation Award Program - Nebraska 2007

Nebraska 2007 Rod & Amy Christen Steinauer, NE Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Rod and Amy Christen represent the next generation in outstanding land stewardship. Together with Rod’s father, Richard, and sister, Kay, Rod and Amy run a 275-head cow/calf operation near Steinauer, Nebraska.

Their operation has grown and evolved over the years, but the idea of being good to the land so that it will be good to you and future generations will not change. Changing their grazing management, moving the calving date later, adding stockpiled grass and cross-fencing, using prescribed fire, and developing multiple water sources have led to high quality grassland, well-maintained native plant diversity, increased biodiversity overall, and habitat for numerous grassland wildlife species. All of these initiatives have led to both economic and environmental success for the Christen operation.

“Rod’s high level of land ethic is not only an asset to his personal rangeland resources but also to the many land owners and managers he influences by example,” said Mitch Faulkner, Rangeland Management Specialist in his letter of recommendation.

Rod and Amy are also committed to reaching out to the ranching community, emphasizing that proper land management leads to sustainability, as well as aesthetic and recreational benefits that all contribute to the well-being of their family. Rod is a member of the Southeast Nebraska Grazing Association and has led multiple educational tours of his property for the Association, as well as Southeast Community College to not only impart information but also learn from others as to how to make improvements to his land. The Christens also reach beyond the ranching community by hosting camping and horseback riding trips for local Girl Scout chapters.

Perhaps, most importantly, the Christens’ appreciation for the land is apparent in that they stress managing the land responsibly so it can be passed on to future generations.

“We used to ask ourselves, ‘Can we afford to do this?’” Rod Christen said. “Now we ask the question, ‘Can we afford not to?’”

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