Nebraska 2006 Wilson Ranch Lakeside Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Wilson Ranch, located northeast of Lakeside in the Nebraska Sandhills, is a fifth-gen­eration ranch owned and managed by brothers Blaine and Bryan Wilson. The ranch consists of more than 15,000 acres and 1,100 head of cattle. The Wilson Ranch is an example of economic viability co-existing with sustained conservation practices.

The Wilsons primarily raised Hereford cattle until the late 1970s when they began to crossbreed their cattle. This led to the development of a genetic program based on quality cattle that perform in the pasture, feedlot, and on the rail.

The Wilsons’ conservation efforts include the development of a “wildlife pasture” with windbreaks and drip systems used solely for habitat protection. They developed a wetland area that attracted the return of several bird species. The family also stocks fish and works to keep the deer population controlled.

“The longevity of their operation and the constant improvement and growth are a testament to their commitment,” said Ben Steffen, Vice President, Steffen Ag Inc. “In today’s world of underachievement, the Wilson Ranch stands as a shining example of the value of sustained effort and stewardship.”

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