A family that has been ranching in the Sand Hills for nearly 130 years has won the 2012 Leopold Conservation Award.
Gov. Dave Heineman honored the Buell family during a ceremony in his Capitol office. Homer and Larry Buell operate the Shovel Dot Ranch about 30 miles south of Bassett, employing a variety of conservation efforts in their cattle ranching.
Homer Buell, spoke for the family during the Capitol ceremony, stating conservation has become part of the family’s everyday ranching practice.
“We don’t do the things that we do to win awards,” Buell said. “We do it, because it’s best for the land and it’s best for our businesses and our ranches and can make us more profitable.”
Buell credits the Natural Resources Conservation Service for helping the family install high tensile electric cross fencing and over 50 miles of pipeline, watering close to 100 pastures. The system allows the Buells to move cattle from pasture to pasture, taking pressure off the land and letting the grass regrow and the land recover.
Larry Buell said conservation simply makes sense for the family.
“I think the main thing we have to keep in mind is family. Family is the most important thing that we have,” according to Buell. “And then we have to keep in mind our resources that we have and we’re a family-owned operation and we have to be profitable. So, you combine those three things together they will work, with hard work, and you can have a sustainable operation.”
The Sand County Foundation, Nebraska Cattlemen and Cargill among others present the award, which comes with a crystal trophy and a $10,000 award.
AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman honors Buell family during Capitol ceremony. [20 min.]