Today, Gov. Dave Heineman was joined by the Nebraska Cattlemen and the Sand County Foundation in announcing the recipient of the 2014 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award as the Pelster family of Pelster Angus Ranch of Ericson, in central Nebraska. The award is presented annually to private landowners who practice responsible land stewardship and management.
"Congratulations to the Pelster family for winning the 2014 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award," said Gov. Heineman. "As we prepare to celebrate Earth Day, this is a good time to acknowledge the conservation efforts of Nebraska landowners. Conservation on private land is something Nebraskans do very well and we all benefit from the work of private landowners who are preserving the natural beauty of our state."
The Leopold Conservation Award, named in honor of world-renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is comprised of $10,000 and a Leopold crystal. Sand County Foundation, Nebraska Cattlemen and Cargill present the award annually.
"As farmers and ranchers, it is our responsibility to preserve and protect the land for future generations," said Jeff Rudolph , President of Nebraska Cattlemen. "The Pelster family is an excellent example of ranchers who are committed to living as responsible stewards of the land."
The Pelster family celebrates six generations on the ranch. The family notes that they take pride in looking back on the past to see the progress they have made in conservation, and they look forward to what the future may bring. Located along the Cedar River in Garfield County, the Pelster Angus Ranch is focused on responsible and sustainable land management for the benefit of the entire community.
Duane and Nancy Pelster are third generation owners of the ranch. Generations of the Malmsten's, Nancy's family, slowly grew the ranch by many efforts of preserving the natural integrity of the land. They passed down the love of the land and the ethics of caring for it to their children. Nancy shares that her father's advice and method to land management was, "If you're good to the land, the land will be good to you and will take care of future generations."
The Pelster family prioritizes the longevity of their operation through incorporation of rotational and conservative grazing techniques. Duane works to mentor young ranchers. His willingness to share his methods helps young ranchers start their own operations. The family is involved in the agricultural community, and they serve on numerous boards and organizations.
"The Pelster family carry on a longstanding family commitment to ranching practices that benefit the land, wildlife and all of us," said Brent Haglund, President of Sand County Foundation.
In 2014, the Sand County Foundation will present Leopold Conservation Awards in Nebraska, California, Colorado, Kentucky, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The awards are presented to recognize extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation, inspire other landowners by example and provide a visible forum where leaders from the agricultural community are recognized as conservation leaders to groups outside of agriculture.