See how Nebraska beef farmers and ranchers are rethinking the ranch to raise sustainable beef through land-saving, wildlife-preserving, and award-winning environmental efforts.
The Switzer Ranch located in Burwell, Nebraska is home to over 12,000 acres of native grassland that has been with the Switzer family for four generations. Twelve years ago, after noticing the native prairie grouse habitat was disappearing, the family implemented biodiversity goals using the ecological processes that helped shape the Great Plains: fire and grazing. The family implemented rotational grazing and controlled burns in the area which has helped improve water quality, soil health and root systems in the environmentally-sensitive Sandhills. By working with local organizations, they also installed wildlife-friendly fencing, added wildlife escape ramps in their watering tanks, and implemented bird and wildlife-friendly haying practices. Not only did their efforts lead to an uptick in bird watchers visiting the ranch, Audubon Nebraska designated the ranch as an Important Bird Area, one the first private properties in Nebraska with this designation. The Switzer family also recognizes the importance of educating others on the value of conservation efforts. In addition to their cattle ranch, the family operates nature-based tourism that offers lodging, event space, river float trips and eco-tours of the Sandhills. For their efforts in wildlife and land conservation, the Switzer Family was awarded the 2021 Leopold Conservation Award.
"Our focus really started to shift from being solely a cow-calf ranch to being a ranch with biodiversity goals." - Sarah Sortum, Switzer Ranch
The Homer Buell family is part of the fabric of the Nebraska Sandhills. For over 130 years, they have ranched in Nebraska, while caring for the land, water, and wildlife that each Buell generation passed on to the next. In 2012, the Buell family received the Leopold Conservation Award for their preservation and enhancement of the unique landscape of the Nebraska Sandhills. Each generation has worked to grow and improve the operations through care, creativity, and hard work.
With cattle outnumbering Nebraskans nearly four to one, beef production represents Nebraska’s single largest industry and the engine that powers the state’s economy. Raising beef is a complex process, but throughout the entire journey, the beef community shares a commitment to raising cattle in a safe, humane and environmentally sustainable way. Learn more about the people and the process involved in raising beef from pasture to plate.
If there was a recipe that perfectly represented the Beef State, it'd be this one. Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with grilled corn will be the first thing on all Cornhusker grills this summer.see recipe >
Nebraska is home to several culinary innovations such as the Rueben Sandwich and Kool-Aid.