A central Nebraska ranching family has been recognized for its land stewardship efforts with an award announced by Gov. Dave Heineman on Friday.
The Pelster family, owner of Pelster Angus Ranch in Ericson, is the recipient of the 2014 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award presented by Sand County Foundation, Nebraska Cattlemen and Cargill.
The governor offered the Pelster family his congratulations on the award and said, "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."
Duane and Nancy Pelster are third generation owners of the ranch, located along the Cedar River in Garfield County.
The ranch utilizes rest-rotational grazing, which has been shown to enhance wildlife, has planted nearly 80,000 coniferous trees to provide shelterbelts and windbreaks, and decommissioned 27 wells to improve water quality.
Duane also works to mentor young ranchers, sharing his methods with those starting up their own operations. The family is involved in the agricultural community, serving on numerous boards and organizations.
The award is named in honor of world-renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, and includes $10,000 and a crystal.
The governor's office says 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.