Laine Chester
In managing our Nebraska ranch, we realize that all decisions we make have a rippling effect on all resources on the ranch. Our goal is to improve the ecological health of the land, including water, vegetation, and wildlife, while at the same time making a living for ourselves.

Bring your binoculars and camera...enjoy seeing all the wonderful wildlife and spring wildflowers on the ranch: mule deer, white tail deer, wild turkey, coyotes, eagles and hawks, porcupines, raccoon's and many others. Even elk and mountain lion have been seen on our Nebraska working ranch. If you wish to explore the ranch on foot or mountain bike we can provide a ranch map showing logging roads and other landmarks.


To improve the quality of wildlife, we manage the habitat and create special food plots. These food plots are scattered around the ranch, in proximity to water, and fenced in from the cattle. There we provide salt and mineral supplement for the wildlife only, as well as hay and corn. In addition, these food plots are seeded with clover and small grain to accommodate for both the Merriam turkey and the Mule deer. During winter storms, having access to these "goodies" can be the difference between making it through the winter in good shape, or perishing. These food plots also serve to attract and keep the Mule deer and Merriam turkeys on the ranch.


In order to increase the water level and health of our creeks and ponds, we are erecting electric fences around these areas. This allows for the vegetation to grow up around the water, and provide shade which in turn results in less evaporation in the summer, and deeper, cooler water. The wildlife have unlimited access to the water and the abundance of vegetation growing undisturbed within these areas, while the cattle use specific water points along the fence.


During the summer months, we pasture cow/calf pairs here. The system we use for grazing the cattle also helps us achieve our goal. In rotating them all together in one large herd, they, in effect, mimic the large buffalo herds constantly on the move, that once roamed this area. It allows for maximum rest for plant recovery before the herd eventually returns to that particular pasture, and the grass has time to re-grow, mature, and produce seed. With the number of pastures we have on the ranch, on any given day during the grazing season (May - October), a large portion of the ranch is rested. This also allows the wildlife undisturbed access to almost all of the ranch even during the summer months. When the herd returns to a rested pasture, their hoof impact disturbs the soil, loosens up the compacted soil surface, while also mixing organic matter into the soil, thus allowing for rain to soak in instead of running off or creating eroded areas. This process provides a healthy plant vigor, which benefits the wildlife and the cattle both.