We know that Nebraska farmers and ranchers go to great lengths to protect the land and animals in their care, all while raising safe and nutritious food to help feed America and beyond.
It was that focus on stewardship that drew the Aliiance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) to help promote the inaugural "Conservation in Agriculture Day" at the Nebraska State Fair this year.
As part of its outreach to help Nebraska farmers and ranchers achieve viability and opportunity for long-term growth, AFAN worked with the Sand County Foundation to promote a series of State Fair presentations by conservation experts.
"The messages to consumers who stopped in to listen to the 'lightning talks' focused on the importance of conservation of water, soil and wildlife to our world's future," said AFAN Livestock Development Coordinator Emily Skillett.
"It was a great opportunity for experts to share sound research and stories about all of the things that farmers and ranchers do to protect the land, animals and resources they steward on a daily basis," she said. "I think some consumers are surprised to hear the truth about agricultural conservation when they're faced with emotionally charged misinformation in mainstream media and life every day."
Participants in the lightning talks at the fair got information firsthand from not only representatives of respected organizations such as The Nature Conservancy , the Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Nebraska Land Trust, and University of Nebraska Extension, but also directly from Nebraska farmers, including The Kalkowski Family Ranch in north Central Nebraska; Patrick Peterson of Gordon, Nebrask a's Plum Thicket Farms; and Rose, Nebraska rancher Homer Buell (pictured, above).
"Nebraska's is the only state fair presenting this kind of conservation program," Skillett said. "It was exciting to see consumers engaging on these important topics and speaking one-on-one with conservation experts. We hope this is just the first of many such opportunities to come at the Nebraska State Fair."
The priorities of Kalkowski Family Ranches featured during the talks do a good job of summarizing the importance of agricultural conservation: "We will remember that we are only stewards of the soil and have a grave obligation to conserve all natural resources and do everything possible to protect and preserve the land."