Nebraska Cattlemen & Rainwater Basin Joint Venture
Wetlands Grazing Project

wetlands grazing

Nebraska has a proud history of private lands conservation and it is successful because of an emphasis not only on conservation, but on economics and property rights. Private lands conservation works because Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers incorporate conservation into their operations, on land they own and have a stake in. They also incorporate conservation actions in a way that is economically viable, making them a long term success.

Nebraska Cattlemen is partnering on a private lands grazing project in the rainwater basin in Nebraska. The rainwater basin in south-central Nebraska is valuable for farming, cattle production, and provides key stopover habitat for migratory waterfowl. This project incorporates aspects of all three with a program designed to promote cattle production on lands with limited row crop potential while also enhancing wetland habitat.  This project’s goal is to facilitate a win-win scenario that provides economic opportunity for farmers and ranchers to incorporate cattle grazing of wetlands into their operations. This scenario provides valuable livestock forage or lease income for a landowner while also improving wetland habitat and creating conservation benefits.

Participating landowners will receive 85% cost-share assistance on fencing and up to 85% cost-share assistance for well development to make unproductive wetlands on their property viable for livestock grazing. In return landowners will be required to sign a 10 year agreement stating they will manage the area with livestock grazing, follow or have their lessee’s follow a grazing plan and have a goal to also enhance vegetation for the benefit of wetland dependent migratory birds and control invasive species.

Once the well and fence are developed, the program is extremely hands off. The landowner is free to graze their own livestock on the property or lease the land for livestock grazing. This decision is entirely up to the landowner and they are free to negotiate a private grazing lease with whomever they choose. Nebraska Cattlemen will provide free advertisement of available grazing lands on their website if a landowner so desires and will funnel interested lessee’s to all landowners participating in the program.

Landowners interested in the program can contact Nebraska Cattlemen or the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture. 

Nebraska Cattlemen
Kristen Hassebrook

Rainwater Basin Joint Venture
Tim Smith