Fairbury, NE – Cattle will be grazing on the prairie hills southwest of Fairbury, Nebraska, for generations to come thanks to landowners interested in preserving the land for their family. In July of this year, Jim and Ann McCord granted a 1043 Acre perpetual conservation easement to Northern Prairies Land Trust that would prohibit cropping and development, yet maintain the property as a working cattle ranch.

While the McCord property retains its value as a cattle pasture under the easement, it is also a precious natural resource in its own right. Native pastures in this area represent some of the most expansive examples of tallgrass prairie remaining in North America. Consequently, the prairies, oak woodlands, and wetlands that comprise the grazing lands of Jefferson and Thayer Counties have been designated as a high priority for conservation work under the Nebraska Natural Legacy Plan. These pastures, and the many species of plants and wildlife that depend on them, owe their survival to the thoughtful stewardship of families like the McCords.

By granting the easement to Northern Prairies Land Trust, the McCords have assured the continuation of a ranching legacy, while also protecting water resources, native prairie, and wildlife habitat.

Funding has been provided in part by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for work on private lands in southeast Nebraska; and the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Landowner Incentive Program. These efforts assist private landowners with affecting landscape-level change in southeast Nebraska for the benefit of a broad spectrum of wildlife species and their habitats.