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SPNRD taking conservation tree orders


October 25, 2017

South Platte Natural Resources District is now taking orders for conservation tree seedlings.

The program benefits landowners and producers across the state of Nebraska, Galen Wittrock, SPNRD assistant manager, said.

“It’s set up for conservation practices such as a farmstead windbreak, livestock windbreak, field shelter belt and so forth,” Wittrock said.

Among their benefits, conservation trees help control wind erosion.

“It’s been proven that trees in the right place with the right spacing can reduce wind significantly, whether it’s for the house and the heat bill’s reduced and crop yields can be improved, because there’s less wind and the wintertime shelter belts will help to trap that snow,” Wittrock said.

The six- to 12-inch bareroot seedlings cost $1 each, with a minimum order of 10 per species, and can be purchased by anyone.

The SPNRD effort does not compete with local nurseries.

The seedlings come from Bessey Tree Nursery in Halsey, a U.S. Forest Service site, and are distributed in late March or early April.

Through SPNRD, landowners could be eligible for a cost-share reimbursement of up to 50 percent.

“If a farmer or rural person out in the country wants to put in a shelter belt, for example, if they meet certain criteria for conservation they can get reimbursement for the cost of the trees and the labor to plant them, and things that go with them, like a drip system,” Wittrock said.

SPNRD will also help to design and implement the plantings.

“We can work with the producer, go out to the site and look at, for example, his farm, and we can take measurements and develop a tree plan for where to put the trees,” Wittrock said. “Sometimes you get the trees too close to the house, you’re not going to see as much benefit. Too far, it’s same thing.”

He added, “If they ever want assistance in developing an idea, what kind of trees do they need, we offer that free of charge, too. We’ll drive out to their site and develop a plan.”

There’s no limit to how many people can order, Wittrock said, with the program providing to Kimball, Cheyenne and Deuel counties.

“The last few years we have about 180 to 220 different orders amongst the three counties,” he said.

Though selling between 55,000 to 70,000 seedlings per year, orders have dropped “significantly.”

“Several years back,” Wittrock said, “there was a big push on a federal farm program. Back then we were selling 200,000 to 220,000 trees per year.”

Conservation tree seedling order forms are now available at and at the SPNRD office, 551 Parkland Dr.


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