Nebraska agriculture’s conservation practices and how they impact wildlife will take the stage on “Conservation in Agriculture Day” Aug. 26, at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) is partnering with the Sand County Foundation (SCF) and Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery program to help educate fairgoers about the Nebraska agriculture industry’s commitment to farmland stewardship and how wildlife, particularly birds, benefits from this endeavor.

“Nebraska’s wildlife is dependent on healthy, sustainable soils to thrive, which in turn depend on sound farming practices,” said Steve Martin, executive director of AFAN. “That’s why we are committed to this joint effort to draw the attention of fairgoers to this critical issue.”

The Sustainability Pavilion’s stage will feature on-the-hour presentations by Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery program, titled “Raptor Recovery and Conservation in Agriculture Go Hand in Talon.” Several of the project’s birds will be on display.

“Birds of prey such as these play an important role in our ecosystem,” said Denise Lewis, director of the Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery program. “It’s vital that we work closely with Nebraska’s farmers to ensure that we maintain healthy soils, so these birds can thrive into the future.”

Along with a diverse group of partners, AFAN and SCF will be co-hosting five informative tables in the Sustainability Pavilion’s Activities Tent. The participating organizations include the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Pheasants Forever, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, UNL Extension Service and Audubon Nebraska.

The stewardship table will be staffed by SCF and AFAN personnel, as well as 2019 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award recipients Russ, Angela and Cheyenne Sundstrom, who own and operate Broken Box Ranch in Moorefield. The SCF’s Craig Utter said the annual Leopold Conservation Award “recognizes such extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation by private landowners.”

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