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Proper grazing of native range

Last month, the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition (NGLC), Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Environmental Trust hosted the 2017 Summer Grazing Tour in southcentral Nebraska near the communities of Reynolds, Belvidere and Bruning. The event brought approximately 160 grazers, ranchers and government agency personnel together to learn more about successful grazing practices in an area predominated by row crop production.  Attendees witnessed that proper grazing of native range, cool season grasses and cover crops provides increased income for farm and ranch businesses, wildlife and bird habitat, vegetation diversity, increased water quality and quantity and improved soil health over time. The evening program featured a celebration of Frank and Mary Bruning’s contributions to Nebraska’s grazing community over the years.
Four Bruning brothers came to Nebraska in 1887—settling on a section of land east of the Burlington railroad, not yet incorporated as a town. The youngest, Frank (Diederich) purchased 320 acres which started Bruning Farms. His entrepreneurial spirit established a livestock business and fostered a love for race horses. His son, Fred H. Bruning, would focus the business on cattle, adding a feedlot in the 1930s and more grazing lands while others continued to plow the Nebraska Plains into farmland. Instilling the passion for range management and cattle production into his son, Frank L Bruning continued to develop grazing lands in the 1950s.  
Frank and Mary employed enterprising fencing systems, reseeded farmlands into native grasses and implemented persistent conservation efforts as they paved the way for son, Fred D. Bruning and now grandson, Reis and families, all three generations working side by side. Today, Bruning Farms encompasses 3,500 acres of grazing lands providing a platform for a commercial and seedstock Angus herd.  
Frank and Mary were early adopters of effective grazing management principles, regular attendees and contributors to the UNL Nebraska Grazing Conference and reseeded over 1,000 acres of row crops back to native and cool season grasses through the years. Frank credits most of his success through the years to “marrying the right person” as evidenced by a recent 68th wedding anniversary. NGLC recognized Frank and Mary for these achievements and contributions to Nebraska’s grazing community by honoring them with the first annual NGLC Lifetime Achievement Award.