Shelly ranches with her husband Dan on his 4th generation family ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska near the town of Sutherland. Their son Conley enjoys ranching with them as well. The ranch consists of upland sandhill rangeland, subirrigated meadows, and wetlands along the spring-fed Birdwood Creek. They graze the range with cow/calf pairs, stocker yearlings, and they develop and AI heifers. Conservation has always been a big priority for the family because it improves the ecosystem for all that depend on it which helps improve wildlife and bird populations as well as the ranch’s bottom line. Some past and current conservation efforts implemented include a large stream restoration project, installation of many miles of livestock water pipeline and solar wells in help with grazing rotations, conservation easements, and mechanical removal of invasive eastern red cedar. These conservation efforts would not have been possible without the partnership, leadership, and cooperation of many conservation organizations.
Shelly has a passion for helping others understand how conservation can help their ranch and for educating our youth about agriculture so she also works as the Program Director for the landowner-led non-profit called the Sandhills Task Force which seeks to promote conservation and private profitable ranching. She is the Co-Director of the Nebraska Youth Range Camp and is active in the Society for Range Management, the Nebraska Prescribed Fire Council, and Nebraska Cattlemen.