You can stand there and you can see the whole northern part of the ranch, and way south, too. And I think just to stand up on that hill and be able to see all that… that’s never really changed in all of our generations here. That’s probably my favorite spot. My great grandfather homesteaded […]

A line of fire blazes in an ocean of grass. The smell of burning bluestem wisps through the air. A man dressed in leather boots carefully tips a drip torch to spark a flame onto the landscape–a familiar sight by those who live on working landscapes in the Great Plains. In early spring, I photographed […]

Sarah Sortum grew up near Taylor, Nebraska, on her family’s cattle ranch in the Sandhills, the descendant of homesteaders. Her family continues to operate on the same property, running their own cattle, custom grazing operations for others, and Calamus Outfitters, a nature-based tourism operation.

The roads were dark, the truck was full of gear, and the Platte Basin Timelapse team was headed to the Nebraska Sandhills.  We were on our way to the Switzer Ranch, 16 miles northwest of Burwell, Nebr., to film a cattle drive for our forthcoming documentary. This would be my first time experiencing a cattle drive […]

It’s possible to appreciate the Nebraska Sandhills through a car window. Until a few years ago, that was about as close as I’d been to the grass-stabilized sand dunes that cover a quarter of our state. That’s because up in ranch country, the majority of the landscape is privately owned. As much as I wanted […]

Across the semi-arid landscape of the Nebraska Sandhills, ranchers have utilized the power of wind since the settlement period more than a century ago. Windmills are used to pump groundwater from the underlying aquifer to the surface where it is stored in stock tanks for livestock.