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It is a distinct pleasure to be with you this evening to present the Master Conservationist awards. I appreciate the opportunity to recognize those who have gone the extra mile to enhance Nebraska's natural resources and our way of life. Their efforts take on even more importance in a year like this when drought conditions have threatened field crops, pastures, and rangeland, as well as water for livestock and the citizens of our state. Times like this underscore how important it is for us to recognize the delicate balance of nature.
The Master Conservationists we honor tonight have long-recognized the need for windbreaks to protect both crops and soils. They understand the benefits of controlled-grazing to maintain grass and protect the soil, as well as to provide forage in the future. Others have installed terraces and grassed waterways on fragile land, as well as reuse pits for irrigation water. Riverbanks have been restored and wildlife habitats have been developed. These practices and many others always are important, they take on new meaning in stressful periods like the one of 2002.