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January 28, 2022 Chewing the Cud

Non-political. This simple statement has kept us focused on our mission to promote cattle and resources of the Sandhills, which we have done since our establishment in 1938. While it is challenging to remain non-political in today's world, we strive to maintain our mission statement with each decision the board makes.

Since the announcement of the '30 by 30' plan, our office has fielded many calls from concerned members about easements in the state and the Nebraska Land Trust's involvement. Thus, they voiced concerns over our involvement with the Nebraska Land Trust. I brought this to the board of directors' attention in March of 2021. The board asked Dave Sands, the Nebraska Land Trust executive director, and our Nebraska Land Trust Representative, Carl Simmons of Valentine, to come to our April board meeting. Mr. Sand informed the board that the Nebraska Land Trust is not in favor of the '30 by 30' plan. He assured the directors that the NLT will continue to follow their mission "to foster the protection of agricultural, historical and natural resources on land in Nebraska, through education, partnering, and permanent conservation."

After Mr. Sands & Mr. Simmons exited the meeting, the board moved to send an executive committee member to the NLT Board Meeting in June of 2021. Matt Blackford was then asked to attend this meeting in Chadron as a representative of the SCA board.

On October 14, 2021, the board met for their regular meeting, in which we discussed our collaboration with the Nebraska Land Trust, and Matt Blackford gave his report of the NLT sessions he attended in June. After deliberation, the board voted unanimously that the Sandhills Cattle Association will withdraw its partnership with the Nebraska Land Trust, citing our non-political stance as the deciding factor. They then voted at the last regular board meeting held on January 18, 2022, to approve the Dissolvement of Partnership letter presented at the meeting.

I want to be clear that our departure from the Nebraska Land Trust is not one we have taken lightly and is not a discredit to the Nebraska Land Trust. The board believes that each individual should have the right to enter any contract if they choose if it is the best option for their operation. The Nebraska Land Trust offers a viable option for those looking to enter into an easement, as do many other entities. The board simply felt that the partnership with the Nebraska Land Trust did not fit into our mission statement and therefore has chosen to leave the partnership. We thank the Nebraska Land Trust for partnering with us for so many years and wish them success in the future.

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