Barta Brothers Ranch


Barta Brothers Ranch located in the Sandhills.

The property was acquired from Jim and Clifford Barta in 1996. The ranch is about 6,000 acres in size with over 5,500 acres categorized as upland range. There is about 120 acres of contiguous subirrigated meadow and over 100 acres of discontinuous subirrigated meadow and wetland scattered over the ranch. The building site covers about 35 acres and includes a wide variety of tree resources. Facilities consist of a headquarters building with dormatory type living arrangements, a lab building, and large shed are also on the 35 acre building site. A weather station is also on site located North West of the heaquarters building.


The ranch is located about 20 miles south of Long Pine in Rock and Brown Counties (42°14'N, 99°39'W) or 8 miles North West of Rose via Hwy 183.


Based on terms of the donation, the ranch is to serve as a model ranch and provide the facilities and support needed to conduct research and demonstrations relevant to Sandhills ranchers. Educational programs from the ranch are to play an important role in training students and continuing education for ranchers, conservationists, and representatives of federal and state agencies. Research and demonstrations are to focus on long-term grazing management systems and the biotic and abiotic factors associated with such systems.

Institutional Affiliation

University of Nebraska Foundation owns the property and the Northeast Research and Extension Center (NEREC) is responsible for the management of the property.


Current research projects focus on plant and livestock response to grazing systems. The site is ideally suited for this type of research as well as questions about ecosystem structure and function in the Sandhills. The rangeland at BBR is in good to excellent condition and is similar to most upland range in the eastern half of the Sandhills. It is an excellent demonstration site for ranchers in this area and is readily accessible by University students and the public. There are no specific restrictions for conducting research although proposals for research must be approved by the BBR Planning Committee, which is chaired by Twig Marston, NEREC District Director.


Individuals or groups wishing to visit BBR for educational,research or tour purposes should contact Ann Kepler.


Justin Rahn, Manager
UNL - Barta Bros. Ranch
148 West 4th Street
Anisworth NE 69210

office phone: 402.273.2030
cell phone: 308.746.2667

Twig Marston, Northeast Research and Extension Center (NEREC)
District Director

Aerial Photographs

(to enlarge, click on an aerial photograph)

Bartha Brothers Ranch Aerial Photograph

Bartha Brothers Ranch Headquarters Aerial Photograph

Road Map

Barta Brothers Road Map

Land Use (GAP) Classification

(to enlarge, click on the image)

Bartha Brothers Ranch GAP

Climate Data

See historical climate data from the nearest weather station at Rose, Nebraska.

A weather station is also on site located North West of the heaquarters building.

Student Life 2010: Another Summer at the Barta Brothers Ranch

The Barta Brothers Ranch Research Facility is 6,000 acres covering two counties in the Nebraska Sand Hills. At the building on-site, offices, a living room, kitchen and dormitory space accommodate dozens of researchers and students for the summer.

Driving big trucks, tearing around on ATVs, walking the Sand Hills in all weather conditions, and doing it all in the name of research -- it’s just another summer at the Barta Brothers Ranch.

A long way from Lincoln, 20 miles south of Long Pine in Rock and Brown counties, students and researchers are in the middle of their field season at the BBR, a 6,000-acre property donated to the University by Clifford and James Barta in 1996.

Utilized by scientists, extension educators, students and ranchers, the site has been host to many research studies. These have included work on grazing systems, ecology of the Sand Hills, and for the past two summers, major research on prairie chickens.

This summer, undergraduates from the School of Natural Resources – Jessica Edgar (Fisheries and Wildlife) and Ben Beckman (Grasslands Ecology and Management) – are working with graduate student Lars Anderson to determine habitat preference for the native grasslands bird.

Edgar tracks hens using radio telemetry and GPS to determine where they nest and raise their brood. Beckman then gathers data on the surrounding vegetation . Anderson, advised by Larkin Powell and Walter Schacht, hopes the research will provide information to private landowners about how to manage grasslands for Prairie Chicken habitat.

Photo Essay by Kat Shiffler, School of Natural Resources

The Sand Hills are a beautiful backdrop to a summer of field research. Jess listens to the radio transmitter to determine which direction the signal is coming from. Students put  radio collars on the hens in the early spring so that they can be tracked all summer as their eggs hatch. Senior Fisheries and Wildlife major Jessica Edgar uses radio telemetry to track prairie chicken hens and their broods. Many of the sites she monitors are on private ranch land. She travels the hilly landscape using a truck, then an ATV, and often walks miles on foot. With detailed notes and pictures, Ben catalogs the vegetation at each site. The information will be used to determine the prairie chicken's preferred habitat, a potential resource for private landowners who hope to manage for and attract the native bird to their land. Jess uses GPS to keep track of the location of each hen and her brood. Ben Beckman, senior Grasslands Ecology and Management major, is in charge of vegetation sampling in the areas where prairie chickens have been found with their broods. He documents each site with multiple photos.

Summer at the Ranch: SNR Students Track Prairie Chickens in the Sandhill

Every summer researchers from the University of Nebraska spend time out at the Barta Brothers Ranch in the Sandhills. This video follows undergraduate students in the School of Natural Resources majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife and Grasslands Ecology and Management monitoring Prairie Chicken habitat.