Acreage Management

Making a Plan

Conservation Buffers
Source: Nebraska Forest Service

Image of American HazelnutWhat are Conservation Buffers?

A conservation buffer is a narrow strip of land consisting of a permanent vegetation type, such as grass, trees, shrubs or a combination of the three, planted along the edge of a stream or pond. The benefits of these buffers are multiple and can have a positive impact on your property.

Listed below are several of the advantages associated with conservation buffers.

  • Reduce the risk of water contamination by catching pesticides and fertilizers before they can wash into streams and ponds.
  • Provide the habitat needed by wildlife and aquatic animals and plants.
  • Provide a safety zone between the field and the edge of a stream to keep equipment and operators away from the edge of steep embankments.
  • Can help reduce or slow down steep bank erosion by establishing permanent vegetation.
  • Eliminate farming of wet areas along streams and ponds that are often difficult to manage profitably.
  • Eliminate following the edge of a meandering stream that can lead to many short crop rows.
  • Provide an area for alternative crop production.


Beautiful Barriers- Creating a Living Snowfence
Rod Wilke, UNL Extension Educator

Windbreak image

The season's first major snow storm and the accompanying troublesome snowdrifts remind us that that we should have taken the time to erect snow fence in the problem areas when the weather was pleasant and the soil unfrozen. Snowdrifts in rural areas are particularly troublesome because of the miles of roads involved, and the time and money it takes to clear blocked stretches.


Acreage Design Starts With a Good Plan

Planning an acreage helps avoid costly mistakes and aids in achieving your goals when purchasing the property.

Aerial photographs may be available from the Farm Service Agency, county engineers, county planning offices, Google Maps or Google Earth. Assuming the photographs are relatively current, they can provide accurate planning information. Use the photo information (or if no image is available), draw the property to scale on gridded paper using measurements taken directly from the property.

Using an engineering scale of 1" = 10' or 20', or an architect's scale of 1/8" or 1/16" = 1'.0", most properties can be drawn at a size that will be easy to use and verify design details.


Windmill image


Building Plans

Here is just a small sampling of the dozens of free, instant download design plans and building details for barns and buildings.  Louisiana State University Ag Center

Hay Storage Barn
A 24' X 70' enclosed pole-frame structure designed to store hay or other farm produce or equipment.

Multi-Use Pole Barn for Heavy Snow Areas
Building plans for a pole barn in heavy snow areas but where snow does not exceed 35 pounds per square foot and winds are not above 80 miles per hour.

Machinery or Vehicle Shed with Living Quarters
A 60' X 22' structure divided into two areas. One is a 22' X 24'3" living area. The remaining space is for storing vehicles.

Horse Barn Plans
These free, instant download plans and building details for a dozen different horse barns and stables include designs for from one to seventeen stalls, in a variety of styles.

General Purpose Barn Plans
These small multi-purpose barns are perfect for small family farms and for homesteaders.

Visit building index for additional plans.