Jon Hansen – Employee Spotlight

Today we shine the spotlight on Jon Hansen, a Burt County guy through and through.

Where did you grow up?

Tekamah, Nebraska

What does your job entail (job duties and how does your work impact the public)?

I assist farmers and acreage owners implement conservation practices. Some examples of conservation practices include terraces, waterways, water and sediment control basins, livestock watering facility, working with the conservation tree program, and our wildlife habitat improvement program. Another large aspect of my day-to-day work is assisting our many partners, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service “NRCS”, Pheasants Forever, and the Nebraska Forest Service.

What’s the most unique thing in your office or on your desk right now?

You will find deer sheds and a signed football helmet by Coach Matt Rhule, along with a cluster of tree planting plan maps on my desk since we are in the thick of tree planting season.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work (hobbies, volunteering, etc.)?

I have a small farm and a cow/calf operation. I am also on the board of directors for the Burt County Cattlemen, and most recently finished up a 6-year term on the Burt County Extension Board. I enjoy hunting and I am a die-hard Husker sports fan.

What educational background or experience do you bring to your role (degree(s), coursework, skills learned, etc.)?

I earned a Diversified Agriculture degree in 2007, and I have been in the agriculture field in some capacity ever since. I started working for NRCS in 2017 before taking the Field Representative position with the Papio NRD in 2021 so I have gained a wide array of experience over the years.

Is there family, significant other, or furry friend information you’d like to share? My wife Amber and I have 3 kids: Peyton, Emry, Cooper, and we are expecting another little girl in June. We also have a silver lab named Tully.

What is your favorite band(s)? Currently I enjoy Zach Bryan, Cody Johnson, and Tyler Childers but I really like 70’s-90’s country.

Anything else you’d like to share? The best part about working for the Papio NRD is the people. I have got to network with some good fellow employees and partners and have met many good landowners and operators that are looking to improve the land. It has been very rewarding to work out of the Burt County Field Office where I was born and raised.

290 Collective Years of Service to Our Constituents!

What you see here is 290 COLLECTIVE YEARS OF SERVICE to constituents of the Papio NRD – working together to conserve our natural resources across the District!

Ten employees and one member of the board of directors received service awards at last night’s board meeting. Many have been with the Papio NRD for decades, which says a lot about their commitment to their craft and fulfilling our mission.

Our Papio NRD superstars:

Back row: Papio NRD Board Chairman Kevyn Sopinski; Papio NRD General Manager John Winkler; Carey Fry, Senior Accountant (15 years); Martin Cleveland, Construction Engineer (45 years); and Ryan Trapp, Assistant Operations and Maintenance Superintendent (25 years).

Front row: Jean Friends Tate, Administrative Coordinator (30 years); Papio NRD Board Director Tim Fowler (20 years – Nebraska Natural Resources Districts Director Service Award); Bill Brush, IT Manager (10 years); and Bill Warren, Operations and Maintenance/Park Superintendent (45 years).

Employees not pictured: John Zaugg, Field Representative (40 years); Marty Nissen, Engineering Aide/Drafter (35 years); Lance Olerich, Water Supply Superintendent (20 years); and Kyra Peterson, District Accountant (5 years).

Major congratulations to these amazing people!

 

Papio NRD Board Decreases Property Tax Levy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/15/23
Contact: Jennifer Stauss Story
Cell Phone 402-960-5329

Papio NRD Board Approves Proposed 2024 Budget

Decreases Property Tax Levy 

 

Omaha, NE: At its September 14th meeting, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD) Board of Directors voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2024 general operating budget that includes a significant decrease in the Papio NRD property tax levy.

“After the first budget draft was discussed, I directed Papio NRD staff to find as many efficiencies as possible in the District’s general operations and vital programs to ensure the Papio NRD is only requesting the bare minimum from taxpayers without sacrificing our mission of protecting life and property,” said Kevyn Sopinski, chairman of the Papio NRD Board of Directors.

For 18 out of 19 years, the Papio NRD has either decreased or kept the property tax levy the same. This fiscal year’s total tax request is 1.8% above last year’s budget. The District will drop its property tax mill levy by 10% this fiscal year.

“We understand that historically high inflation and even higher county property valuation assessments are negatively impacting many of our constituents’ finances,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio NRD. “Through methodical and conservative financial and operational management, refinancing and reduction of bonded debt, and securing over $20 million in grant funding, this budget allows the Papio NRD to lower its property tax levy to its lowest in over 20 years while simultaneously funding critical public safety projects,” said Winkler.

The Papio NRD’s FY24 property tax levy would drop to .031 per $100 of assessed valuation from the District’s FY23 property tax levy of 0.347 per $100 of assessed valuation. Under this budget, a homeowner in the District with property valued at $150,000 would pay $46.95 a year or $3.91 a month in property taxes next year to support Papio NRD projects, programs, and services. The budget calls for an estimated $30 million in revenue from the Papio NRD’s property tax levy. The total operating budget is estimated at $90.3 million.

Winkler said the Papio NRD’s budgeting philosophy is to only levy what is needed to adequately fund essential projects related to flood mitigation, conservation, erosion and sediment control, as well as the responsible management of Nebraska’s invaluable natural resources.

The property tax levy is based on an estimated 12.9% increase in valuations across the District, which includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington, and Dakota counties, plus the eastern 60% of Burt and Thurston counties.

The Papio NRD receives less than 2% of all property taxes collected within the District’s six-county area. The remaining 98% goes to schools, cities, counties, and other taxing entities.

 

 

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Cover Crop Roller Crimper Now Available to Farmers

A roller crimper, an alternative mechanical method to terminate cover crops without herbicides, is now available for farmers in and around Washington County. By crimping cover crops and rolling them over like a blanket on a field, it can improve weed suppression and reduce moisture evaporation from the soil.

Grant funding from the EPA, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) and the Papio NRD for practices relating to water quality improvements enabled the recent acquisition of the roller crimper.

It’s available to local farmers for use at a low cost of $1/acre (to address routine maintenance). Farmers who may be hesitant about this practice are encouraged to try it on a few acres initially to make their own judgement and consider it a potential future investment.

To learn more about the roller crimper and cost-share on eligible conservation practices, contact Armando Zarco with the Papio NRD at 402-350-3695 or azarco@papionrd.org.

To schedule the roller crimper, contact Phil Kempcke at 402-533-3122 or Nate Kempcke at 402-278-0584 with Kempcke Seeds in Blair.

 

 

Sign Up for New Blair Field Office Newsletter

The Blair Field Office is starting a monthly newsletter! Stay in the loop on conservation programs (and much more) that benefit you, your neighbors, and your land.

See your tax dollars at work in your inbox or mailbox, whichever you prefer.

Signing up is easy! Simply contact Kalani Fortina at kalani.fortina@usda.gov or (402) 426-4782 ext. 110.

 

 

 

Papio NRD Seeks Input from Washington County Farmers on Incentives Program

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District is seeking feedback from Washington County farm owner-operators on a new incentives program for farmstead improvements and agricultural enhancements.

The program is intended be a flagship example of conservation-based water quality improvement for the state of Nebraska by reversing watershed impairment in the Papillion Creek Watershed through the reduction of nutrient, sediment, and E. coli loading.

“The best way to make this incentives program truly beneficial to farmers is to collaborate directly with them,” said Kyle Madsen, watershed coordinator for the Papio NRD. “We want their help in devising incentives they find attractive to implement water quality improvement practices throughout the watershed.”

Madsen says the next few months will be devoted to gathering public feedback necessary to develop a comprehensive and successful program.

Special incentives are available to stakeholders in various parts of Washington County for the following practices/improvements:

Septic system upgrades/replacements

General Conservation Reserve Program

Pollinator planting

Riparian buffer/filter strips

Sediment control basins

Wet detention basins

Livestock exclusion areas

Cover crops

Terraces

Grant funding for the program is provided by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. The program will be available through December 2022.

For questions and information on eligibility, please contact Madsen at (402) 350-3695 or kmadsen@papionrd.org.

 

 

 

 

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