NEBRASKA (July 1, 2021) –Turner Enterprises, Inc. and Turner Ranches announced today the launch of the Turner Institute of Ecoagriculture, Inc. (“Institute”). The Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity and agricultural research organization formed by Ted Turner, whose history of sustainable ranching and animal production, natural resource conservation, and imperiled species restoration spans over three decades. Turner currently owns 14 ranches in the U.S. (and a herd of approximately 45,000 American plains bison) that practice ranching in an economically sustainable and ecologically sensitive manner while promoting the conservation of native species and habitats.
The Institute’s mission is to research, develop, practice, and disseminate sustainable strategies and techniques for conserving ecosystems, agriculture, and rural communities.
“Our company’s passion for the environment, conservation and sustainable practices continues to drive our mission of innovatively managing our lands to unite economic viability with ecological sustainability,” said Ted Turner.
Five Turner ranches are in the Sandhills region of western Nebraska, encompassing approximately 445,000 acres of North American Great Plains mixed grass prairie. Turner is contributing the McGinley Ranch, located in the northern Sandhills region, and all its operations to the Institute. McGinley Ranch straddles the border between Nebraska and South Dakota and is comprised of 79,292 contiguous acres of native rangeland. It is contemplated that the remaining four ranches in the Sandhills area (collectively, the “Sandhills Ranches”) may be transferred to the Institute in the future.
Although the Turner Institute of Ecoagriculture could potentially qualify for property tax exemption under the current law in Nebraska and South Dakota, the Institute has no intention of applying for that exemption.
“I believe that local property taxes provide essential support for services on which our ranches and communities depend. The Institute will continue to pay its share of taxes to support the local communities,” added Turner.
The Institute will conduct research in conjunction with land-grant colleges and universities, as well as non-land grant colleges of agriculture. The Institute is working with South Dakota State University (SDSU) and its Center of Excellence for Bison Studies to establish a formal research agreement which could include the fiscal and physical sharing of faculty, staff, office and laboratory space, graduate students, teaching and extension, publication, academic and research advisory roles, and field stations for undergraduate and graduate studies. Additionally, the Institute anticipates regular research collaborations with other land grant institutions.
“SDSU and the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies are very excited about partnering with the Turner Institute of Ecoagriculture. This partnership is an important catalyst to new research and educational opportunities focused on bison and rangelands,” added Kristi Cammack, Professor of Animal Science at SDSU and the Director for the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies.
Chief Communications Officer
Turner Enterprises, Inc.
Dr. Bill Gibbons, Associate Dean for Research, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
South Dakota State University