Natural Resources Districts Hall of Fame Inductees Revealed at Husker Harvest Days

Natural Resources Districts Hall of Fame Inductees Revealed at Husker Harvest Days

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 10:45am

Natural Resources Districts Hall of Fame Inductees Revealed at Husker Harvest Days
Inductees’ work in natural resources creates better future for Nebraskans


(GRAND ISLAND, NE) – Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts (NRD) three Hall of Fame inductees were announced in a press conference at Husker Harvest Days this morning outside the natural resources building at lot 39E on the southeast side of the showgrounds. These three individuals will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Natural Resources Districts Annual Conference September 24th and 25th. Media is invited to attend.


Individuals who have made significant contributions through Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts resulting in improvements to the state’s natural resources are selected for this coveted honor once a year. The candidates are elected into the Hall of Fame by vote of current NRD Managers and Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Board of Directors. There are three Hall of Fame categories. They include: Natural Resources Districts Board member, Natural Resources Districts Employee and Natural Resources Districts Supporter. The NRD Supporter includes individuals outside the NRD system who have shown tremendous care and leadership in Nebraska’s on-going conservation efforts.
The Hall of Fame inductees are:

Keith Rexroth – Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Board member (Sidney, Nebraska)

Ron Milner – Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Employee (Family is in Imperial, Nebraska and Grand Island, Nebraska) 

Don McCabe – Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Supporter (Grew up near Newcastle, Nebraska. Currently lives in Lincoln, Nebraska)

Hall of Fame inductee Keith Rexroth from Sidney, Nebraska, was nominated for the Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Board member award by the South Platte Natural Resources District. Rexroth spent 24 years as a member of the South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD) Board of Directors, 16 of those as Chairman. One of his major achievements during those years was his commitment and input into developing an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) which will help protect water resources into the future. He’s received numerous awards including the 1983 Outstanding Young Farmer Nebraska award, 2005 NRD Director of the Year award and 2013 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture award. Rexroth received an appointment by the governor as an advisor for the Three-State Cooperative Agreement on the Platte River, has been a member of the High Plains Ag Lab Advisory board since 1973, was a board member for the USDA Agricultural Research Service station in Akron, Colorado and has spent countless hours volunteering his time to youth education as well. 

“With the amount of talent and commitment shown from past and current NRD directors, it’s very humbling to have acknowledgement, let alone this type of recognition,” said Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Board member inductee, Keith Rexroth. “Getting awards is not the reason I served on an NRD Board. The important mission is how we manage Nebraska’s resources for future generations, regardless of who gets the credit. The input and ongoing hard work from the South Platte NRD operators and communities with their water management efforts is one of the things I’m most proud of.”


Hall of Fame inductee, Ron Milner posthumously was nominated for the Hall of Fame NRD Staff category by the Upper Republican Natural Resources District. His wife resides in Imperial, Nebraska. Milner served as the first general manager of the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (URNRD) from 1972 to 1997. He helped pass the Groundwater Management Act in 1976 and with Milner’s guidance, the URNRD board adopted an order that required metering and reporting of groundwater use, making the NRD the first in the state to do so in 1978. Metering was done so that Milner and the NRD would be able to see how much water was being used and to make sure that irrigators were not going over their newly allotted allocation. There was great opposition to the metering, but Milner knew it was the right decision to make and it would be beneficial to the conservation of groundwater. He created the first Groundwater Management Area in the state and enacted well spacing rules as well.


"Ron would be quite excited and grateful,” said Monna Milner, wife of Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Employee inductee, Ron Milner. “I know he was very proud of the work he accomplished. I’m very honored and he would be too. It’s really something.”


Hall of Fame inductee, Don McCabe, was nominated by the Central Platte Natural Resources District to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Natural Resources Districts Supporter. McCabe grew up on a farm near Newcastle, Nebraska. He currently resides in Lincoln. He worked for the Nebraska Farmer magazine for 37 years and was instrumental in helping farmers in Nebraska learn about how to implement conservation practices to protect Nebraska’s soil and water. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Nebraska and served in the U.S. Navy for four years. McCabe covered natural resources issues that needed to be addressed through Groundwater Management Plans, to new techniques and technologies available to help farmers address production and natural resources issues. He’s key in helping lower nitrate levels in the Central Platte Natural Resources District due to his articles focusing on conservation efforts to achieve such a goal.


“I was pleasantly surprised and honored to be named to the NRD Hall of Fame.,” said Don McCabe, inductee of the NRD Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Supporter. “Throughout my career, I enjoyed working with Nebraska NRDs and informing Nebraska Farmer magazine readers about the many types of NRD projects and the districts' wise management of the state's natural resources. Nebraska has unique natural resources, namely its complex and rich groundwater resource and, fortunately for Nebraskans, the state has a unique and effective local management system of NRDs to manage those resources. NRDs, staff members and directors alike, were always cooperative in sharing information and I am glad I was able to help them get the word out.”


All three Hall of Fame inductees will be presented their awards at the Nebraska Natural Resources Districts Annual Conference Banquet on Monday, September 24th, 2018 at 6 PM. Again, media is invited to attend.