Sandhills nursery ships trees across Midwest

HALSEY, Neb. The Bessey Nursery is one of six federal nurseries and is the only one in the Midwest.

Charles a. Bessey Nursery Manager, Richard Gilbert said, "They've kept us open for the simple fact that we're in the wonderful sandhills, we've got great soil to produce seedlings."

There used to be about 14 federal nurseries nationwide in the 90's but a lot have shut down with the decrease of reforestation.

"There's also not as much logging and that had to do with a lot of the reforestation. There was massive logging operations throughout the front range, colorado, wyoming and even south dakota, and there's not as much of that anymore," said Gilbert.

But in the past few years, reforestation efforts have needed revival.

"And now we continue to have an increase of need for reforestation because of the bark beetle, they have blowdown incidents and other diseases and insects that come through," said Gilbert.

The Bessey Nursery is combatting this issue by shipping out upwards of 2.5 million seedlings a year.

Gilbert said, "They had some bark beetle issues up on the Pine Ridge and the 2012 fire burnt most of them. I think it killed most of them when it caught on fire."

But they don't only supply Nebraska, they ship to Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and North and South Dakota as well.

"Colorado, and Wyoming and even South Dakota, they're still having some issues. The spruce beetle is increasing. Within two, three years it has drastically changed. So out there, they're going to continue to lose a lot of trees," said Gilbert.

The nursery will begin its first seasonal shipments in the upcoming weeks.