Agritourism Pioneer Leaves His Family with a Ranch Legacy

Husker Home Place

Whenever I visited Kreycik Elk and Buffalo Ranch near Niobrara for an interview or a tour, I was always treated like family.

Published on: November 13, 2012

Two years ago this fall, when I was visiting Kreycik Elk and Buffalo Ranch, conducting an interview for Nebraska Farmer on agritourism and how to secure insurance for such ventures, it was one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen in Nebraska. Their ranch is truly one of the great spots in the state.

For those of you who have never visited Kreycik’s ranch, it is situated west and south of Niobrara, adjacent to the Niobrara River. In the mid-1980s, Kenard Kreycik and his wife Chris and their family added elk and eventually buffalo to their grain and cattle operation. By the mid-1990s, the Kreyciks were offering covered wagon tours of their scenic ranch and elk and buffalo pastures, as well as personalized hunts for the biggest of the big game.

KENARD SHARING HIS KNOWLEDGE: Kenard Kreycik offers information about harvesting velvet elk antlers to young covered wagon tour guests.
KENARD SHARING HIS KNOWLEDGE: Kenard Kreycik offers information about harvesting velvet elk antlers to young covered wagon tour guests.

Over the years, I’ve had the great honor to interview the Kreyciks on several occasions, because they were successful groundbreakers when it came to agritourism ventures. The last time I visited two years ago, I tagged along on a tour that finished around noon. It was a completely clear autumn day on the Niobrara Valley. The elk and buffalo came right up to the wagons, offering ample opportunities for close-up photos and for the students on the tour to feed the animals.

Kenard, as he always did, talked to the guests about raising elk and buffalo, how they harvested the velvet antlers of the elk, and how they managed their herds. After the tour, as everyone left, Kenard invited me to join them for lunch. Not one to turn down a meal, I happily obliged.

GO AHEAD AND FEED THE ANIMALS: One of the best parts of a Kreycik tour is feeding corn to elk and buffalo.
GO AHEAD AND FEED THE ANIMALS: One of the best parts of a Kreycik tour is feeding corn to elk and buffalo.

That’s the way the Kreyciks are. They have always treated everyone like family, and that’s probably why they are successful at what they do.

That’s also why we were so saddened to hear of the news of Kenard’s passing in late October. He and Chris, their son Steve and daughter Stacy and their families have been true pioneers on the agritourism front. They’ve led the way boldly and have helped countless others interested in agritourism in developing elk and buffalo herds, establishing tours and designing hunts. They’ve been willing over the years to share what they’ve learned. They also willingly promoted agriculture by explaining honestly and openly what they do on the farm to folks who had never visited a Nebraska ranch or farm before. They have been true “agvocates,” long before anyone knew what that really was or how important that role could be.

BEAUTIFUL SPOT: The Kreycik Ranch is truly one of the most beautiful places in Nebraska.
BEAUTIFUL SPOT: The Kreycik Ranch is truly one of the most beautiful places in Nebraska.

So, we offer our prayers and deepest sympathy to the Kreycik family and share in their loss of a true Nebraska groundbreaker. I see they will be offering a unique “first ever” holiday covered wagon tour on Saturday, December 1 through their breathtaking pastures and herds. Might be something you will want to check out, although the experience won’t be quite the same without Kenard driving the lead tractor and wagon. You can learn about the Kreyciks operation and Kenard’s legacy by visiting http://nebraskaelktours.com.

Be sure to watch www.nebraskafarmer.com and read our November print issue of Nebraska Farmer for news, information and tips on meeting the challenges of drought. Your best online resource for drought information is the Farm Progress drought site at www.DatelineDrought.com.