Ranchers Get Start At Northeast Community College

Published on: August 27, 2019

JOHNSTOWN, NE – When Frank Beel and his twin brother, Henry, decided to go to college after high school graduation, they chose Northeast Community College.

“We went in Production Ag and learned quite bit of stuff,” Frank said.

Frank recalled his experience back in the early 1990s as a great experience. It introduced the twins to the concept of Artificial Insemination (AI), a valuable tool they still use today in their ranching operation. He laughed as he said his daughters are raising a few feeder pigs now for a summer job and he refers back to the Pork Production class he took at Northeast.

Having no interest in a four-year college at that time, knowing his dad’s health was failing and he would be needed at home, Frank chose Northeast. It was a small college and he remembers the experience of a small classroom atmosphere, introduction and availability of the Internet and a close relationship with his classmates as a good learning experience.

“The professors were very knowledgeable and cared about each individual’s interests,” Frank said.

Being involved at Northeast and adjusting to life outside ranch life has given the Beel Brothers the confidence to experiment with other programs to grow their ranch. Frank said they work closely with their natural resources district and have made use of the EQIP program as well as participated in planting trees, soil health and pasture programs while conserving ground water.

In 2013, the ranch received the Leopold Award, nationally awarded for their conservation practices.

A special memory for both Frank and Henry was being part of the livestock judging team.

“We knew when we visited Northeast it was the right fit,” Henry said. “The livestock judging team was a drawing point for my brother and I. We traveled all over the country and those experiences really broadened our horizons and allowed us to bond with other team members.”

Besides adding AI to the Beels’ livestock regimen, Henry said the classes on record keeping became very important to Beel Brothers LLC and have allowed them to grow the ranch over the years.  

Today, as the second generation on the Beel Ranch, Frank and Henry Beel, along with another brother, look with pride on the next generation coming up.

“We made a commitment to the next generation by planning for the future,” Frank said. The Beels brought in a group of experts to help them develop a good plan for the future of Beel Beef LLC.

“We typically are a fairly easy going group and communicate very well,” Henry said. “But I’ve heard enough horror stories from other families about estates to know it was necessary to set up a plan.”

The twins are enjoying seeing Henry’s son working side-by-side with him and Frank’s triplets being involved in the ranching operation. They wanted to secure the ranch’s future.

And next fall, Henry’s son will be at Northeast and hopefully part of the livestock judging team.

A $23 million capital campaign is currently underway to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. The initial phase of construction includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The precision and mechanized agriculture facility will be the next facility to be constructed as funds allow and fundraising success is achieved. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue.

For more information, contact Northeast Community College Associate Vice President of Development and External Affairs Dr. Tracy Kruse, tracyk@northeast.edu, 402-844-7056. Online donations can be made through the website agwaternexus.com. Checks can be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.

Photo Cutline – Frank

Left to right: CeeAnn, Moriah, Jennifer, Frank, Katrina and Lily Beel

Photo Cutline – Henry

Left to right: Henry K., Hannah, Henry, Mary and Holden Beel