LISMORE — Discussing the Century Farm where she and her husband Roy, and their children Dayton and Dayona, live in rural Lismore, Lori Bullerman Romans admits to a mixture of pride and sadness.
Talking about it, she said, is bittersweet.
Lori’s father, Lloyd, died last November. His life’s goal was to live to age 80, and to live to see his farm become a Century Farm. Unfortunately, the paperwork that allowed the family homestead to achieve the official designation was not finalized until after he passed away.
“It’s so melancholy for me, knowing it was my dad’s dream. And it was delayed. It’s kind of bittersweet,” she said.
Now — officially — the farm has been in the Bullerman family for 101 years. Herman Voss, who was born in 1866 and emigrated to America from Germany, purchased the property in 1919. He and his wife, Teresa, who were married in 1899, had 11 children.
The land was later divided by Herman and Teresa, among their sons. Lori’s grandmother Alma, who married Leonard Bullerman of Adrian, purchased the parcel Roy and Lori live on now. Alma and her son Lorne worked the farm until they died six weeks apart.
The other sons had expressed a varied interest in the farming operation and the homestead. Wayne opted for a career in the military, becoming a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and working on the pharmacy staff at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Miles owned his own pharmacy in Wells and had no interest in farming.
Lloyd was the oldest son, and Lorne the second oldest.
“They were old enough to remember their father, Leonard Bullerman. Leonard and Alma’s dream was being on the farm and working on the farm. They had a working memory of how important it was to be on this farm,” Lori said.
Today, Roy and Lori live on the 11-acre homestead, and they rent the pasture and farmland to others. It is their task to take care of the yard and the buildings.
At one time, Roy and Lori raised fainting goats, chickens, ducks and geese.
“Currently, we’re not raising any animals except two teenagers. And they keep us pretty busy,” Lori said.
Dayton is 15. Dayona is 13. Ironically, Dayona holds the distinction of being the only female child raised in the house in 100 years, said Lori.
Country life isn’t easy
Lloyd’s wife Kathy never lived on the farm. Lloyd lived on it until he went off to college. He later became a professor at the University of Nebraska, working in food microbiology.
But Kathy remembers the farm well.
“I learned to drive one of the tractors on the farm,” she said, and she recalled a story of when she had to drive it with a loader attached to retrieve a wayward calf.
Kathy pitched in to help with fieldwork and sometimes drove tractors in tandem to plow fields of dense alfalfa.
But she claims she never became a true farm woman.
“I think I’m a city woman,” she said.
Lori, too, said she never became truly comfortable with the traditional farming life. She remembers spending a lot of time on the farm cleaning chickens.
“It smelled, and it was hot,” she said. “I never was active in the killing part of it, but I couldn’t be around it. That was hard for me. And that’s why they called me a city girl.”
Today, Lori enjoys gardening. She loves caring for flowers and vegetables. A family consumer science teacher by trade, she is now a substitute teacher working mainly in the Adrian school district.
She admits that both she and Roy are fussy about the premises.
“We prefer detail-oriented,” she says, smiling.
Roy, retired as a foreman in the brick mason profession, oversees the farm buildings while keeping an immaculately trimmed yard.
“It’s what made him a good bricklayer. He had to have his lines perfectly plum and level,” said Lori.
“I used to golf before I got injured at work,” said Roy. “I need a nice, trim lawn. Maybe I mow more often than I should, but when it starts getting ratty you gotta trim it down. And I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my yard.”
Family contemplates farm’s future ownership
Lloyd’s dream is secure because family members made it so. All of Roy’s family are still in the Lincoln, Neb., area where he and Lori first met. But he moved here with his wife so that Century Farm status could be achieved.
“I’m happy that we were able to come up here and do it, and to help make it happen,” he said.
“It was a team effort. I couldn’t have done it without him,” said Lori.
Kathy is obviously pleased that it did indeed happen.
“I think he (Lloyd) knew it would happen. It’s just that he couldn’t be here to see it actually happen,” she said. “When his mother passed away and it had to be sold for the inheritance, his brothers weren’t interested and neither were their families. But Lloyd and I and our children wanted to keep it.”
Lori continues to contemplate the future.
“We’re working it out as a family,” she explained. “Do we close it up and let somebody else be on our Century Farm? Do we end our Century Farm and let somebody else begin? But the next person, maybe they could have it and work toward a Century Farm. It could be a new beginning.”