Women Landowner Spotlight: Joan Buhrmann and Family

Farm and Food
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The Joan Buhrmann and family farm is located outside Sprague, Nebraska.

A strong family history

After seeing an advertisement while living in Europe, the Buhrmanns knew they wanted to purchase land right away. The family initially traveled to the U.S. for the Homestead Act, and found their way to Nebraska to purchase the land.

Joan’s story

Wayne Buhrmann passed away in 1996, leaving the family farm to his wife, Joan. The farm was originally purchased by the Buhrmann family in the early 1880s, and has been passed down to new generations. Joan is now 93 years old, and is still working hard to make sure her farmland is prosperous for generations to come.

Conservation in mind

Joan’s son, John, drew up a Forestry Stewardship Management Plan after meeting with a Nebraska Forestry staff member. They hope to improve the farm’s timber and natural habitat to produce more organic material in the soil. Future plans include introducing a fruit orchard. 

The family has participated in soil health and estate planning learning circles to learn about conservation practices and resources available for that and land transition to the next generation.

The Buhrmann family has been implementing conservation practices since 1948— 71 years. Grass is planted in the low spots of the row crop fields to stop the good topsoil from running down into the ditch.

Advice for taking over land

"Don’t do anything major for a year. There is so much emotion running through your head at this time. I was grieving the loss of my husband, and trying to figure out how to keep things afloat. Just take things slow and easy if you can, and don’t be afraid to ask questions." -Joan Buhrmann

Plans for future conservation practices

“My son, John, wants to use conservation practices to help with clean water and soil preservation and enhancement. John also met with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to help identify where the wetlands were on the farm, where the highly erodible land was, and what we could do about it. The NRCS was very helpful. They not only identified these natural resources, they sent us a map of our farm and where these resources were located.” -Joan Buhrmann

This spotlight is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher grant.