Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
3 minutes
Read so far

AkSarBen awards

Posted in:

Six generations of Brodersens have been involved in local farm

HARTINGTON — A Cedar County farm that has grown through six generations of one family has been honored.

The Brodersen family’s 107-year-old farm northeast of Coleridge has been recognized by the Aksarben Foundation with a Pioneer Farm Family Award. They received the honor July 18 during the Cedar County Fair.

The award recognizes families for 100 years of consecutive family farm ownership in Nebraska.

“Nowhere could a more sustainable agriculture model be found consistently for more than 100 years than that of the Brodersen family,” said Ron Brodersen of Hartington.

He noted almost all crops grown on the farm were retained for the operation and fed to the Brodersen family’s livestock, which in turn supplied fertilizer applied back to the agricultural land year after year. “It was said that Brodersen crop production

“It was said that Brodersen crop production literally ‘walked to market’ for 100 years,” Ron said.

“The Brodersen family from the early days farmed the land and cared for an impressive array of livestock,” he said. The Brodersen family farm’s history dates

The Brodersen family farm’s history dates back to the end of the 19th century when Anton Brodersen emigrated from northern Germany to the United States.

In 1899, Anton purchased his first Cedar County farm – which would later receive a Pioneer Farm Family Award of its own – one mile north of where the recently honored land is located today. He bought 159 acres of land in 1914 to

He bought 159 acres of land in 1914 to expand the farm for himself and his wife, Anna (Lange). They had four sons and three daughters.

“Anton was known to have sheep, cattle – both beef and dairy cattle, hogs and chickens, plus horses and mules to work the fields,” Ron said.

“He built a large barn in the 1910s on the first farm, huge for the time,” he said. “His animal husbandry skills were passed on to each generation.”

Anton and Anna’s son Jens Brodersen and his wife, Sadie (Lentz), took over ownership of the farm during the 1920s.

Jens and Sadie raised two children – Marilyn (Brodersen) Hansen and Oran Brodersen – on the farm.

A new house was built in 1941 on the property that replaced an older residence and Jens turned the land over to Oran in 1950.

“Jens continued rearing livestock – beef, dairy, laying hens, hogs – and raising crops,” Ron said. “Jens had a special interest in crop production as an early adapter of hybrid seed.

“Jens purchased the first power tractor for plowing the fields in 1936, which remains in the family to this day,” he said.

Oran and his wife, Beverly (Christiansen), raised three sons – Dennis, Ron and Bruce Brodersen – on the farm.

“When Oran took over the farm, Jens began a second career as a DeKalb hybrid seed corn dealer in the 1950s,” Ron said.

In 1974, Dennis returned from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to farm with Oran, living on an adjacent farm that Oran had purchased.

Oran and Dennis farmed together as North Star Farms, taken from the name of the old oneroom country school on a corner of the land.

“Oran and Dennis farmed together for nearly 20 years from the ’70s to the ’90s, expanding both crop and livestock enterprises until Oran’s death in the ’90s,” Ron said.

“They were early innovators in the production of ‘no-till’ soybeans, and they became specialized in the production of purebred pig breeding stock,” he said.

Dennis received the prestigious Nebraska Pork All-American Award in 1989 and national honors for purebred Landrace pigs in the 1990s.

He and his wife, Susan (Nelsen), raised three children – Evan, Andrea and Alex – on the farm.

“The 2000s brought additional land to the operation as Dennis, Sue, and their children Evan, Andrea and Alex developed irrigation over all of their farmland and maintained a sizeable farrow-to-finish hog enterprise marketing over 8,000 hogs per year,” Ron said.

Dennis expanded the hog enterprise and farmed until he died in 2017 at the age of 66.

“By the 2010s and the passing of 100 years, North Star Farms had grown from the 159-acre pioneer farm to 960 acres of contiguous irrigated land with a hog enterprise,” Ron said.

Evan and his wife, Katherine (McDermott), are the latest Brodersens to live on the farm and have two children, Beverly and Dennis II.

Their children represent the sixth generation of Brodersens to own or live on the land that has been in their family since 1914.

Ron, a semi-retired large animal veterinarian, recalled growing up with his brothers, Dennis and Bruce, on the family farm, located about six miles northeast of Coleridge.

“We fed a lot of cattle and hogs in the days while I was growing up,” Ron said. “We all spent time in the field and caring for livestock.”

Their father, Oran, taught them the animal husbandry skills that he learned from his father and grandfather – skills that came from his German heritage.

“Dennis became the next generation to use those skills for success in his swine enterprise,” Ron said. “Bruce and I adopted animal husbandry skills, which helped us to become farm animal veterinarians.”

During the late 1980s, Ron and his brothers together started a new hog operation on their family farm for North Star Farms.

“The technology of that time involved delivering newborn pigs by cesarean-section and separating the pigs from the mother to establish a disease-free herd,” Ron said.

“From this project, North Star Farms had success for many years supplying breeding pigs to farms across the western Corn Belt and internationally to countries as far away as China and the Philippines,” he said.

Stay in the know!

To get news alerts on your cell phone, get the Cedar County News app in the ITunes store or  in the Google Play Store.