Pulling into the Loberg yard in Wayne County, you can see a big, yellow farmhouse sitting atop a hill. Surrounding it are large grain bins and state-of-the-art farm equipment.
Kris and son David Loberg open their phones to an app that manages their 26 pivots and moisture and nitrogen probes. At the same time, the family keeps detailed records of their land and past sales and honors each piece of ground with the name of the family they purchased it from.
The family's land has a connection with the University of Nebraska that spans decades.
That also rings true for the "South Theos" place that was bought from Dave and Don Theophilus. This land was a part of the ground that helped fund the University of Nebraska. In the mid-1800s, 135,000 acres of unclaimed Nebraska land were granted by the federal government to the state to sell or lease. The 160 acres were not a part of the family's original land, which has been in the family for 115 years.
"We tell people when we purchase a piece of ground, it will always have your name on it," Kris Loberg said.
She is the current landowner, and she has four children: David, Beth, Ashley and Megan. David and Beth both live in the Carroll area, and Ashley and Megan live in Omaha. Dan, Kris's husband, died in 2010. He grew up in the family farmhouse, just like his father and just like his children.
The "South Theos" place was purchased in 2008 after the Loberg family rented the land for 20 years. It is 2 miles north of Carroll in Wayne County, which is just 3½ miles from the Loberg home place.
The Loberg home place has been in the family for four generations and is being farmed by Kris and two of her children, David and Beth. Beth works full time at Granular, an agricultural software development company but still works in the farm office while David is in charge of production. Kris is also in charge of marketing.
The house was built by Frank Loberg, the son of August Loberg who was the original owner of the land. Frank passed the farm onto his son Glen, who married Norma and raised Dan and his five siblings. Dan and Kris raised their four children in the house, and their 10th grandchild is on the way.
Through these generations, Kris admires the family.
"We had some awesome role models who were very progressive," she said.
Glen and Norma, Kris' in-laws, used to raise dairy cattle, stock cows, hogs and chickens. Kris and Dan moved the focus toward hogs but sold them in 1998 during hard economic times. The family now focuses on crop production and custom feed cattle. The Lobergs grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa.
Glen Loberg was one of the first in the area to irrigate in the late 1960s to early 1970s. The family has since developed 95% of its ground to center pivot irrigation and advanced its on-farm storage for both crops and fertilizer. Farming practices have developed over time, and the Lobergs are constantly working to improve.
"You always build for the next generation," Kris said, "hoping there's something for them to come back to and an opportunity for them."
David said the succession plan of the farm has already started. All four siblings will own the land, but Beth and David will operate it.
"It's never our ground. It's Frank's, it's Glen's, it's Dad's and Mom's," David said.
He plans to move into the farm place with his family once Kris moves into Wayne.
Three of Kris's siblings attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and so did two of her daughters, Megan and Ashley. Kris's father also graduated from UNL in 1951.
"He was a big supporter. Grandpa had a lot of pride in UNL," David said.
The family was also heavily involved in 4-H. Kris and Dan met in 4-H, and Kris helped start the 4-H club Country Classics, which her daughter Beth now leads.
In 2006, the family was recognized at the Wayne County Fair for having consecutive ownership of their farm for 100 years.
"We're very proud of our heritage," Kris said.
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Coming Friday: Celine Mlady and her family were recognized in August for owning their Knox County land for more than 130 years.