The dairy farm near Glenvil where Dave Murman lives now was started by his grandfather, who immigrated to the U.S. with David’s grandmother in 1921. He started working for other German farmers in the Glenvil area and Dave’s heard from an old-timer that “the farmers all around gave my grandpa a cow or a calf or a hog or a turkey, and then he had more livestock than anyone else!”
Dave’s grandfather started his dairy in the late 1920s/early ’30s with 10 cows. When Grandpa moved to town, Dave’s Dad took over. Dave remembers the family had 30 cows when he was in grade school, 50 by high school and close to 70 when he returned from college. Today the Grade A dairy has 240 cows and because the dairy raises its own replacement heifers, the herd is about 500 all told.
Dave majored in dairy management and business at UNL and came close to a minor in political science. He’d always been interested in politics, and “Hey, it was the late ’60s, early ’70s, a pivotal time in U.S. history,” he says.
He came back to the family farm in 1976. Today he farms in partnership with his younger brother, Jim. Their farm is four miles south and four miles east of Hastings in south-central Nebraska.
Jim manages their 1,250-acre farming operation. Nearly all of the Murman land is irrigated corn with 100 acres of alfalfa for the cows. Dave is in charge of the dairy and enjoys the management challenges that come with dairying today.
Dave’s barns are free-stall, with fans with misters to keep the cows cool during hot weather. They stay warm in the winter and are protected from predators – coyotes, and possibly cougars that have been sighted in the area. The dairy’s milk goes to the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative, usually to Ravenna but sometimes to Omaha where it becomes Roberts Milk.
American farmers do a great job of raising food and taking care of their animals, Dave says. “We care for our animals very much. That’s just part of our lifestyle. Most of us have grown up on farms and it’s just part of our nature to be good to our animals. If it means staying up all night during calving or storms, that’s what we do.
“The cows are a close second behind our families for what we care about.”
Dave’s wife Kathy is also from Glenvil. They have three young adult children: Kelsi, who’s married to Grant Hewitt, worked as a bank examiner after graduating from UNL and is now a full-time mother of two: Carter, 2-1/2, and Calvin, 1-1/2.
Whitney lives at home with her parents and always will. She was born with Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder, and is totally disabled and unable to talk. Neighbors and college students help the Murman family with her care.
Chase just graduated from Sandy Creek High and will attend Concordia University in Seward on a football scholarship, possibly studying physical therapy or business.
Dave was a member of LEAD Group IX and is a graduate of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy. He’s a past state president of the Nebraska State Dairy Association and serves on the corporate resolutions committee for the upcoming DFA national convention. He’s also been a member of the Sandy Creek School Board.
Dave’s thinking about retiring from dairying in a few years and a run for the Nebraska Legislature may be in his future, he says, because, hey, it’s a pivotal time in U.S. history.
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