A 50-year home for cattle and hogs

WILLIAMS – On the Roger and Deb Nerland farm stands a barn that although no longer is in use, it served the farm for almost 60 years.

Nerland’s grandfather, Peter Nerland, bought the farm in 1937. Nerland’s father, Harold Nerland, had the barn built in 1955 to replace an older barn.

“We fed a lot of cattle,” Roger Nerland said, “and the older barn had served its purpose, so it was torn down and this one put up.”

Carpenters Jim and James Raymond and Keith Roe constructed the 60-by-90-foot barn to mainly be used by the Nerlands for their cattle operation.

Nerland said he can remember the carpenters working on the barn and his father wanting to put hay up.

Nerland said the large barn held up to 200 head of Hereford cattle and had the capacity to hold about 40 acres worth of hay and 80 acres of oat straw.

“We would fill the hay mow clear to the roof,” Nerland said. “When I was small, my job was to pull the rope of the hay carrier.”

Although now, the barn is mainly used for storage with the last of the livestock leaving the barn around 1998. It is still a main part of their family’s farm.

Nerland has memories of working and some mischief-play done in the barn.

“I went in there, I was probably 5 years old,” Nerland said, “and I found a hatchet the carpenters were using and cut twine off of bales.

“I really heard about that, and I will never forget it.”

Nerland said as he grew, he helped sort cattle and recalls once a year get to ride along in the truck to Chicago, something he really enjoyed doing.

An older Nerland moved off the farm, then returned in 1975 when he converted the barn for hogs, a use that remained until 1998.

The barn stands in great structural shape, Nerland said. It’s only had the general upkeep of several coats of paint and a steel roof applied.

The barn, Nerland said, is a place of many memories and he said he would like to see it kept preserved as long as the farm is in existence.

“It has been here pretty near as long as I have been,” he said. “That barn was Dad’s pride and joy.”

Nerland said the family built another barn by the same design, but smaller. It stood on a nearby farm, but was later moved 1.25 miles across a field into Williams.