Family farm also operates as research center

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Ginny Hall | May 9, 2014

The Susan Bellman farm at N6084 Johnson Road in the town of Richmond is also home to the Great Lakes Agricultural Research Service.

In 1987, when Bellman's two children were grown and her folks were older, she returned to the family farm and started the research service. She earned a bachelor's degree in agronomy and a master's degree in weed science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her three sisters were interested  in farm animals, but she enjoys the crops.

A barn quilt, in the Farmer's Daughter pattern, is visible from the road. The farm has been in her family since 1914. Her grandfather was a dairy farmer; her father raised beef and grain crops.

The 330-acre farm has 150 acres of tillable soil, which are rotated between grazing and grain crops. The farm includes spring-fed ponds and woods. Bellman raises about 60 Angus cross-breed beef.

Twenty acres are reserved for her research. She does private industry research, testing everything from pesticides to fertilizers. This is done on corn, soybeans, winter wheat and alfalfa.

The 1857 plat map shows the owner of this property as J. Pemberton; in the 1873 plat map the owners are listed as John and Richard Pemberton, early settlers in the town of Richmond.

Albert Beckwith's “History of Walworth County” indicates that John Pemberton was a member of the Wisconsin Assembly in 1878. He served in the 49th Infantry, Company K during the Civil War.

The 1891 plat book indicates the property was divided with R. Pemberton retaining about 60 acres and the remainder owned by P. Mahan. Later this parcel was owned by J.H. Redenius, who was known as an excellent farmer, keeping a herd of livestock.

The 1920 plat book shows the Redenius parcel now owned by Fred Behlman.

Susan Bellman said her grandfather bought the farm in 1914. Apparently along the way, Behlman became Bellman.
Ginny Hall, a historian from Delavan, is author of the “Walking around ...” and “Meandering ... ” books, which highlight the history of Walworth County communities.

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