Member Profile: Harrell and Lorenda Overman
Harrell and Lorenda Overman first met in middle school. Then three consecutive weekends in 1982 propelled them to the start of a successful journey that’s been fruitful not only for their family farm in Wayne County, but also North Carolina Farm Bureau.
After dating for two years, Harrell and Lorenda got married after graduating from college. Harrell earned a degree in agronomy from N.C. State University while Lorenda obtained a biology degree from Mount Olive College. That same year, Harrell and Lorenda formed Overman Farms, an operation that included Harrell’s father, who first started raising hogs after serving in the U.S. Army following World War II.
Since that beginning in 1982, Harrell and Lorenda have expanded their agriculture operation to include 5,000 acres of row crops, 2,000 sows and a hog finishing facility with the capacity for 7,500 animals.
Also on their farm near the Grantham community, Harrell and Lorenda raised three children. One of those children, Betsy Roberson and her husband, Ryan, are now in the process of learning the intricacies of Overman Farms so the family can continue in the agriculture industry into the fourth generation.
“She’s a farmer at heart,” Harrell says about Betsy. “She’s teaching school right now, but the plan is for her to come back so we can have a transition time.”
Along with raising Betsy and children Beth and Dave, Lorenda keeps track of the farm’s financial records as Harrell and a staff of 18 employees maintain the livestock, crops and equipment.
“When you’re working together and living together, you’ve got to have a balance,” Lorenda says as she and Harrell celebrate 32 years of marriage.
Along with running a successful home and farm, Harrell and Lorenda Overman are closely connected to Farm Bureau. Harrell was first elected Wayne County Farm Bureau president in 1985 when he was just 25 years old. He moved on to become a member of the State Board in 1994. Meanwhile, Lorenda will be the new State Women’s Committee Chair beginning in January.
“There are so many good people in Farm Bureau,” Harrell says. “You can learn a lot from everyone throughout the state.”