Young American Cattlemen

Published on Thu, 08/15/2013 - 5:08pm

We got an outpouring of letters and emails from participants in our recent Cute Cattle Contest. 

The letter reprinted below is typical of the positive experience our nation’s youth and young adults are having with raising livestock. The letter was sent to me by Laura Dove, who stated “I’m writing you because of how hard Derek works, and because many of his friends have given up on the farming dream. 


We wanted him to win your Cute Calf Contest so that his story could give inspiration to other young farmers and help get his name and his great Angus Shorthorns out there for everyone to see. I realize he did not win but if you could recognize him, and all the young ranchers out there, it would be so wonderful. Thank you for your time and great magazine”. 

Here is her tribute to Derek:

Derek Noteboom is 21 years old and has been farming all his life with his family. After graduating from Grundy Center High School Derek went to Kirkwood Community College for 2 years for Beef Marketing/Genetics, also studying Fat Cattle, Cow/Calf operation and taking crop management classes.


Back on the farm, Derek is raising Angus, Simmy Angus and Shorthorns.  Unfortunately, last year was not a good year with his calves, however this year he had 15 new calves born and a set of Angus Shorthorn Twins that are doing great. He bottle feeds one to help him keep up. He is continuing with doing his own AI breeding and is hoping for a successful year with healthy calves in 2014. 


In addition to raising cattle, Derek is also farming with his father, Ed, raising hogs, seed corn, commercial corn, beans and rotation alfalfa.   In addition to their many head of cattle, Derek has a 2400 head hog building he operates with his father on his Grandmother’s farm.  Derek’s grandparents, John and Bep Noteboom, traveled to the United States from the Netherland’s after they were first married. Derek’s grandfather worked for several different farmers and feed businesses until he could save enough money to start farming on his own. Derek’s grandfather, like Derek, raised Cattle and pigs and acquired farm land as he could afford it. Derek’s grandfather has passed away, however his Grandmother still lives on their farm and enjoys watching their children/and grandchildren continue in their grandfather’s footsteps. 


Being a young farmer takes hard work and persistence, as it is very difficult to acquire land because of skyrocketing prices and the machinery and costs are also very high.  Derek works construction full time around managing his farming operation.  As most successful farmers his days start very early and end very late. 


In addition, Derek has been involved in FFA and 4H since he was old enough to do so, following in his two older sister’s footsteps. Derek has shown Cattle and Hogs at the county and state level and has been very successful.  Derek will be showing his shorthorn Cow/Calf pair at the Iowa State Fair in August. (He will be showing the Cow/Calf that were in his photo that was entered in the cute calf photo contest.)  


Now that Derek is approaching his last year of showing in FFA he is excited about mentoring other young 4H and FFA members and teaching them about something that he loves, his cattle and farming. Derek comments, “I have always enjoyed showing and I want everyone that has the desire to get the same opportunities I did.” Derek recently mentored three members of our local county club with two of his shorthorns winning their classes, and the third finishing respectfully.  Derek would like to hold clinics in the future before fair to share his knowledge with other kids that are just getting started. Derek’s future goals include acquiring more land and cattle.  He would also like to sell club calves to 4H and FFA members.  


Do you know an aspiring young American Cattlemen?  Send their story to rick@hlipublishing and we may publish it in an upcoming edition of American Cattlemen.