It isn’t too often that you hear of an ingenious idea to combine the love of the beef
industry and hard working youth! I have found a group that has not only done that, but
are funding it too! This group started with an idea, followed it with passion and found a
community to back it! This story represents what our industry can do when we roll up
our sleeves and believe in the young people that make our country great!
Brandi Deitchler shared this short summary of the program Shelby County Cattlemen,
Shelby County, Iowa have undertaken to promote youth in our beef industry.
For the past several years, the Shelby County Cattlemen organization in Shelby County
Iowa has had one of, if not the largest annual banquet in the state. With the wonderful
community support we have seen, we have been able to raise and give back several
thousand dollars to our area youth in collegiate scholarships. In 2010, the board members
decided that we wanted to put some of our scholarship money towards something that
would get our youth involved in the cattle industry.
In 2011, we started a pilot program based off a similar project started by a bank south of our
area with one of our board members daughter. It went very well and we were able to fully
launch the program at our 2012 banquet. The crowd was very excited about it and we
were able to raise enough money to give out three heifer project scholarships along with
our other scholastic scholarships.
What this program consists of is a scholarship/interest free loan given by the Shelby
County Cattlemen to go towards the purchase of five first calf heifers. Seventh, Eighth
and Ninth graders are eligible to apply. They and their parents each fill out an application
form that consists of a few questions. We announce the winner(s) at the Shelby County
Fair Auction. They have until April 1st following the announcement to purchase their
heifers. The first year the child owns the heifers, they do not have to pay any money back
(the scholarship portion). The next four years, the child is required to pay back 1/5 th of
the original loan amount to the Shelby County Cattlemen (the interest free loan portion).
Our goal with this project is to try to give our youth a starting point to develop their own
herd and an interest in continuing a career in the cattle industry. We hope to continue the
success of this program as it has had a wonderful start!
By Linda Cook