Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Two named Cattleperson of the Year at annual Cattlemen’s Banquet

Feb 02, 2018
Photo by: Grace King Carroll Oberman accepted the Cattleperson of the Year award during the annual Henry County Cattlemen’s Banquet on Thursday, Feb. 1.

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


“Do you remember your first calf at the county fair?” began Jeff McGohan, one of the directors of the Henry County Cattlemen’s Association, as he addressed members at the annual Henry County Cattlemen’s Banquet.

Not one, but two people were honored as Cattleperson of the Year on Thursday, Feb. 1. Like many people in the room, the two men honored started with 4-H projects and choosing calves from their father’s herd. The Cattlepersons of the Year were Leo Hunting and Carroll Oberman, celebrated for their lifetime of experience and improvements in raising cattle.

Although Hunting was unable to be at the banquet, his grandson accepted the award on his behalf. Adam Smith introduced Hunting, saying that he spent his life farming, taking care of his herd and raising a family.

“Over time, he grew his herd to 100 head,” Smith said. “He’s always taken great pride of taking care of his cows and the land they graze on.”

Hunting was a board member on the Henry County Cattlemen Association for 18 years. He began his career working with cows as a child in 1955, showing home-raised Jersey cows as a 4-H project at the county fair. After he was married, he helped his parents with their cows until his father died in 1986. At that point, he bought his own herd.

“This was quite a learning experience [for Hunting],” Smith said.

Oberman too began working on his family farm and participating in 4-H. As a teenager, he started his own herd. “As his herd grew through the years, so did his family,” McGohan said as he introduced Oberman.

McGohan called Oberman a “forward-thinking cattleman” for the significant improvements he made to his cattle genetically through artificial insemination. With the advice of his veterinarian, Oberman got his certification and became a technician. Through this, he was able to sell quite a few calves, McGohan said.

McGohan said Oberman has a “pretty tender heart.” When it came time for his son to sell his first calf at the county fair, Oberman let him bring it back home instead and bought it from him himself. They fattened up the calf, “Willy,” and sent him to the “Fat Steer” show in Montecello. After that, Oberman went back to the show for the next 15 years and his steers placed every time.

Oberman is also known for being an umpire and a referee for area sports teams. He was inducted into the 2010 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame and in 2012 was awarded “His County’s Special Friend of the Fair” award at the Iowa State Fair.

During the banquet, awards were also given for the County Raised Heifer and County Raised Steer. Madie Anderson won the County Raised Heifer Award, accepted on her behalf by her brother Grant. Molly Miller was given the County Raised Steer Award. It was accepted on her behalf by her brother Eli.

Recipients of the Henry County Cattlemen Scholarship were invited to say a few words thanking the organization for their part in helping pay their college tuition. Four high school graduates or soon-to-be graduates who are planning on going into agriculture fields were given $1,000 scholarships.

Reece McNamee, of Mt. Pleasant, thanked the Henry County Cattlemen with the scholarship. A student at Kirkwood Community College, McNamee said the scholarship helped him with his second- and third-semester tuition.

While the other recipients were not able to attend the banquet, they sent letters thanking the Cattlemen. Ben Dentlinger, of New London, wrote to say his first year of college at Wayne State College in Nebraska is flying by. Taking classes in biology and animal science is challenging, but they keep him engaged and busy, he said.

Rebecca Strothman, of New London, said that the Cattlemen scholarship helped her continue to pursue her dream in agriculture education. Her first semester at Iowa State University went well and she landed her name on the dean’s list, she wrote.

“Agriculture has always been my passion,” Strothman said. “Upon graduation … I will continue raising crops, livestock of my own, and farm. This will allow me to continue my passion, keep me up to date on current trends, and issues and give my students a hands-on experience in the industry.

“I’ve known nothing else but agriculture my whole life,” she continued. “I promise I will not let you down. Your scholarship will definitely help me turn my dreams into reality. This is something I would never be able to accomplish without your contribution.”

The final scholarship winner, Nicholas Sandeen, of Mt. Pleasant, is studying Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State. He wrote to say his first semester went well and he is learning a lot. He also joined a club that builds pulling tractors. The club receives an engine and tires and the rest of the tractor is designed by the club.

“This year, the club is building 4-wheel drive tractors for the first time,” Sandeen wrote. “I’m really looking forward to traveling with my club as we compete in Illinois this May. Thank you for supporting me as I further my education.”

Cattlemen’s scholarship forms for next year are available at the high schools. Applications are due Friday, March 30, Smith said.

Food was prepared for 300 people at the banquet, with people enjoying beef and entertainment for well over three hours. Entertainment was provided by Great Blue Grass Herons sponsored by Sullivan Auctioneers.

Before they took the stage after dinner, ICA Director of Industrial Relations Adair Lents spoke about what the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association priorities in the legislature are this year, saying they have a lobbyist there full-time.

Lents said one of the two main priorities for the Association is more funding for a new Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Ames. This is a huge resource for the cattle industry and the lab needs a new facility, Lents said.

Another priority is funding research for foreign animal disease. “We are pushing and lobbying for a vaccine.”

Lents said members of the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program took a trip to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in January and they said it isn’t if they get a foreign animal disease, it’s when. “We just want to be prepared for that and have funding available so that can be eradicated quickly,” she said.

Before Great Blue Grass Herons took the stage, Lents said, “It’s so encouraging to see this crowd and all of you passionate about agriculture and the cattle industry in the state of Iowa.”

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