Beef Production Has Been This Family’s Tradition for Five Generations
Nestled in the rolling hills and green pastures of Clayton County, Iowa, you’ll find Rob and Dawn Medberry’s generational home almost blending into its native landscape.
“The attractive old stone house, erected in 1860 of stone quarried on the farm, still stands staunch and strong. The tall barn, erected in 1864 with a hewn oak frame and stone foundation, stands straight with nary a sag in its roofline,” according to an article printed in a 1967 newspaper that Rob shared with me. More than four decades later, this report is still accurate.
The farmstead was built by James Kerr, who moved from his native Scotland to New York state as a young man. He worked as a bargeman on the Erie Canal before moving to Elgin, Ill., and taking a bride. The young, married couple moved 5 ½ miles north of Volga, Iowa, and stared acquiring farmland. Kerr bought this farm in 1856, just 10 years after Iowa gained its statehood. He was truly a Scottish pioneer, gaining notoriety for his registered Shorthorns and fine horses.
James Kerr’s son, John, took over the farm in 1908. John Kerr’s daughter, Agnes, married Perry Medberry and the young couple became the farm operators in 1924. Rob’s father, Glenn Medberry, was born on the farm and lived there until 1988.
Rob’s family is the fifth generation of Medberry’s to live in the beautifully crafted stone house. He and Dawn will celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary on June 11. They’re also the proud parents of four very active children: son Max, 17, is just finishing his junior year of high school; 13-year-old daughter Madelin is a 7th grader; Maria, age 7, is finishing second grade; and daughter, Mayleigh, is three years old.
Activities on the farm keep the brood busy when school dismisses for the summer. From the time he was old enough to enroll in the program, Max has been active in 4-H. Last summer he earned a purple ribbon at the county fair for his woodworking project, which involved building a frame for his dad’s Latham dealer sign. This summer Max is showing a steer at the county fair, and Madelin is showing a heifer. Both of them have also entered a Pen of 3, which will be judged according to feed efficiency and cost of gain, as well as for amount of back fat and length of ribeye.
Raising beef is a natural in this part of the state, where pastureland and forage is abundant in the hillside. The Medberrys have 70 cow-calf pairs plus 110 feeder cattle. They also plant Latham® Hi-Tech Hybrids and Soybeans.
Rob is in his first season as a Latham® dealer and says he’s enjoying it. “Nick Benson (Latham’s regional sales manager here and corn product specialist for the west) knows the products and is great at placing them in these soils,” says Rob. “I don’t have to worry about product performance because Latham has developed a reputation for quality. And, the people are just great to work with.”
With chores and field work, plus a household of busy children, the Medberrys rely on quick fixes and kid-friendly meals like this recipe for Sloppy Joes. It’s a crowd pleaser for all ages!
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 can of tomato soup
- Hamburger buns
- Container for excess fat
- Stove top, hot plate or outdoor oven
- Brown the meat in a skillet.
- Hold the strainer over the container for fat. Pour everything from the skillet into the strainer. It will catch the meat and let the fat run through.
- Put the meat back in the skillet. Add the soup, ketchup and mustard. Heat until thoroughly cooked.
- Serve on buns.