Niess Family Builds on Foundation of Family Farming

Photo credit to Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association

Photo credit to Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association

By Kilah Hemesath, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds Marketing Coordinator

Something had to give, but what was it? It’s the tug-a-war between knowing there needs to be a change, and where to make it. It’s wanting to not only be alive, but to live a life.

Scott and Julie Niess learned hard work and perseverance while growing up on their own dairy farms.  After they married, they continued the valued way of life they knew for 18 years – dairy farming. Then in 2009 they found themselves at a turning point. Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Their life was tipped upside down, and they needed to create a new normal.

“We needed a change, for ourselves and our family. We sold our dairy cattle and decided to live life again,” said Scott Niess.

The Niess’s pulled through the hard times as a family. They also found ways to cope. Scott and Julie’s daughter, Cally, was 15 years old at the time. By watching her mom go through chemo, she wanted to help comfort other families going through the same struggle.

Born out of a 4-H project, Cally created Cally’s Cause. Cally’s Cause are bags that have been assembled to help other families go through the same hard times. These bags include thank you notes, postage stamps, hats, Kleenex, eye drops, sanitizer, puzzle books, band aids, cold and hot packs, tooth paste, tooth brush and plastic utensils. With help from members in the community, the bags are assembled and then delivered by Julie. There have been just over 300 bags delivered! Julie shares her story and offers others hope and encouragement. Visit their Facebook page to get in contact with Cally or Julie to learn more.

7-22-16 Niess 3

Photo credit to Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association

Today, Scott and Julie remain third generation farmers in Osage, Iowa. Both play vital roles in the farming operation and take pride in what they do. They raise beef cattle, as well as grow corn and soybeans. They buy groups of about 650-pound cattle from the Dakotas and Montana. The cattle are fed and sold at market weight. Their son, Cody, plays a role in marketing the cattle and their commodities. Cody works in Minneapolis full-time now but Scott and Julie are hoping to give him the opportunity to become their family’s fourth generation farmer.

Giving back to their community is a passion for this family. Scott currently serves on the Iowa Beef Council as a one-year appointee and is the president of the Osage Co-op.

Scott farmed with his dad for 15 years, and appreciates the active role his son plays on their farm. He values having a father-son partnership and looks forward to the opportunities ahead.

On August 26, a group of consumers interested in learning how food is produced will visit various farm and businesses in North Iowa, including the Niess Farm. The event, Expedition Farm Country, is part of the Iowa Food and Family Project, sponsored by the Iowa Soybean Association and supported by Latham Hi-Tech Seeds.  If interested in attending this tour, email and state why you’d like to embark on the farm tour! Scott and Julie are looking forward to hosting this group.

“I enjoy having the opportunity to clarify any misconceptions consumers may have,” said Scott. “I want to share my story, so they get the right story.”

Watch for more blog posts coming soon about the Niess’s inspiring story. In the meantime, enjoy this hamburger cheese dip recipe! It’s the perfect recipe to salute their experience with dairy farming and to promote the beef they now raise.


My Favorite Hamburger Dip!


8 oz cream cheese

1 can Hormel Chili without beans

1 can Rotel tomatoes 

1 cup salsa

2 lbs Velveeta Cheese

1 lb ground Beef ( browned) 


Add in crock pot stir until melted.

Serve  with Tostitos chips. Enjoy!