A Lifetime of Raising Cattle Comes Full Circle For This Beef Producer

Raising cattle has always been a big part of Nick Peterson’s life, beginning when he was a young boy helping on his grandparents’ farm near Charles City, Iowa. Later, when he was in his 20’s, Nick worked full-time on the family farm, which had 400 acres of crop ground some hogs, too. But it was the 1,000 head of cattle that took most of Nick’s time. It was also the start of what would eventually evolve into his own beef operation today.

Beef month 3

“My background has always been raising fat cattle,” says Nick, who is also a Latham® dealer. “My grandparents farmed my entire life, but they never sold any grain. We just needed to get feed for our cattle and that was it. So, me becoming a seed dealer is an interesting thing, I guess!”

After 14 years on the family farm, Nick decided to venture out on his own. He and his wife, Lisa, moved to her family farm in Nashua, Iowa, rebuilt the house and buildings, and put a feed lot there. As fate would have it, Nick knew the McGregor family down the road because he’d worked for them when he was fresh out of high school. The connection resulted in a partnership of sorts, as Nick started “owning my own stuff” and buying more cows.

Between them, the Petersons and McGregors now have about 120 steers, along with western ones, and they’re “all mixed in together,” he says with a laugh.

“It made it way easier for me to start out on my own,” Nick says of the business arrangement. “It can be hard for a young guy to do that. Bankers don’t really want to let you build a feed yard and then give you $2 million in a line of credit to go buy some cattle.”

Today, Nick’s shop and seed dealership are located on the farm. He and Lisa have two girls, Jenna and Ava. Lisa is the branch manager at First Waverly Bank in Plainfield. Nick has served on the Chickasaw Cattlemen’s board for years, following Scott McGregor’s longtime example of advocating for beef producers on the local and national levels.

Beef Month 2

For beef producers, Nick says overcoming misinformation about the industry continues to be a challenge. He takes advantage of any chance to educate people — mostly young people — about the nutritional benefits of beef and how farms bring food home. It’s a message he never thought he’d have to repeat so many times.

“Fifty years ago, you didn’t have to educate people so much about farming, because so many families were connected to their roots – and their roots were on farms,” Nick says. “Now it’s getting harder to find that. Most kids don’t understand. Heck, most adults may not either.”

One sticking point, he says, is the trend among young consumers toward healthy eating. The spinoff has been a surge in sales of “plant-based” meat or, in the case of many restaurants, “beyond beef” menu items.

“It has risen to the level of nonsense,” Nick says. “People need to understand, in order to make fake meat, it takes all the byproducts of stuff we feed our cattle anyway. But keeping people informed is hard. Getting them to pay attention is worse.”

Of course, as a beef producer, Nick never tires of the work – or advocating for the industry. Caring for the cattle is the best part of his job, he says, even when it involves pulling calves, cleaning feed yards and hauling manure. Seeing the animals thrive and knowing they are being taken care of is satisfying in a way most people will never understand.

“I’ve just always enjoyed taking care of the cows and being outside on my own,” Nick says. “There’s just something about it that’s really special.”

Nick's Meat "Loaf"



  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 C Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 T Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 C ketchup
  • 1/3 block Velveeta white cheese (cubed)
  • 1-1/2 C bacon crumbles

Mix all ingredients well and spread into a 9x13 glass baking dish


  • 1-1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 T Worcestershire
  • ½ T garlic powder
  • 1 C ketchup (add more if needed)


Mix all sauce ingredients and spread evenly over the top of meat.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.