Rolling Hills Heifer Project sparks interest in other counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A program designed to involve the youth of area communities in agriculture has grown since its inception, and even sparked interest in forming similar programs in other counties around western Iowa.

Chuck Edwards, President/CEO of Rolling Hills Bank & Trust

Chuck Edwards, President and CEO of Rolling Hills Bank and Trust, which is headquartered in Atlantic, told a crowd of young people, their parents, and others in attendance at a banquet at the Cass County Community Center Sunday afternoon, that the “Heifer Project,” which began in 2001 with¬†five heifers each given to two area youth, has grown to four sets of heifers given away this year.

And, he says, the Carroll County Farm Bureau joined in this year, and also gave away five heifers. That makes 25 head of bred heifers given out this year to area youth. So far, 220 head of heifers have given to 45 people. Carroll County, which is in the second year of the program, has given away 10 altogether.

Edwards said when he spoke recently before a gathering of the Shelby County Cattleman’s Association, he said he learned they’re interested in getting a similar program established in that area. Tim Greave, who attended Sunday’s meeting , said their satellite program began this year, with one of their board members placing five heifers.¬† He says during a recent auction, 70,000 was raised in 15-minutes, to put towards the heifer program, which is still in its infancy and being tweaked in that. He says in the future, there may be a “share-type program,” where a portable loan is paid back at the end, and one or two of the payments are forgiven.

Past and present recipients of heifers from the RHHP 2-26-12

The Rolling Hills heifers are purchased by the bank, to be given to two individuals for a 5 year period. Those persons must be either in 7th or 8th grade, and must be interested in agriculture and willing to accept total responsibility for the daily care of the heifers. The youth can do what they wish with the heifers for the 5 years, either by selling the offspring, building a herd, etc., but at the end of the 5-years, the current cash equivalent value of 5 heifers must be paid to the Rolling Hills Heifer Project. Those funds will be used to purchase heifers for the next year’s recipients. The participants must document the entire process involved with raising the animals, including income and expenditures, and be willing to promote the program to other youth.

This year’s heifer recipients in western Iowa included: Morgan Barkley, from Cumberland; Brooke Newell, from Anita; and Preslyn Grobe, of Hancock. The Carroll County Farm Bureau gave its five heifers to Kourtney Grimm. Chuck

In addition, rewards were given Sunday to those youth participating in the program, who kept the best records while raising their animals. First place, and a cash award of $750, went to Jonathan Triggs, of Mt. Ayr, who received his heifers in 2008. Second place, and a $500 award, went to Paige Kipp, of Yale, who received her heifers in 2008 also. Third place, and a $250 award, went to Delaney Carroll, of Avoca.

To apply for the Rolling Hills Heifer Project Program, individuals must fill out an application describing their interest in agriculture as well as have 3 letters of recommendation from such persons as teachers, club leaders, etc. For more information use this link:

www.rollinghillsbank.com/heifer_project.htm