Over Four Decades of Industry Experience.
A long-standing leader in the American dairy industry, Sjerp Ysselstein has dedicated his life to the livestock business and has held many different roles for over 40 years. With a long familial legacy to support his entrepreneurial drive, Ysselstein began as a boy working every aspect of his parents’ small dairy. As a young man, he was able to creatively use the knowledge he gained while working for the family business to grow an independent business endeavor that stretches across the midwestern and southwestern United States. He is guided by a commitment to creating the highest quality products without waste. After independently founding the largest dairy processing plant in Iowa and expanding his dairy presence to multiple locations and states, Sjerp’s passion only grows as he explores new pastures.
Sjerp Ysselstein’s entrepreneurial drive now leads him into the cattle and livestock import/export business.
“Integrity. Work Ethic. Honesty. That is us.”-Sjerp Ysselstein, on the heart of his business model.
Sjerp attended Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, where he met his wife, Natalie. In the early 1990’s, Sjerp and his wife purchased a small plot of land in Iowa where they would start a cattle-raising farm. The couple slowly grew their farm to be the largest in the area, however there were few convenient processing plants available — At the time, many local farmers were forced to waste money and time to ship their milk vast distances for processing.
With a sharp eye for investment opportunities, Sjerp Ysselstein and his wife maximized on the lack of milk processing plants in Iowa to grow their business and support their community by founding Green Meadows Foods dairy plant. Sjerp and Natalie were able to provide local farmers with a convenient location for their milk processing needs. After growing the plant from the ground up, they have since sold to the Canadian company, Agropur Dairy Cooperative. Today, 25% of the milk that is processed through Green Meadows Foods (now Agropur) is still produced in Sjerp’s own dairy, with the other 75% coming from other surrounding farms.
Currently, Sjerp is also involved Camiero Heifer Ranch in Southern California which his son and daughter-in-law run. His familial ties to the cattle industry don’t stop there — Sjerp comes from a strong farming background and the Ysselstein family is still deeply engaged with livestock import/export and cheese-making industries in Canada. Part of that operation includes Gunn’s Hill Cheese. The family is actively involved with cattle export across the globe, and Sjerp himself was responsible for the single largest transpacific shipment of exported livestock from the American west coast to Vietnam in 2016.
The support of his family and the larger community of Iowa have been of paramount importance to Sjerp. Sjerp and his wife Natalie give thanks for their success to their friends and the dairy community of Iowa, and to God for the ultimate guidance and support.
As the world population grows, there so does the demand for livestock. It is predicted that by 2030 this demand will more than double. The cattle export business is growing exponentially as a result of increased population and amount of land settlement, and many countries looking to import cattle from the US don’t have the resources they need to raise cattle successfully. The US has the land and the means to raise high-quality cattle and subsequently export those animals to other countries to other parts of the globe.
Exported animals are examined by a veterinarian and handled with care in order to assure the highest quality is delivered. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to have a large-scale cattle ranch to successfully export livestock. However, Sjerp Ysselstein’s significant ranch presence in the mid and southwest guarantees the transition into this new faction of the cattle rearing business to be much simpler and smoother.
Sjerp Ysselstein currently lives in Rock Valley, Iowa with his wife.