Family Ties

It’s an exciting weekend for the Simmental breed in Iowa this weekend. Iowa has a long standing history of producing great Simmental genetics, and great families that have roots deep in the breed. The Steenhoek family of JS Simmentals is no exception to that tradition. One of the things you have to love and appreciate about the JS Simmentals operation is how much of a family affair the cattle operation is. It’s refreshing to see an entire family breeding cattle, enjoying time together, traveling the country, and marketing their genetics. 

Today we sit down with Jay Steenhoek, the oldest of Ken & Claudia’s children to learn more about their families over 30 years in the Simmental business.

The Steenhoek’s have been raising Simmental cattle under JS Simmental since 1985.  My Dad (Ken) always used Simmental bulls on his commercial cows & just really liked the breed.  We purchased 2 Purebred Simmental heifers from Brad Sweeney, Truro, Iowa for my (Jay) 1st 4-H project. The purchase that changed our program came from Triple C Farms, Wisconsin. We purchased our Triple C Burning Power donor.  Burning Power is still alive, we still flush her & she continues to run in our pastures.

As they continued to grow and produce outstanding genetics, it was obvious to them it was time to take it to another level. We got involved in a number of consignment sales & felt it was easier to have our own sale about 8 years ago. The Midwest Made Sale hosted at the Hansen Center at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa will be held this Saturday, October 21st at 5PM. They strive offer an elite group of PB & Sim/Angus females that will thrive in the show ring & the pasture.  They want to create a positive market atmosphere at our sale, which is easy to see by their hospitality and presentation of the sale animals. They always want to be helpful to customers anyway possible.

Everyone who has a sale knows that it is not only a lot of work, but it is also very rewarding for your program. The success of our first sale in Ames  stands out as a memorable moment for JS Simmentals.  It encouraged us to continue to strive to produce superior genetics for our customers.

The Steenhoek family hosts their sale at the Hansen Center in Ames, Iowa. This means they have to haul their cattle, feed, tack, and family to the sale. Hauling my mother’s décor (junk) takes up a whole trailer (according to my Dad).  In actuality preparing at home plus transporting equipment & cattle 50 miles to the sale site in Ames can be the most difficult.  The best part is socializing with old & new customers, seeing juniors eagerly choosing projects for the coming year & just the excitement of the auction.

Family ties run strong.  It’s a joy for Grandpa & Grandma (Ken & Claudia) to watch the three grand kids Chesney 11, Coy 9 & Grady 6 excel in the show ring which reinforces their hard work in the barn.  Scott, Amy, Dani & myself share the spotlight as well, each of us assuming tasks that lead to success in the show ring. Ken’s world revolves around cattle & taking road trips to find “that special one”,  while Claudia finds “that special antique.  Jay & Dani love the bull stud business at Nichols Cryo-Genetics, Inc. & also enjoy time with friends, camping, the Iowa State Fair, & taking kids to sporting events.  Scott & Grady enjoy time on the golf course, little league & time with friends.  Amy shares the passion for cattle & shows like her Dad, but also enjoys time with friends & sporting events for Grady.  We all enjoy the athletic events the kids are involved in – travelling weekends to baseball, softball, wrestling, football & basketball.

Our extended family includes these people behind the scenes who help daily or part time making sure JS Cattle are at their best.  Dwayne Bos, JR Spear, Derek Counsel, Jamie Flynn & Ross Anderson.

To the consignors both past & present, we say “Thank You” for sharing this sale experience each year with us & for bringing quality cattle to offer.




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