Sjerp Ysselstein, or more commonly known as Shep, founded Green Meadows Foods in Rock Valley, Iowa with his wife. The creation of the plant was a direct result of a demand that needed to be filled and the couple’s hard work and dedication. Shep’s experiences and desire to be entrepreneurial support his successes in the field of husbandry, and have allowed him to expand his business from dairy farm to a larger enterprise.
Shep and his wife met at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and later moved to Rock Valley when they purchased land to start a small dairy farm. Shep was fulfilling his legacy as a dairy farmer, as his family had been in the business since they lived in Friesland. Shep’s great-grandfather, much like other Friesians, was a dairy farmer and worked in cattle export. Unbeknownst to many, black and white dairy cows originated in Friesland and their true name is the Friesland Holstein cow – now shortened to the Holstein cow in the US. The Ysselstein family immigrated from Friesland to Ontario where Sjerp Ysselstein grew up on his parent’s dairy farm. Here, Shep worked hard to learn the trade and save up money so that one day, he too could continue the legacy. True to Friesian values, the family produces good product while continuing to be honest businessmen. A group of 200 farmers (primarily of Friesian descent), control over 40% of milk production in the US.
After a few years had passed, Shep saw an opportunity to capitalize on a growing need for a dairy processing plant. At this point, farmers in Rock Valley, Iowa had to travel at least 160 miles to the nearest milk processing plant. As Sjerp Ysselstein’s dairy farm was the largest at the time, the founding of Green Meadows Foods dairy plant had the resources to provide a convenient milk processing plant to local farmers. Today 70% of the dairy processed at the plant is from farmers in the area. Shep wasn’t satisfied to stop there. His business and enterprise now stretch across the Southwest United States, in Southern California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Sjerp Yesslstein’s family business is the business of husbandry. His Southern California ranch is co-run with his son, where the two provide feed services to local farms and raise cattle. In their original home of Ontario, Canada, Shep’s brother, John Ysselstein, owns and runs Friesvale Farms International – a Friesland Holstein cattle farm focusing on dairy production and cattle export. His nephew owns Gunn’s Hill Cheese – a famous cheese making business in Oxford County.
Shep’s ambition is now blowing him in a new direction – cattle import and export. In the recent months, Shep has set his business on course to facilitate this transition into a new faction of the husbandry industry.