Meet The Claeys
The 2018 Outstanding Commercial Producer for the state of Iowa, Curtis Claeys, is a first-generation farmer. The Claeys farm is a pasture-to-plate operation that raises high-quality black Angus cattle for Iowa Premium Beef and Aurora. The operation near DeWitt includes row-crops, custom cropping, approximately 250 cows and a 650 head finishing operation.
The Claeys farm has hosted an open house with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and recently launched a locker beef program to sell beef directly to consumers. The multi-generational farm has transitioned over the years from swine production to dairy steer calves, then dairy heifer replacements before beginning beef production.
On the farm, the environment is a top priority. Cows graze stalks on all highly erodible crop ground, allowing no-till and cover crop plantings. Claeys added a slatted confinement barn in 2014, and rotational grazing is also utilized in the pastures.
The operation keeps detailed performance records, and uses those records to make decisions regarding culling and sire selection. In six years, the Claeys farm has achieved a 95 pound increase in yearling weight, while decreasing instances of calving difficulty to zero. Most of the bulls used in the operation come from the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association bull test.
Curt Claeys has a strong record of leadership as a member of his county’s fair board, and continues that record on the Iowa State Fair Board. His son, Kendall, is a graduate of the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program and a board member for his county cattlemen’s association. The addition of another generation working on the farm full time has been a vital component in the beef enterprise.