A nationally recognized program at UNL that has educated and trained cattle feedyard specialists for 25 years has received a major gift to perpetually support its mission and student interns.
The gift from Norman and Sharon Timmerman of Indianola creates the Leo O. and Irene Timmerman Feedyard Management Specialization Program Fund as a permanent endowment at the University of Nebraska Foundation. The gift amount was not disclosed but represents the single largest private donation ever received for this specialized ag program, which is offered by the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and its Department of Animal Science.
“We are pleased to be making this gift in honor of my parents, Leo and Irene, as an opportunity to forever recognize their agriculture legacy and contributions while also giving back to a state that has meant so much to our entire family,” said Norman Timmerman.
Annual income from the endowment will support the feedlot management program, provide scholarship awards to interns and help recruit students to the program from Nebraska and surrounding states. Funds will also be used to provide a stipend award in support of a doctoral student who will coordinate and help expand the internship program.
Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska vice president and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Harlan Vice Chancellor, said the university is grateful to the Norman Timmerman family for their generosity in supporting this program and its students.
“Nebraska must continue to have well-trained and competent individuals to help lead the beef industry,” Green said. “This is especially important in the cattle feeding sector of the industry, as the management of these high-tech businesses becomes more complex and demanding and requires more specialized training than ever before.”
According to Green, support for the feedlot management program is especially important, because the beef industry is the single largest agriculture industry in Nebraska and produces more beef per square mile than any other state. Nebraska also ranks first nationally in commercial beef production. With about 5 million cattle fed annually, the state’s feedyards are the largest generator of income for the cattle industry.
Galen Erickson, Nebraska Cattle Industry Professor of Animal Science and Beef Feedlot Extension Specialist at UNL, also said the university is grateful and excited about this new support.
“The program has gained great respect, given the leadership of Professor Emeritus Terry Klopfenstein and annual gift support to keep it operating over the past 25 years,” Erickson said. “The generosity of the Norman Timmerman family will allow us to enhance what we have done, recruit more young people and serve greater numbers of students and feedyards in Nebraska and regionally.”
The UNL Feedyard Management Internship is a nationally renowned training program, exclusive to UNL, which has been producing feedyard management and industry leaders since 1989. The internship trains students through comprehensive management classes and with real world experiences in high-caliber feedyards. The program provides education and training in nutrition, animal health, economics, personnel management and more.
The Norman Timmerman family’s gift also supports the University of Nebraska’s current fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, which ends Dec. 31, and its priority to increase support for students and agriculture programs.
About the life of Leo and Irene Timmerman, the beef publication Drovers CattleNetwork says, “Imagine the classic story of American entrepreneurship.”
Leo Timmerman became an entrepreneur at 14 when he purchased a few cattle, cared for them by hand and sold them at the Omaha stockyards. He and Irene were married in 1936, and her uncle, a banker, offered them a loan to purchase six cows. They made a profit on those and purchased 25 more.
Their simple yet challenging start led to operating three feedyards in Nebraska, six in Colorado and one in Kansas, with ranch operations in Nebraska, Colorado, Oregon and Texas, as well as cow-calf leases in Texas and Nebraska and stocker leases in California, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
Leo and Irene were also known for their generosity to their church, community and charitable causes. Irene Timmerman died in 1992, and Leo Timmerman died in 1997. For his contributions to the cattle feeding industry, Leo Timmerman was inducted posthumously into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame in 2013.
The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 78 years. In the 2014 fiscal year, donors provided the university with $258.1 million for scholarships, academic programs, medical and other research, faculty support and facilities. The foundation’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Nebraska, has raised more than $1.8 billion. For more information, go to http://campaignfornebraska.org.