"I strongly encourage veterans to pursue their passions"

- Joel, Heinzeroth Cattle Company

I established Heinzeroth Cattle Company in 2004, after returning from my second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I have grown my herd from the six head of cattle I started with in 2004 to the 80 cattle my family and I now run on 550 acres near Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

I will retire from the Army in 2017, marking the end of a 20-year military career so I can work on this ranch full-time. I grew up as the last of six kids on my parent's 2,000 acre farm in Iowa, and I have more than 25 years of farming/ranching experience. What I like to say is that “now, as I step into a new pair of boots, the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) and Kiva has already helped me settle in!"

I was one of the 84 veterans that received funding through FVC’s Fellowship program in 2015. With my Fellowship, I purchased a Priefert squeeze chute and couldn’t be happier. FVC then put me in contact with the team at Kiva, and they helped me to secure a 0% interest free loan to purchase a $5000 overhead feed bin that our ranch uses to store feed for our cattle.

That loan that Kiva helped me get changed the way our family purchases feed for our cattle operation, making this costly input less expensive and easier to purchase and store.

Executing the ambitious plans that I have laid out for our Family Ranching operation will be a challenge, both physically and financially, but we are fine with that because, “I’d rather invest in my ranch than in the stock market.”

In addition to expanding the cattle operation, one of my greatest ambitions is to pass this ranch on to my daughter, Emma Carol, AND my future child that will be born in the Spring of 2017, debt-free.

Emma Carol, at seven years old, helps on the ranch every way she can. I bought 3 Herefords in Emma’s honor before she was even born, and Emma Carol’s herd is now up to 12 heads. I strongly encourage other Veterans who are considering their post-military career to pursue their passion and always remember...

"If you find something you love to do, you will never have to work another day for the rest of your life".

Hear more from Joel on the Farmer Veteran Coalition and on his Linkedin.


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About the author

Kathinka K. Nakstad

Kathinka moved to San Francisco to pursue her BBA degree, with a major in marketing. Being form Norway, she time to time misses the different seasons (especially winters with snow). One of her hobbies consists of finding a part of a city and explore it for a whole day. Checking out cool boutiques, and the best places to eat. Two of her favorite places to visit are Budapest and Vienna. No wonder her dream job would be to travel the world and write about the places she visits.