Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 17, 2014 at 9:52 PM by Global Reach

Boyd Nilan was instrumental in the development of 4-H in East Pottawattamie County.  In 1950, with motivation from his wife, Norma, he helped to start the Westside Feeders 4-H Club and continued as a leader for fifteen years.  His passion with 4-H youth, as well as in his family life was cattle.  Boyd helped to provide beef projects to club youth, and helped them learn to feed, break, and wash the calves. He also helped implement a junior cattle feeder project.  Boyd was a member of the county Beef Committee and enjoyed helping with the beef show at the county fair for over thirty years. He and his wife, sponsored many beef awards to county 4-H youth. 

In addition to supporting the 4-H Beef Project, Boyd was also an advocate of the Communications Project and the life skill of Parliamentary Procedure, practiced at 4-H club meetings. 

Boyd grew up west of Oakland, Iowa, on the family’s century farm.  As a youth, he helped neighbors drive their cattle to Oakland and Carson to the railroad yards for shipping.  He graduated from high school in 1931, and married his wife, Norma, in 1935.  He started feeding his own livestock in the 1930’s with lambs, but by 1940, bought his first load of cattle.  He fed his livestock with a team of horses until 1954. During his cattle feeding career, he averaged 600 head, and at one time was feeding 5000 in his operation.  His family says, “He had a good eye for cattle.”  Boyd fed cattle, in partnership with his son, Gary, until his death in 1985.

Boyd is a charter member of the Pottawattamie County Cattle Feeders and received the Outstanding Beef Production Award from the Pottawattamie County Cattlemen’s Association in 1984.  He helped start Agri-Land FS and his local Farm Service Cooperative.  Boyd was a member of the Farm Bureau board. 

Boyd’s life extended far beyond agriculture.  His voice could be heard all over southwest Iowa as a square dance caller.  He was a lifetime member of the Knights of Pythius, and was on the Belknap Cemetery Board. 

Boyd Nilan left a long standing legacy to his family, community, and East Pottawattamie 4-H.  

Categories: Pottawattamie (East)

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