Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 23, 2020 at 12:00 PM by Global Reach

Joe Simon and Virginia, his wife of 70 years, raised 10 children on their farm near Farley. The older kids showed both pigs and dairy when they first joined 4-H in the early 60’s before finally settling on dairy. Joe didn’t become a leader right away, but he was an active parent from the start. Some years there were six children in 4H at one time and there was never a lack of hoof trimming, clipping, or making multiple trips with the farm ton-truck to and from the Dubuque County fairgrounds. Joe Simon

The family’s lack of success early on in the show ring was a motivating factor and went hand-in-hand with Joe’s decision to home breed registered Holsteins. By the 1980’s, the family won their first county fair 4-H grand championship and champion at the state Holstein show. By the end of the decade, their cow was named an Iowa State Fair 4-H Grand Champion and an All-American. 

For the past sixty-years he has witnessed his children as well as more than 30 grandchildren and great-grandchildren exhibit at the Dubuque County 4-H show. Many of those continued on to exhibit with success at the Iowa State Fair 4-H show. Joe still resides on the farm he was born on 92 years ago. He continues to this day his pre-fair ritual of handing out advice to all those practicing leading their dairy projects up and down the family farm yard.

During the 15 years Joe served as a 4-H leader, he was known for his quiet leadership, compassion and mentorship-- particularly when it came to new members just starting out showing livestock. Joe’s success in the Holstein industry took him to greater heights as president of the Iowa Holstein Association and co-chairman of the National Holstein Convention when it was hosted by Iowa. Joe continued to be a strong backer of youth in agriculture and 4-H, giving of his time, talent and financial support toward our next generation of farmers and leaders.

Joe’s greatest accomplishments include his emphasis on the importance of family and the examples he set in serving his community. He is a past chairman of the county extension board, service as an usher at his church and for most of his adult life, was the parish cemetery caretaker.  Many of his children went on to become 4-H leaders and community volunteers in following their dad’s footsteps in pledging their heads, hearts, hands and health to a better world.

Categories: Dubuque, 2020

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