About Sjerp Ysselstein
Sjerp Ysselstein, also known as Shep, lives in Rock Valley, Iowa where he is the dedicated founder of the Green Meadows Foods dairy plant, later sold to Agropur. A rich heritage along with life-long experience in the dairy industry enables Ysselstein to create top-of-the-line milk and dairy products while innovating solutions for local dairy farmers.
Sjerp’s parents are native to Friesland, a province of the Netherlands where cattle rearing and dairy farming are prevalent professions. The couple immigrated to Canada and started their own small dairy farm. Sjerp grew up working for his parents, learning the trade at an early age. He diligently saved his earnings with the goal that one day he would own his own dairy farm. Since the early 2000’s, the business and presence of Shep’s dairy farms has grown exponentially. Sjerp Ysselstein now is not only a founder of Green Meadows Foods dairy plant, but also has a strong presence in both the midwest and southwest as well. His enterprise has both dairy and heifer ranches in Southern California, New Mexico, and Arizona where they raise cattle and provide supporting feed services.
At their Southern California branch, Cameiro Heifer Ranch, Sjerp co-owns the property with his son, Darren, and daughter-in-law Caitlyn. Sjerp’s extended family is also behind renown Canada cheese, Gunn’s Hill Cheese out of Oxford County, Ontario.
Sjerp Ysselstein attended Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, where he met his wife. After college, the couple rented a small farm, eventually purchasing some acreage in 1990. Seeing the potential of dairy in the midwest, Shep and his wife maximized their property’s potential, working hard to build their business. Quickly, their facilities expanded, and within two short years housed 400 lactating milk cows — the largest dairy farm in Iowa at the time. As their dairy continued to grow, they soon realized the need for additional processing. At that time they were transporting their milk 160 miles for processing, and ss their dairy continued to grow, they soon realized the need for additional local processing. They began Green Meadows Foods dairy plant to meet this need for their own farm and others in the area.
Although Sjerp Ysselstein’s Green Meadows Foods has grown into a sizeable processing plant, it still makes an impact for local farmers on a more intimate level. Within 3 years, the business became a state of the art dairy processing plant which processes over 3 million pounds of raw milk per day, seven days per week. Green Meadows is the processing home to over 50 thousand milk cows, which has a proven impact of $450 – $500 million each year on the surrounding economy. Other studies which include the multiplier effect have put the impact well in excess of $1 billion annually.
The plant provides a much-needed service to other local farms as well. Now, 75% of supply is afforded to other local dairies, creating an influx of new dairies moving into the area and spurring the local economy. The facility features cutting-edge cheese and whey technologies, particularly whey permeate, and is one of only 6 plants in the nation to house this technology.
After successfully founding and building Green Meadows Processing Plant, Sjerp Ysselstein sold the plant to Agropur, a Candian-based mega-dairy processing cooperative. He currently focuses on their presences in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Iowa, as well as the cattle import and export business. Sjerp continues to be a leader in the American dairy industry, a success which he owes to the support of the community, as well as his ultimate source of support: the creator of everything, which is God.