Nesseth inducted into Minnesota Livestock Breeders Hall of Fame
LAKEFIELD — Longtime 4-H and FFA volunteer livestock judging coach Jim Nesseth was inducted into the Minnesota Livestock Breeders Hall of Fame Thursday in the North Star Ballroom on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.
The induction ceremony was part of the Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association annual meeting.
Nesseth, of Lakefield, was one of five inductees into the Hall of Fame, which was established in 1934. He’s the first Jackson County resident to be inducted, and the ninth from the six counties of southwest Minnesota.
“I really felt honored to be included,” Nesseth said on Friday. Fellow honorees for 2014 include Dean, Jim and Chris Compart of Nicollet, Jerry Wulf of Hancock, Mel Fahning of Rochester and Matt and Pam Hendel of Caledonia.
Hall of Fame inductees are nominated from among their peers and those associated with the livestock industry in Minnesota.
“There was a number of people from the county and around the state that had (written) a support letter,” Nesseth said, adding that he learned of his nomination six weeks ago. “I’m just truly honored and humbled by it — when you have your peers recognizing you for the work you’ve done.”
Nesseth admits his volunteerism has “never really been work.”
“I like working with young people,” he said. “It’s been a good ride and a good deal.”
Hall of Fame honorees often include those from the academic community or have extensive involvement in livestock breeding. Nesseth’s induction was based on service — the volunteer work he’s done with 4-H and FFA livestock judging teams.
A native of Jackson County, Nesseth served on the 4-H general livestock judging team in the late 1960s under Ron Harder’s tutelage. The team won state and advanced to national competition.
After high school, Nesseth attended the University of Minnesota, earning his bachelor’s degree in animal science and masters in ag education and crop production. He served on the livestock judging team while in college.
“I’ve kind of continued on in helping coach the Jackson County 4-H and FFA teams for the past 24 years,” Nesseth said.
In those 24 years of volunteer coaching, Nesseth has led 4-H livestock judging teams to state contests nearly a dozen times, and assisted FFA advisors in coaching FFA livestock judging teams to both state and national contests.
“It’s been a team effort,” he said, offering a nod to Harder, Jim Resch and Sheldon Johnson, all of whom joined him in co-coaching teams over the years.
Now, as he gets older, Nesseth admitted to looking for someone new to step up in time and keep the tradition of judging team success continuing.
“I just really strongly believe that you develop some great, lifelong skills,” he said. “I just get a lot of satisfaction from young people … developing those skillsets.”
Some of the students Nesseth has worked with over the years on judging teams are now working for him at Extended Ag Service in Lakefield. Nesseth established the business a decade ago and has grown it to more than 400 clients today, including roughly 200 customers who utilize the business’ crop and soil sampling service.
Prior to opening Extended Ag, Nesseth served as a U of M agriculture Extension agent for 14 years. He continues to serve on the Jackson County Fair Board, serves on the State 4-H swine show and livestock auction committees and is a livestock judge at numerous county and state livestock shows.
With his induction into the Hall of Fame, Nesseth received a plaque; and his portrait will join those of previous honorees in Haecker Hall on the U of M St. Paul campus.
Daily Globe Reporter
Julie Buntjer may be reached