The Historic Angus Herd Award is presented to Angus breeders or immediate families who have been in continuous production of registered Angus cattle for 50 years or more. To honor their dedication to the breed, the American Angus Association® is proud to recognize Borkowski Angus Farm, Elliott, Iowa, as a Historic Angus Herd.
Like many in the cattle business, Borkowski Angus Farm is a family operation. The late Merle Borkowski instilled a love for Angus cattle in his wife, Virginia, and sons, David and Douglas. Together, the family started the herd in 1963, when they moved to Doolittle Farm near Griswold, Iowa, and bought into the registered Angus herd there. The first heifer registered to Borkowski and Doolittle was “Gina Rowleys Blackcap.”
Before getting his start raising Angus cattle, Merle worked in a number of different capacities. He served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict, and after returning home, he studied telegraphy at the Omaha School for Business. Over the years, Merle worked for Standard Oil, the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad and a short time at the Union Pacific Railroad. In June 1957, Merle and Virginia married, and three years later they started farming near Elliott, Iowa.
In 1965, the Borkowski’s moved away from the Doolittle Farm and settled near Elliott, Iowa, where they officially founded the Borkowski Angus Farm. Throughout the years, the herd continued to grow with purchases from Ankony Farms, Highmore, S.D., and Houghton Angus, Maryville, Mo. In the early 1970s, Merle began to take advantage artificial insemination (AI) and Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR®).
His sons, David and Douglas, also showed through 4-H and FFA at the Pottwattamie County Fair in Avoca, Iowa; Iowa State Fair; Ak-sar-ben Stock Show in Nebraska; and many other shows across the country, including several trips to the National Junior Angus Heifer Show. Highlights from the showring included when David raised the Grand Champion FFA Heifer at the 1979 Iowa State Fair, and Douglas showed both the reserve grand champion FFA heifer and bull at the 1981 Iowa State Fair.
Today, Douglas continues to manage the Borkowski Angus Farm, which is home to about 30 cows. He remains focused on his father’s legacy to use AI bulls and AHIR performance records to improve genetics for the overall cowherd. Current genetics are sourced from Sydenstricker Genetics, Mexico, Mo.
Visit www.ANGUS.org for more information on the Historic Angus Herd Award and to view a list of awarded members since the program began in 1988.