Cindy Greiman grew up on an Iowa farm.  She’s spent her life around cattle, horses and grain, so it was only natural that she attended Iowa State University and majored in agricultural business.  One might say she was born to the good life.

And it was only natural, too, that she would meet her husband at Iowa State.  Ed Greiman had the same ‘farm kid’ background and a shared interest in agriculture. After graduation, they built a considerable spread from the ground up.  Showing the sharp business acumen they learned at Iowa State, it was designed “so it would cash flow," said Ed in an interview a few years ago.

Today, they own a 2,000-head feedlot and a cow-calf operation in Garner, Iowa.  The Greiner farm claims 1,000 cows and 5,000 head of cattle and they also have 1,000 acres in corn, hay and pasture.

“We treat it like a business,” Cindy said, “and we’re proud of what we’ve been able to build.” 

Today it contains owned acreage as well as some leased property.  “Ed and I work it along with my brother-in-law, Matt, and his family.  He has three children that help out.” 

There are two parts of the business. Matt is in charge of their Angus crossbred cows at his farm near Goodell, Iowa.  Ed is in charge of the feedlot operation, which is based at his farm, near Garner.  The two places are just 15 minutes apart.

The farm is just one thing that keeps Cindy busy.  When I asked her about what she did in her spare time, she just laughed and asked, “What is spare time?” 

She’s spent 20 years as a district sales manager for Monsanto Company, a full-time job that fits in well with her full-time farm job.  Added on to those two commitments is her activeness with Farm Bureau, American Paint Horse Association, Iowa Paint Horse Club, and the Hancock County 4-H Council, and she serves as an environmental protection commissioner.  Her scant leisure time is spent riding and showing Paint horses both locally and nationally.

She was nominated to the Cattlemen's Beef Board a few months ago by the Iowa Cattlemen's Association.  “We’ve been involved with ICA for a long time,” she said, “and my husband served as President in 2011.”

Although she has attended quite a few NCBA meetings, this summer in Denver was her first as a CBB member. “I’ve been assigned to the Value Committee,” she said.  “We’ll be working on what we need to do as an industry to help the consumer buy more beef by making sure the price is right and we meet their expectations on taste and convenience.” 

Talking about that first week ‘on the job’ in Denver, she said, “I met some great CBB members who really understand this business.  I’m looking forward to working with them.”

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Chuck Jolley, a veteran food-industry journalist and commentator.