Herd expansion: Brianna Erdmann chosen for South Dakota Angus Association heifer grant and educational scholarship

“This scholarship means so much to me because it will allow me to reduce my student loan debts while also expanding my cow herd,” says Brianna Erdmann, a youth member of the South Dakota Angus Association who recently received a $1,000 grant to be used to grow her herd.

Brianna Erdmann is only a semester into her first year of college, but the ambitious teen already has her eyes set on graduation and what the future holds.

Erdmann, daughter of Daniel and Anne Jo, is pursuing a degree in business economics with a minor in teaching at South Dakota State University (SDSU), and she has her eyes set on a career in agriculture, particularly one that will get her close to home and her parents’ ranch.

Erdmann Angus Ranch is located near Leola, S.D. Growing up on her family’s seedstock operation is where Brianna learned to work cattle, fix fence and calve out cows. It’s also where she fell in love with showing cattle, a tradition she enjoyed with her cousins and her older twin brothers, Royce and Reid.

“I dream of getting back home to our family farm,” said Erdmann. “I would like to teach, but I’ve also looked at agricultural business opportunities close to home. I would love to stay local and be involved in our beef cattle business.”

“Winning this grant, I have the opportunity to purchase a heifer calf from one of the upcoming state shows. I would like to add Silveiras Style and Dameron First Class genetics to my herd.” Brianna Erdmann, SDSU freshman

With 15 cows of her own, Erdmann hopes to eventually expand her cow herd to about 50 head, and she was recently given a leg up in that goal when she received a $1,000 scholarship from the South Dakota Angus Association (SDAA). The ambitious young breeder was also awarded a $1,000 grant to be used to purchase a heifer.

“Winning this grant, I have the opportunity to purchase a heifer calf from one of the upcoming state shows. I would like to add Silveiras Style and Dameron First Class genetics to my herd, she said.” Erdmann said her cows to back to TC Total, Stimulus and Really Windy. She figures her cattle will likely be a second income, which is why she figures 50 head is an appropriate number.

During the SDAA’s annual meeting and sale several junior association members received $1,000 scholarships and grants, sponsorshed by Martin-Trudeau Insurance and Nationwide,

“Ray Trudeau, owner of Martin-Trudeau Insurance and a member of the South Dakota Association, has been an Angus breeder for many years,” said Amy Puepke, who works as an agent for Martin-Trudeau Insurance and grew up on a purebred Angus operation herself. “We wanted to give back to our cattle community somehow, and we thought, what better way than to support our local South Dakota Angus Association with this program!”

Two years ago, the company established a dividend program with Nationwide Insurance and SDAA with funds earmarked to youth members of the association. Applicants were required to provide a resume of accomplishments and an essay about their involvement in the breed. SDAA board members sorted through the applications and selected the winners.

Scholarship winners included Nathan Linke, Alexa Montagne and Erdmann. Angus Heifer Grants were also awarded to Chase Varilek and Erdmann.

“It was such an honor to be a recipient of this grant, and the other winners were certainly deserving, as well,” said Erdmann. “Growing up showing against some of them, I know how hard they work and how passionate they also are about the Angus breed. This scholarship means so much to me because it will allow me to reduce my student loan debts while also expanding my cow herd.”

Erdmann has been showing Angus cattle since she was eight-years old. She remembers showing for the first time and winning the junior-junior showmanship.

“Winning that when I was so young was what got me hooked on showing Angus cattle,” said Erdmann, who is the fourth generation of her family to be involved in agriculture. “More than that, raising Angus is truly a passion because the breed has such an amazing support system, and the Certified Angus Beef brand offers so many opportunities for people raising Angus cattle. I’ll always raise Angus cattle, and in the future, I would love to expand our seedstock operation’s brand and maybe even start our own bull sale.”

Erdmann is an active member of the South Dakota Junior Angus Association and has earned both Bronze and Silver Angus Breeder Awards. She’s a former junior vice president for the association and was the recipient of two $1,000 scholarships at national junior Angus shows.

She recently graduated from the 4-H program and was active in high school in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). She says FBLA has prepared her for a future career in agriculture.

“FBLA taught me to manage money, make a business plan, speak in public and be confident in running a business,” said Erdmann. “I feel these skills could prove useful whether I’m raising cattle or working in any other agricultural career.”

She says being recognized by the association means the world to her because they see potential in what she may accomplish in the future.

“Looking back on my years involve din this association, it warms my heart to know these breeders who selected me see potential in me and want to invest in me and my future,” she said. “It’s truly a great honor that I don’t take for granted.”

“Brianna Erdmann, among the other qualified applicants, was selected as one of the scholarship recipients,” added Puepke. “I know Brianna from our days showing cattle together. She is a very driven person, and I know that she will put the scholarship to good use. Martin-Trudeau Insurance and I wish Brianna, and all other applicants the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

Puepke was in attendance at the SDAA meeting to present an $8,000 check to be applied to future youth scholarships.