Jeff Sternberger, General Manager of Midwest Feeders, Inc. based near Ingalls, Kan., always had plans to maintain an active role in production agriculture. Sternberger grew up on a wheat and cow-calf operation in South Central Kansas near Hardtner and upon graduation from high school, decided to further his education at Oklahoma State University where he majored in agricultural economics. After receiving his bachelors degree, he went to work in the Farm Credit System providing production loans to farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma.
When the opportunity arose to run cattle on wheat pasture on a part-time basis in Northwest Oklahoma, Sternberger did not hesitate.
“Even when I went to work in the lending business, still my heart was always in production agriculture,” Sternberger says.
The part-time investment eventually turned to full-time to where he was running a preconditioning feed yard for farmers, ranchers and other feed yards.
Sternberger made his return to Kansas in 1992 when he purchased an empty feed yard near Ingalls. Since then Midwest Feeders has grown from feeding 4,000 to 52,000 head, predominantly for customers. Midwest Feeders also has ownership interests in CRI Feeders at Guymon, Okla., Brookover Cattle Company of Scott City; and Waurika Farms, with ranching operations in Oklahoma and South Dakota. Apart from Midwest Feeders, he and his wife Colleen, own a wheat and stocker cattle operation in Oklahoma and a stocker business in Mississippi.
His role as general manager is a busy one as his primary responsibility is to directly manage the core business of 52,000 head at Midwest Feeders which includes marketing the cattle, consulting with customers, buying the commodities fed at the feed yard and overseeing personnel. Sternberger is also very appreciative of the work of his teammates.
“We have a great group of managers that allow me to be away from the yard time to time to oversee other operations,” Sternberger says.
To add to his responsibilities at Midwest Feeders, Sternberger was elected as president of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) at the annual convention held in December.
“My role is to represent members of KLA and help carry on policies those members have voted for,” Sternberger says.
As president, Sternberger will speak to various groups throughout the year and serve as a face of KLA members at the state and possibly even the national level.