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After marrying Irene Meister, Leo Timmerman started farming with three milk cows and two dozen chickens. Leo and Irene lived off the money from the eggs and cream, but Leo found this farming practice lonely and slow-paced. During this time he bought two or three head of cattle, which began a successful career in the cattle-feeding business. A banker loaned him money to purchase six head of cattle then Leo made enough to buy another 25. In 1945, he quit raising milk cows and chickens and purchased a feedyard in Omaha that served as the foundation for his business.

During the rapid expansion of the 1950s, Leo bought his own grain and cattle trucks then eventually combined with two other feedyard operators to sell their cattle directly to meat packers. A new era emerged, marking the first step in the decentralization of cattle marketing and meat packing.

In 1960, as a well-established figure in the cattle industry, Leo sold his current location to a developer and replaced it with a feedyard in Springfield, Neb. Because of his knowledge and experience, Leo pastured cattle for the feedyards in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. 1970 brought further expansion and Leo’s operation surpassed 20,000-head capacity. A year later, he sold the business to his four sons but didn’t completely retire from the family business. He continued to trade commodities and feed cattle in Nebraska, Colorado and Arizona while splitting his time between Omaha and Scottsdale. Cattle feeding was an important part of his life until his death in 1997.

Leo left behind a legacy of family, faith and innovative ideas that revolutionized the cattle industry. He made deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on a handshake and never backed down on a promise, even when it cost him.

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