Don W. Ludvigson

Ludvigson, Don W.
Age 88

Long-time cattle feeder and farmer, Don W. Ludvigson, of Holstein, IA passed away on November 19, 2012 at the Cherokee Regional Medical Center. Don was born August 28, 1924 the son of Ed and Ruby (Madsen) Ludvigson. He was baptized November 16, 1924 and was a life-long member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Holstein. He attended country school. He married Dorothy Groth of Cushing, IA on September 10, 1942. Together they worked diligently to build Ludvigson Land and Cattle Co., and in the late 1940's and early 1950's also operated Ludvigson Transfer Co. In 1950, Don bought his first farm. Although cattle were always Don's livestock of choice, at one time he fed a large number of hogs and sheep. In the 1950's and 1960's Don's cattle business grew. In the fall of the years from 1958-1963, Don had railroad cars of cattle coming into Sioux City on weekends and some railroad cars came to Holstein. Don kept most of the cattle, but had begun buying cattle for other feeders. As his cattle buying business grew, Don employed commission men in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Iowa, Wyoming, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, California and the Dakotas. Even in his 80's, Don continued to buy cattle for himself and customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Although largely confined to his home the last few years, he continued to buy cattle through the video auctions. In 1973, Don with the help of his wife Dorothy, and son, Ron, made Iowa history by purchasing 3000 head of cattle in California. According to the Sioux City Journal, The Omaha World Herald, and Union Pacific Railroad officials, the purchase was believed to be one of the largest livestock transactions in Iowa history. The cattle were shipped by rail to Valley, Nebraska, and trucked to the Ludvigson feedlot two miles west of Holstein. In 1974, Don applied for an application to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and was elected as a member in October of that year. He was reported to be one of the first farmers in Iowa to gain full membership privileges with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Also in the 1970's, Don and his son, Ron, began exporting cattle to Japan. Don oversaw the procuring of cattle for export in the United States and Ron oversaw the international transactions. In 1989, Cattle Exporters Inc. became the nation's largest exporter of live cattle to Japan. In addition to Japan, they exported to the United Kingdom, Eurodisney in Paris, Greece, Korea and Italy. In the 1990's Don leased a feedlot in Elgin, Nebraska with a capacity of 10,000 head and custom fed for others. Don was one of the first members of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. Don was always interested in nature and the preservation of the land. One of his greatest pleasures was the planting and growth of trees. He was given a conservation award from the state of Iowa. Don carved out his own niche in farming and the cattle business. An avid reader, he was famous for trying new ideas and technology that came along which have been incorporated into today's cattle feeding operations. He embraced change and progress. Don's family was his greatest love and pride and joy. He was preceded in death by wife, Dorothy; and son, Ron. He is survived by daughter, Ronda Young, Lincoln, NE; grandchildren, Landon (Christie) Ludvigson, Playa Del Rey, CA, Hudson (Courtney) Ludvigson, North Liberty, IA, Morgan Ludvigson, St. Paul, MN, Leah (Cory) Dukarski, Omaha, NE, Cami Moran, Lincoln, NE; four great-grandchildren; and sister, La Vinna Wiese, Cushing, IA.
SERVICES 10:30am, Friday, November 23, 2012 at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Holstein, IA. Burial will be at the Holstein Cemetery. VISITATION Thursday, November 22, 2012 from 6-8pm at the Nicklas D. Jensen Funeral Home of Holstein. Memorials can be directed to Lutheran Social Services of Iowa. On-line condolences can be made at
Holstein, IA (712) 368-4332

Published in Omaha World-Herald from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22, 2012