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Grandpa Iver was a blacksmith & homesteader

Iver Heier
Lura Roti
Iver Heier

Iver Heier is a third-generation Harding County rancher. Although there were times when his wife Bev’s nursing career was all that kept things afloat financially, ranching is a career he loves.

Heier shares his passion for ranching and the history of his namesake - Grandpa Iver - who started the family ranching legacy more than a century ago.

Well, it was my grandfather’s name. He was an immigrant from Norway.

It was a unique name. I went to high school in Hettinger, North Dakota, and they had announcement speakers, and if you got in trouble, they would say, 'so and so come to the office.' And if they said, 'Bob come to the office,' they had to use the last name. But if they said, 'Iver come to the office,' everyone knew who it was.

He actually worked up in North Dakota, they called it the Day of the Bonanza when the big farms were up there. They were huge, huge farms, they had hundreds of employees, and lots of teams of horses to farm with.

He was a blacksmith on a big farm and he came here by Ludlow and opened a blacksmith shop and he homesteaded too. That’s how we got started in the agricultural business.

I’m a rancher.

I love it. I always have. I don’t know what it is – I can walk outside and whatever direction I look there is nothing there but prairie and trees and cows. I don’t know, I just like it all. I like working with cattle and I like working with machinery. I always have.

I am pretty blessed, my daughter and her husband are partners with us now. And their children are just about high school age or older. And they do most of the work now, so I just get to sit and watch the kids do what I’m supposed to be doing.

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Lura Roti grew up on a ranch in western South Dakota but today she calls Sioux Falls home. She has worked as a freelance journalist for more than two decades. Lura loves working with the SDPB team to share the stories of South Dakota’s citizens and communities. And she loves sharing her knowledge with the next generation. Lura teaches a writing course for the University of Sioux Falls.