South Dakota farm recognized as a Historic Angus Herd


February 27, 2024




For More Information Contact:

Holly Martin, director of communications



To download a photo, click here.

Cutline:  Cotton Angus, Volga, S.D., received the American Angus Association’s Historic Herd Award for their continuous production of Angus cattle for over 50 years. Picture from left are Erika, John, Rachel and Tom Cotton.



South Dakota farm recognized as a Historic Angus Herd

Cotton Angus has been home to Angus cattle for more than 50 years.


Sheldon Cotton established Cotton Angus in Volga, South Dakota in 1965 with the purchase of a group of cows from Adee Hone Farms.  

With the guidance of Bud Severson, Cotton chose the Angus breed for its maternal excellence, carcass quality and profit potential. He later purchased several cows from Severson in 1968.

Cotton looked for moderate sized maternal cattle with good Angus character and growth bulls. He then started an AI program in 1970, using the semen from bull Emulation 31 on his heifers. Emulation 31 sons are still used as heifer bulls today.

In 1982, Cotton phased out of the cattle business and his son, John Cotton, took over managing the herd.

“I attended my first Wye Angus Sale at the age of 12 and was mentored by many of the buyers. This mentoring continued at all the Wye Angus Sales I attended over the years and still does today,” John said.” “The Wye Angus herd managers, customers, and unchanging Wye herd taught me patience and Angus tradition verses hype.”

John purchased functional low input cows from Larry Leonhardt’s Shoshone Angus herd and continued to use bulls without accelerated growth, height, appetite or birth weight. He brought in a few cows from N Bar Land & Cattle Co. and began to AI them to Shoshone Viking and Emulation EXT as well as the Wye Angus bulls, Leonid, Contact, Alap and Manning.”

John’s cow herd was built from line-breeding the progeny of those matings for the next 40 years.

Today, John, along with his children Tom and Erika Cotton, manage the herd of 185 cows, where they focus on maintaining the original genetics in their herd, knowing the success they have brought over the years.

The American Angus Association’s Historic Angus Herd Award recognizes Angus breeders and immediate families who have been in continuous production of registered-Angus cattle for 50 years or more. Visit for more information or to view a list of awarded members since the program began in 1988.


Written by Amber Wahlgren, Angus Communications


ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association® is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving more than 22,000 members across the United States, Canada and several other countries. It’s home to an extensive breed registry that grows by more than 300,000 animals each year. The Association also provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.


For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association, visit



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