Bill Johnson (1933 – 2008) - Biography


Bill Johnson (IDM Free Choice Minerals)

June 13, 1933 – October 19, 2008


Bill (William Duane) was born in Osage, Iowa, on June l3, l933. Bill attended country schools in Mitchell county and graduated from Orchard High School in l95l.

Bill joined the Air Force in February of l952 and took his basic training at Lackland Field in San Antonio, Texas. He served in combat duty in Korea from January l953 to January l954 and spent the next eight years on several different Air Force Bases. Bill was discharged from the Air Force in Feb. l962.

Bill and Ruth were married on June l4, l952 in Osage, Iowa. They subsequently had 2 children, a daughter, Randi jo, who died in 2005, a son, Richard (wife, Teresa) who lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa. They have 3 grandsons, and 5 great grandchildren. 

After leaving the Air Force they lived in Osage where Bill sold Morman feeds and also worked in a shop repairing televisions and doing electrical work. In l966 they moved to Sumner, Iowa where they owned and operated a television and appliance store.

Beginning in 1972, Bill was employed by TCI in Audubon, Iowa. TCI mineral company, started by Tully Talbot, was a pioneer in the free-choice mineral concept. They moved to Austin, MN in 1976 where Bill worked for McFleeg. Bill and Ruth moved back to Sumner in l979, where they again owned a television business, with Bill doing the TV repair.

The 80's were not turning out to be the best years for business, so they sold out, and Bill went to California and worked for Judd Zentmier, eventually taking over the mineral business from him. Bill was very successful in introducing the self regulated mineral concept to mega-dairies in California. These dairies were fed truck-farm processing waste; for instance, tomato rinds would be fed in the morning and carrot tops in the afternoon. With the free choice system, he was able to maintain a rolling herd average of 70 to 100 lbs of milk.

Bill and Ruth moved back to Iowa in 1987. When Tully Talbot passed away, the company was dissolved. A few years later, Bill, the former general manager of the old TCI company, resurrected the concept of individual free choice minerals and continued to develop and refine the technology under the logo of IDM.

In 1988 Helfter Enterprises, Inc, dba Advanced Biological Concepts®, started manufacturing the product line for IDM. Eventually Bill Johnson retired, and Advanced Biological Concepts® purchased IDM.

No one knows where Bill got his knowledge about dealing with cattle, but he seemed to just "know" what cows were feeling and needed. Bill's dad was in the cattle business for many years when Bill was growing up, so maybe some of his "feelings" were inherited from his Dad.

Bill died in Riceville, Iowa on October l9, 2008, after an extended illness. His pioneering knowledge about livestock mineral nutrition is greatly respected and sadly missed.