Thursday, February 25, 2016

Youth Beef Team - Making a Difference

We are so impressed by the youth we encounter in the beef industry. From 7th graders who are entrusted with an investment of bred heifers worth several thousand dollars to middle school and high school students who spend their free time advocating for the beef industry, our youth show a dedication and commitment unlike any other.

Lauren Mosher, from Marshall County, is one of those impressive youths. As a Youth Beef Team member, Lauren participated in a television interview on Discover Marshalltown. And for the entire 23 minutes, she did a great job answering the questions asked.

Other Youth Beef Team members have also been busy across our state. Youth Beef Team (YBT) is a program of the Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation, open to junior high and high school age kids who are interested and excited to promote the beef industry.

The YBT training equips young cattlemen and women with the information and skills they need to not only speak out positively for the beef industry, but also to point out the advantages beef offers to our health, our environment and our economy.  After their training, members are encouraged to go out and promote beef through presentations, farm and school tours and editorials throughout their community and surrounding communities.  These activities can be done as individuals or groups.

YBT members earn points for their activities based on the type of activity and the people reached.  At the end of the year, members are awarded prizes for the various levels of point attained and are recognized at a breakfast at the Iowa State Fair.   YBT seniors are also eligible for scholarships in the spring.

 The Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation currently has 85 trained members and are looking to train more.

The “award year” began August 1st and since that time 32 kids have completed 132 activities! The “award year” will end July 30th and our awards breakfast will take place on Saturday, August 13th and 9:30 am in the Penningroth Sale Arena on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  In order to receive an award, youth must complete at least five activities throughout the year.

Current Top 10 Point Standings:

Name: Points earned: Number of activities:
Chase Hurd 49 11
Will Hurd 38 7
Frances Jackson 46 7
Reiley Martinez 60 9
Lauren Mosher 172 25
Leah Mosher 68 9
Connor Murty 41 6
Layne Murty 35 5
Emily Pansegrau 35 5
Megan Pansegrau 90 14

A full listing of point totals is on the website.

Congrats and thank you to all the youth have participated. With these young leaders in our industry, the future looks bright!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Keeping Up with the Times

Farming has changed so much over the years.

Gone are the days of Old MacDonald and Charlotte's Web.

In their places stand modern, efficient, technologically advanced, specialized farms, including the modern cow-calf operation, advanced seedstock operations and of course, the modern feedlot.

As part of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association's mission to "grow the Iowa beef business through leadership, advocacy and education," we provide free educational materials and events throughout the year to help our members keep up with the times. Whether it's related to animal health, facility design, manure management, or other hot topics, ICA has the information you need to make sure your business is incorporating the latest science and technology to keep you successful in the future.

Educational Resources

  • Magazine - The Iowa Cattleman, ICA's monthly magazine, includes educational articles from a variety of sources. The magazine is also available on our website.
  • Fact Sheets - ICA has a number of fact sheets on various regulatory topics and cattle health topics. They can also be found on our website.
  • Forums - Cow/Calf and Feedlot Forums have become a regular part of ICA's offerings over the past couple of years. These educational events are held around the state, and thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, are free for attendees. The speakers cover timely topics relevant to the specific industry sector, and a trade show offers attendees a chance to visit with vendors.

Upcoming Educational Events

ICA has three Feedlot Forums coming up the first week in March.

Wednesday, March 2, Osage Public Safety Center, Osage, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thursday, March 3, Jones County Extension Office, Monticello, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thursday, March 3, Blue Grass Community Center, Blue Grass, 5 p. m. – 9 p. m.

The feedlot forums will offer a market outlook and discussion on the quickly approaching Veterinary Feed Directive. Attendees will have the opportunity to listen to area producers share their environmental compliance stories and learn from state officials the state’s response plan during a Foreign Animal Disease outbreak. The events are free and include meals and a trade show.

Contact the ICA office at 515-296-2266 to RSVP.

Your Input Wanted

Is there a topic you'd like more information about? Let us know! We will use your feedback to plan future educational resources and events!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Proud to be Part of the ICA Family

by Katie Olthoff

February 17 will mark 6 months since I joined ICA as the communications director. And a lot has happened in that time.

I now know more about cattle than I ever dreamed possible. I grew up on an acreage in central Iowa, and my husband grew up showing cattle, but I'm the first to admit - I knew little to nothing about the animals and the industry when I started this job. Now, after editing six issues of the Iowa Cattleman magazine and sitting in on numerous educational sessions offered by ICA, I think I'm ready for my very own cow-calf herd.

I've met cattle producers from every area of our state. And I've been so impressed by their dedication to the industry, to their farms, to the land and to their livestock. There seem to be innate qualities of selflessness and respect that are passed from generation to generation when one's sole purpose is to care for another living creature. And those qualities are alive and well in Iowa's cattle industry.

I've learned that cattle production is more than just cowboys and grass. Even though the appearance of a cow-calf operation hasn't changed much over the years, the technology and genetics that lead to a healthy, productive herd are outstanding. And changes in cattle facilities, which have environmental benefits as well as animal welfare benefits, are advancing as quickly as any other industry.

I've had a personal transformation, as well. I was a stay at home mom for almost 5 years, working just 10 hours a week for the Iowa Turkey Federation while raising my two young sons. And the transition to full time hasn't always been easy. Working full time has forced me to get organized, and it's forced my husband and children to become a little more self-reliant, which is not necessarily a bad thing. :)

When I look back at my first six months here, I count my blessings. "New" can be scary, and I was more than a little nervous back in August. I wasn't sure if I'd made the right decision, wasn't sure if this position was really a good fit for me, and wasn't sure how my family would adjust to my new schedule. 

But I think it's safe to say that my fears were unfounded. My position here combines two of my passions - writing and agriculture - and allows me to be creative while working to improve farming in the state of Iowa. My coworkers here at ICA are great, and their dedication to the needs of Iowa's cattle producers is unmatched. I am continually amazed by their focus on the mission of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association and the way they ask for and respond to feedback from Iowa cattlemen. 

Our members and leaders are top-notch, making a difference here in Iowa and across the country. As I slowly meet more of them and get to know them, I realize more and more that the ICA network is more than a membership association - it's a family. And I'm proud to be part of it.

Katie Olthoff is the communications director for the Iowa Cattlemen's Association.