Friday, June 24, 2016

BeefMeets Drive Home the Mission

We're back in the office today after two big meetings this week.

Northeast Iowa BeefMeet

Most of the ICA staff spent Wednesday in Spencer and Thursday in Independence with members of the cattle industry at the first annual ICA BeefMeets. Between the educational sessions, tradeshow and policy development, the meetings were true to the event theme, helping the cattle industry "drive to success."

Northwest Iowa BeefMeet

We have yet to go through the event surveys to find out what attendees thought, but as a staff, we talked about the events on our way home last night. And we agreed - we really, really enjoyed seeing everyone!

Tristen and Shanda are friendly voices
on the phones at ICA. At BeefMeets you
can see their friendly faces, too!

We work in the office most days, and often talk to you, our members, on the phone or over email. But events like BeefMeets give us a chance to see you face to face, and we love that. Seeing all of you and getting your feedback reminds us why we do what we do - we work everyday to support your passion and we are proud to do that. Seeing you at our events drives home the connection between the advocacy, education and leadership projects we work on every day in Ames and the work you do on your farms or businesses.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Northwest and Northeast Iowa BeefMeets, and especially to the trade show vendors, sponsors and ICA leaders who helped make the events a success. We are taking a short pause before loading up for the Beef Masters Open West in Denison on Monday, June 27, the Southwest Iowa BeefMeet in Atlantic on Tuesday, June 28, the Southeast Iowa BeefMeet in Riverside on Wednesday, June 20 and the PAC Shoot-Out in Riverside on Thursday, June 30.

Can't wait to see you all again soon and as always, if there are concerns or topics you want your association to be working on, don't hesitate to reach out to us!

Here are more photos from Northwest and Northeast Iowa BeefMeets:


Thursday, June 16, 2016

2016 Membership Winners!

The Iowa Cattlemen's Association is dedicated to growing Iowa's beef business through leadership, advocacy and education. As a grassroots organization, membership is vital to the strength and effectiveness of ICA's efforts. Our thanks and congratulations to these outstanding membership recruiters!

ICA Top Hand Club

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Top Hand Club is a way to reward the association’s top membership recruiters. Each member recruited is worth 1 point, and every $75 in Fair Share is worth 1 point.

1) The following recruiters earned at least 5 points and received an ICA Top Hand Club hat.

· Grant Carlson, Hamilton County
· Kellie Carolan, Marshall County
· Ron Cota, Allamakee County
· Jack Giltner, Mills-Montgomery County
· Zoe Moritz, Jefferson County
· Jim Mosher, Marshall County
· Bob Otto, Monona County
· Tim Pansegrau, Marshall County
· Virgil Pries, Bremer County
· Steve Rehder, Sioux County
· Justin Reiter, Jones County
· Jordan Steffener, Des Moines County
· Gary Whittle, Allamakee County
· Ray Wilson, Calhoun County

2) The following recruiters earned at least 15 points and received the hat, a Top Hand Oxford Shirt and a gas card.

· Jay Klemme, Marshall County
· Jeffrey Landrum, Decatur County
· Bruce Long, Webster County
· Dan Schmitt, Allamakee County
· Shane Smith, Fremont County
· Sparky Wellman, Lee County

3) The following recruiters earned at least 25 points and received the hat, the shirt, the gas card, 100 ML of Dectomax or a bag of Cidrs from Zoetis Animal Health and a Top Hand Soft Shell jacket.

· Luke Baker, Union County
· Merv Hoermann, O’Brien County
· LeRoy McClintock, Winneshiek County
· Chad Tobey, Clinton County

4) The 2nd-5th place top recruiters will receive all of the 5, 15, and 25 point awards, and a $400 gift card.

2nd – John Gruhn, Jackson County
3rd – Bob Ness, Emmet County
4th – Wade Myers, Clarke County
5th – Tim Hastert, Shelby County

5) The overall winner will receive the 5-25 point awards and a one-year lease on a 24’ x 7’ EBY gooseneck trailer.

1st – Clint Von Glan, Crawford County

County Incentive: Member Value Index Report

County cattlemen’s associations were ranked with a system formembership recruitment efforts called the Member Value Index. This index takes into consideration the following categories:

1) the number of new members to account for growth

2) the percent of renewal members to account for retention

and 3) the dollars of Fair Share above a county’s three-year average to assist in the education and outreach efforts.

The first two factors also include an adjustment against the statewide average, which means they county index may go down from the previous month if there is strong growth across the state. Just as we use an indexing formula for cattle, this process works to put counties on a level playing field.

The counties that finished in the top five of the Member Value Index for membership this year will each be rewarded with a $400 award to be used for a night on the town by the county board; an ICA representative will attend and there will be lots of opportunity to discuss all things cattle related!

1st – Sioux County
2nd – Allamakee County
3rd – Crawford County
4th – Union County
5th – Jones County

The prizes were awarded at the annual Carcass Challenge Banquet in Ames on Thursday, June 9. Thank you to everyone who attended, everyone who helped recruit members, and all of our membership recruitment sponsors!
2016 Carcass Challenge & Membership Awards

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mission Being Accomplished with Carcass Challenge Contest

Five years ago, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association developed a program with several goals in mind to benefit the cattle producers and friends of the industry of Iowa. As time has worked forward, we have seen those goals being met through the data collected and the feedback from the participants in the program. The Carcass Challenge Contest is a statewide event that provides information to every sector in the beef industry and could not have been a success without the support of everyone involved.

Three of the objectives behind the contest were to showcase Iowa’s feeder cattle genetics and feedyard performance, offer a fun, competitive statewide contest to demonstrate Iowa’s beef production advantages and raise non-dues revenue, which the ICA then invests in educational events for all sectors of the beef industry. One other objective was to provide the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program (YCLP) with not only funding, but a team project to encourage leadership skills with working with a group to achieve a common goal. The last objective was to provide quality information that producers could use to make sire selections and mating decisions based on the performance of the cattle. We have seen results from all of these objectives grow as the contest continues.

Nothing could illustrate this better than listening to a young producer from Marshall County who has been involved in the program since 2011. Andy Smith of Clemons, IA is a true testament of the Carcass Challenge Contest and how he has used the program to better his own operation. Andy’s first involvement started with a call to his brother, Eric, who is a veterinarian in Victor, IA that was asked by a 2011 YCLP class participant to sponsor a steer. This was the first that the Smith family had heard of either program and from there the family’s involvement has grown into a passion for the contest.
Andy and Michelle Smith with their children and Andy's parents, Steve and Sharon Smith.

In 2012, Andy joined the YCLP class and participated in the team project of working together to recruit steers from across the state to enter into the Carcass Challenge Contest. The interest in participating in the Carcass Challenge is a continuation of the Performance Beef Program that Andy, his brother, his sister and cousin all took part of while in FFA at the County Fair. Andy is interested in how the cattle perform and utilizing the data to make sire selections to enhance the carcass merit genetics in his cow herd.

Andy and his wife, Michelle, along with his mom, Sharon, and father, Steve, run an Angus based cow herd that stems from his grandpa’s Milking Shorthorn herd. While managing the cow/calf operation, the Smiths farm 700 acres of row crops and Andy is also employed by Accusteel. Through the process of showing cattle and using AI, Andy has phased out most of the Shorthorn and has tripled the size of the cow herd.

Andy has two major goals that he is continuously working towards. At this time, Andy sells most of his calves as feeder cattle, but is striving to build facilities to feed out his own calves all while building the cow herd. He is hoping to use the information provided by the Carcass Challenge to improve his carcass merit genetics to where all of his cattle grade Certified Angus Beef (CAB) and eventually to grade all Prime. This will be achieved through good management practices and genetic selection.  

“I use the Carcass Challenge information as a tool in making mating decisions and pairing cattle that performed well in the previous years,” says Andy. “It’s also the friendly competition that allows me to network with other producers from around the state and having a good time with it that makes the contest worth it.”

2016 Carcass Challenge & Membership Awards 

 On June 9, the winners of the 2016 Carcass Challenge were revealed at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. Awards were given to the top steers in the group of 55 in many areas, but the two main categories were Carcass Merit and Retail Value per Day on Feed (RVDoF). Both are value-added calculations that consider important consumer quality issues such as tenderness and flavor; and also a key producer issue-profitability. RVDoF adds in a time factor (days on feed). Additional awards given in the contest were for the Highest Average Daily Gain, Largest Ribeye Area, Highest Marbling Score and the Chef Award, which recognizes a 12-14 inch ribeye with the highest marbling score. The winners all received a cash prize and jacket to showcase their accomplishment.

The top prize winner ($750) in the Carcass Merit category went to Tri Vet Associates & Pine View Farms LLC raised by John Wessel of Farley, Iowa. The Angus steer graded Choice yield grade two with a 14.5 inch ribeye area. The second place finisher ($500) went to Adams County Cattlemen raised by John Schuler of Cumberland. The third placed ($250) steer was raised by Eric Gerdes of West Pointe, IA and sponsored by the Lee County Cattlemen. Fourth place ($250) was taken home by Bard Materials that sponsored the Angus steer raised by Lyle Gossling of Farley. Rounding out the Carcass Merit category ($250) was the steer sponsored and raised by Brad Kooima from Rock Valley.

In the Retail Value per Day on Feed category, the top award winner ($750) went to the Delaware, Dubuque and Jones County Cattlemen. The Angus steer was raised by Jason Kurt of Cascade that graded Choice yield grade three with a 4.66 pound average daily gain while on-test. The second place award winner ($500) went to the Iowa Maine Anjou Association, American Maine Anjou and Audubon-Manning Vet Clinic. The Maine Anjou steer was raised by Kenny Grimm from Audubon. Third place winner ($250) went to Larry Johnson with Johnson Family Farms who also raised the red steer from Maquoketa. The fourth placed award winner ($250) went to Ryan and Alle Bailey of Diagonal. The Bailey’s also raised the Charolais x Angus cross steer. The fifth placed steer ($250) was sponsored by PMC Agri-Services, Dan & Deb Kent & Kevin Kent Construction and raised by Warren Moeller of Miles.

Winners in the individual categories are Knoxville Regional Livestock Market for having highest Average Daily Gain of 4.75 pounds per day. The winner of the Largest Ribeye went to Larry Johnson with Johnson Family Farms with the steer that had a 17.1 inch ribeye area. The winner of the top Marbling Score and the Chef’s Award went to the Akaushi x Simmental steer sponsored by Lee County Cattlemen.

We are already making plans for the next Carcass Challenge Contest. The deadline for registering a spring 2016 steer for the contest is October 5th. Details and entry requirements can be found on the ICA website under the ICA Programs tab. The 2016 YCLP class will soon be working on recruiting steer donors for the contest, but anyone interested in participating in the program can call the ICA office at 515.296.2266 to get involved.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

2015-2016 Carcass Challenge Steers
2015 - 2016 Carcass Challenge Steers

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Positioning for Success in the Economic Reset

“During the great commodity super cycle, ‘high prices cured high prices,’ as the saying goes. Record level commodity prices automatically increased fixed and variable costs for farm businesses. The price/cost lag effect finds that prices will decline at a much more rapid rate than costs. This creates negative margins where expenses and debt obligations can become problematic if sufficient working capital is not available. Now, the traditional price/cost lag is in effect not only in grain sector but for livestock businesses as well.”

This is according to Dr. David Kohl (as he shared in a recent Corn and Soybean Digest article) and few cattlemen would disagree. Input costs increased with the markets, but now markets have declined, but inputs have not.

Add that to the fact that many producers are facing huge losses of equity and liquidity and the situation becomes dire.

Dr. Kohl recognizes that the agriculture industry is in a major economic transition. “The great commodity super cycle that fueled much of the income statement and balance sheet growth in agriculture is in the rear view mirror,” he says.

At this year’s Southwest and Southeast Regional BeefMeets, Kohl will address producers’ concerns and answer some of the fundamental questions many have. What will be the emerging trends impacting agriculture and rural America’s bottom line in the short and long run? What are the latest trends and views in agriculture? What are some of the best management practices that could help you to position during this economic reset?

If you have other questions, be sure to bring them along to Dr. Kohl’s session, which will kickoff the events in Atlantic on June 28 and Riverside on June 29.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Increasing the Efficiency of Your Acres

We all realize that no two farms are the same and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to farming.

But what if we take that further? No two acres are the same. So maybe there shouldn’t be a one-crop-fits-all approach to managing acres within a farm or field.

Recent record high corn and soybean prices have caused many farmers to transition pasture acres into crops. But now that prices have retreated, is that really the most economical use of those acres?

Turns out, it might not be. With current commodity prices, significant portions of Iowa farmland may be consistently losing money, according to a recent study by Iowa State University agronomists.

The fact may be masked by the effects of crop insurance and the higher grain prices over the past few years, but the bottom line is that some acres aren’t making money. They’re losing money due to fertilizer costs, equipment costs, herbicide, and seed costs on acres that only yield 70 bu per acre while their counterparts chase after 200.

Dave Muth of AgSolver, an Ames-based company, is poised to help. By gathering publicly available data, AgSolver has projected profit results on acres across Iowa and helped farmers make better management decisions to recoup some of those losses. Around 6.2 million acres of Iowa farmland, which is 27 percent of the land devoted to row crops, is estimated to have lost $100 or more per acre in 2015.

That doesn’t mean those acres should simply be taken out of production, but they may need to be managed differently via fewer inputs or a transition into forage production.

Dave Muth of AgSolver will be at all four of ICA’s regional BeefMeets this summer to discuss more strategies to identify and revitalize your least productive acres using data from precision agriculture.