2007 Cornbelt Cow-Calf ConferenceA Year of Transition
Byron Leu, Field Specialist-Livestock, Southeast Iowa
For 33 successful years, the Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference (CCCC) was held at the Coliseum in Ottumwa, Iowa. In 2004, the Coliseum was razed and construction on the new Bridge View Convention Center was initiated. Due to this construction phase, the CCCC was held in the Vermeer Global Pavilion in Pella in 2005 and 2006. The Bridge View Center was essentially completed by January 2007, opening the door for the CCCC to return to Ottumwa for its 36th annual event. This transition back to the Ottumwa area created a number of opportunities as well as challenges for the CCCC committee.
The CCCC committee recognized that the new Bridge View Center offered a number of positive opportunities that could strengthen this long running event. A number of focus points were identified and explored by the sub-committees of the conference, including: 1) creating a new image for the CCCC, 2) encouraging John Deere Ottumwa Works to expand their presence at the event, 3) increasing the number of educational presentations offered to the attendees, 4) reviving the live animal exhibit area, and 5) retaining exhibitors as the conference transitioned back to the Ottumwa area. Throughout 2006, the sub-committees addressed these five areas in an attempt to energize and possibly expand the event.
The basic outcome of this transition phase of the CCCC has been very positive. The framework of the conference is well established and somewhat cast in stonebut the changes that have been implemented for the 2007 program and beyond are improvements that will strengthen the event for years to come. Following are selected observations:
- The CCCC general committee is energized and searching for methods to grow the conference. Plans are underway to network with selected exhibitors to increase attendance and improve the marketability of the conference.
- John Deere Ottumwa Works is an interested player that can be an important cog as the CCCC moves to the next level.
- The CCCC has approximately 70 exhibitors that contribute to the success of the event. Very few, if any, beef conferences in the Midwest have this level of networking and industry support.
- The educational program has been expanded to include 16+ presentations. This allows clientele the opportunity to attend a broad scope of topics presented by nationally recognized speakers, with the majority of the talks being repeated during the day.
- Following the event, presentations can be viewed via hard copy, CDs, and on the Iowa Beef Center web site which will expand the viewing capability of the talks.
Due to these efforts, the CCCC will continue its strong reputation as the premier beef-related conference in the Midwest. Very few, if any, events provide cattle producers with the opportunity to come together with researchers and over 70 industry representatives to explore current and future topics and issues. The expanded educational program combined with the networking possibilities will continue to create interest in producers and companies vested in the beef industry. Previous evaluation and survey summaries have indicated that producers attending the CCCC have incorporated positive management changes into their beef operations. These changes reflect an increase in beef-related returns, improvement in production efficiency, and a decrease in labor inputs.
With this being said, over 400 people braved the harsh Iowa weather on the last Saturday in February to attend the CCCC. Producers from 22 Iowa counties and five states attended the educational programming and viewed the 70+ exhibits. Overall, a fantastic attendance considering the weather conditions!!
April 10, 2007
140 Iowa Beef Center
Page last updated:
April 16, 2007
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