Young Cattlemen Group

Denise Schwab, Beef Field Specialist, Southeast Area

Problem Statement:

Keeping young producers involved in the cattle industry with a strong focus on profitability has been a challenge.  The goal of this program was to establish a core group of young cattlemen, custom design educational programs and discussions to meet their needs, and to serve as a support system to each other.

Programmatic Response:

A key group of 30-40 young cattlemen in Tama, Poweshiek, Benton, and Iowa counties were invited to participate in the project.  Young would be defined as in their 20s or early 30s.  Sessions are held in the evenings to accommodate those who also have off-farm employment. 

The group was directly involved in determining their program needs by use of a typical needs assessment process.  Each meeting consists of a presentation followed by group discussion.  They have met four times with the following speakers and topics:

        John Lawrence, profitability in cattle feeding in Iowa
        Roger McEowen, legal concerns, leasing arrangements, fence laws
        Daryl Strohbehn, reproduction and conception in cows and heifers
        Brian Huedepohl, Williamsburg Vet clinic heifer development program
        Pasture walk and grazing system design for Shawn Ritter

In addition to ISU speakers, local seasoned cattlemen will also be used in the next year to help establish a local support system.  Producers will also be encouraged to start keeping SPA records.


A core group of 15-20 producers have evolved with about 5 to 10 of them having the business potential to remain profitable for the long term.  They have begun sharing very openly with others about their operation and their questions and concerns. 

They have requested that a light supper be served at the start of each session since many are rushed to get chores done after work and get to a meeting.  This has also provided a more relaxed atmosphere to share with others.  The Benton County Farm Bureau has provided the meal several times as a part of their young farmer program.

One participant requested a pasture evaluation and was provided with an outlined process to improve existing pastures, locate water sources, cost-share funding possibilities, and suggested paddock divisions.  He shared with me that he really appreciated the project.  There are very few cattle producers in his area and the opportunity to discuss the cattle business with others was very helpful for him.  He drives the farthest of the group but seldom misses a session.  He also brought along two other producers to the heifer development project with an interest in starting up their own heifer development program.

The most recent session was a pasture walk at one of the participants.  He wants to establish a rotational grazing system, so we used the meeting as an opportunity to informally discuss many aspects of designing a rotational system, and also provide Shawn with several options on how to subdivide his pasture in the future.  He was pleased with the options discussed, and the other participants seemed pleased to be able to help each other out.

A formal evaluation has not been conducted but will be at the end of the second year.   A couple counties in the eastern part of my area have requested a similar program be started in their area.

145 Intergenerational business transition

Page last updated: September 27, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,