2008 Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference­Changes Continue

Byron Leu, Field Specialist Livestock, Southeast Area

Problem Statement: 

In February 2007, the Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference was held at the BridgeView Center in Ottumwa, Iowa.  This new facility provided the conference the opportunity to try new ideas and at the same time, expand the educational program and exhibit area.  Following the 2007 event, the CCCC group determined that the BridgeView Center definitely created a number of opportunities as well as challenges for the conference.  All in all, the 2007 event went well and the committee faced very few glitchesexcept for an ice storm!!  Following the inclement weather, the CCCC committee started to focus on new ideas that could be incorporated in 2008.

Programmatic Response: 

The CCCC committee, in an attempt to energize and expand the event, decided to increase the agenda/program from a one-day conference to a 1 day event. During this process, John Deere Ottumwa Works (JDOW) agreed to serve as a sponsor for the Friday program and also contribute financially to the Saturday CCCC event.  JDOW recruited producers through selected dealers in southern Iowa and northern Missouri for the Friday event.  The program began on Friday morning, February 22, with a keynote address from Dr. Daryl Strohbehn from Iowa State University.  Tours of the Ottumwa JD plant were conducted following his presentation and at 2:00 p.m., the group had the opportunity to view the over 70 CCCC exhibits that were set up for the Saturday event.


The impact of this educational effort has significant potential.  The networking opportunity with ISU Extension, the CCCC, and JDOW is positive for a number of reasons:

1) The expanded program format allows for more topics and therefore, provides more chances for producers to learn new concepts and ideas,

2) The networking relationship is important for financial support due to the increasing costs that are impacting many educational eventsespecially with the increase in the number of topics being presented and associated transportation costs,

3) ISU Extension and JDOW are also cooperating together to provide educational training sessions for personnel at the forage manufacturing plant.  This educational process is an important cog for both parties because the learning curve may influence the manufacturing designs to better serve the clientele purchasing the equipment,

4) The format also puts a different twist to the event, allowing producers the chance to see how their equipment is designed and assembled.

5) The CCCC committee also cooperated with the Iowas New Inventors Contest in an effort to create interest in the storage and delivery of corn co-productsespecially for small to mid-size cow-calf operations.  This grass roots approach contributed to the interest revolving around feeding these productsand at the same time, producers want a cost-effective system that would minimize labor and feed delivery waste.  The networking group associated with this effort included the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Farmer Today, KBIZ/KRKN radio, Farm Bureau, and the Iowa Renewable Fuel Association.

In 2008, over 100 people participated in the Friday, February 22nd program.  (It should be noted that approximately 50 people had to cancel the trip due to an isolated ice storm that hit NE Missouri Thursday evening.)  The Saturday event was attended by 475 people from 38 Iowa counties and six other states.  Discussions for 2009 have begunand the networking group of ISU Extension, the CCCC committee, and JDOW have agreed to continue the tweaking process for next years effort.

The initial impact of expanding the program has been positive.  Due to these efforts, the CCCC will continue its strong reputation as the premier beef-related conference in the Midwest.  The expanded educational program combined with the networking possibilities will continue to create interest and change in our cow-calf producers operations as well as with the companies vested in the beef industry. 


140  Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: June 13, 2008
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu