Beth Ellen Doran, Beef Field Specialist, Northwest
2008 was quite a year! Beef producers experienced floods, changes in environmental regulations, volatility in the grain and livestock markets, world-wide financial crisis and historically high fuel prices. The questions were “What does 2009 hold in store?” and “How can feedlot producers be prepared?”
To address these two questions, a Beef Feedlot Meeting was co-organized by ISU Extension, Lyon County Cattlemen’s Association, Sioux County Cattlemen’s Association and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. The January 20th program in Sioux Center featured ISU tools for cattle producers, process verification, environmental update, legal defense fund, ag credit, new feedstuffs/ration management and market outlook.
Attendance was strong with 121 producers, agri-business staff, sponsors and speakers. The meeting was supported by 14 co-sponsors representing agricultural lenders, beef building companies, animal health companies and beef-related organizations. Post-meeting media coverage included two newspaper features (Akron Hometowner and Farm News) and an interview about ration management with Dan Loy, ISU Extension Feedlot Specialist, which was aired in KMEG’s Farm Focus several weeks later. Four producers who could not attend requested meeting materials.
A survey questionnaire was mailed to meeting participants with a 33% response rate. When asked how the information from the meeting helped them, the top four responses were:
· 92% increased their understanding of Iowa environmental regulations
· 82% improved their awareness of public issues facing the cattle industry
· 66% improved their knowledge about ISU tools they can use and how to access them
· 55% increased their level of understanding of the market situation for livestock & grains
The top four websites that participants used subsequent the meeting were Iowa Beef Center (37%), local County Extension Office (25%), Ag Decision Maker (25%) and Iowa Manure Management Action Group (18%).
When asked which environmental regulations they had a better understanding of, over 50% cited they better understood animal counting (combining of numbers for open feedlot and confined cattle), when an NPDES permit is needed, and separation distances for manure application. As a result of the meeting, almost 26% had filed an air emissions report for feedlots with more than 1000 animal units.
Participants were asked what changes they had made regarding ag credit in the several months following the meeting. Over 51% used a risk management tool to limit market risk (predominantly futures). Almost 30% had increased their working capital and over 25% had improved their financial recordkeeping.
When asked to estimate the economic impact of the meeting information to their operation, 37% responded the economic impact ranged from $0 to $500. However, 18% indicated the economic impact was $1001-$2000 and over 7% indicated $16,001-$25,000. However, this meeting impacted more than the 121 participants. Meeting information was shared by the participants with another 105 people!
140 Iowa Beef Center
Page last updated:
July 15, 2009
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