IBC Cow-Calf Risk Strategies SE Iowa Area

Byron Leu, Livestock Field Specialist, Southeast

Problem Statement:
Many Southeast Iowa producers are challenged when making important management, marketing, and/or financial decisions. Many times these producers lack practical information that is fitting and useful as decisions are evaluated and finalizedespecially when unexpected issues complicate the decision-making process.  This lack of information can typically have a negative impact on the operations bottom line. 
Programmatic Response:
The Iowa Beef Center responded to this need through the development of a USDA-RMA grant proposal. The Cow-Calf Risk Strategies program, developed by IBC staff, is a comprehensive risk management education program.  Dr. John Lawrence and IBC co-chairpersons Joe Sellers, Bob Wells, and Ron Hook provided leadership and guidance, integrating production, marketing, and financial principles into a resource management training program and handbook for forage-based beef producers.  The teaching materials, PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, correspondence course chapters, and support information were then developed by the IBC RMA team. When the proposal was funded, a series of state-wide workshops, the correspondence course, webcast program, and a reference handbook all became a reality. 
Bob Wells, Denise Schwab, and Byron Leu hosted/presented at three southern SE Iowa sites involving five program sessions during January 2006. At these sessions, producers and industry representatives were introduced to a curriculum that included 1) Production Risk management, 2) Market and Price Risk management, and 3) Financial Risk management topics. A broad scope of management areas were discussed, with attendees working on specific case study examples that were fitting to the educational effort and their specific operation. Forty-three producers were involved in the RMA programs at the SE Iowa southern three sites. Each of the participants received a reference handbook containing numerous fact sheets and decision-making aides.
The RMA webcast was telecast throughout the state on January 9, 2006with five of the southern SE Iowa counties participating.  This program provided producers with information about National ID, QSAs, PVPs, and export market opportunities.  Over 230 people participated in this state-wide event.
Recruitment for the RMA Correspondence Course is completed with 77 producers committing to the five-week mail-in program. Cost is $40 per producer.  Following completion, participants will complete an evaluation of the course and the teaching method.
A summary of the impact of the overall RMA program has not been completed as the program is still ongoing. However, individual responses from attendees at the workshops were very positive. Evaluations submitted from the southern SE Iowa area reflected an average of 1.7 for attendees confidence level for the following management decisions: Forage and grazing systems, ration balancing, forage balance, financial liquidity, financial solvency, marketing methods, and price protection.  The 1.7 average indicated strong support for understanding the risk management concepts that were presented and discussed (1= very confident, 5= not confident at all). 
More RMA programs will be scheduled in 2006, including risk management programs involving pasture and forage management.  Following these events and the completion of the Correspondence Course, the overall program will be evaluated and the results reported.  The initial evaluation data reflects that the program has been successful at informing participants about management methods that can protect their beef enterprise investment from the various production and financial challenges that can impact beef producers. 

March 10, 2006
107 - Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
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