Helping Beef Producers Meet Environmental Regulations

Beth Ellen Doran, Beef Field Specialist, Northwest Area


Iowa has regulated open beef feedlots since 1969.  Regardless of size, all beef feedlots must meet the minimum requirements for manure control and land application.  A minimum level of manure control requires that all feedlots must have some type of solids settling system in place.  Yet, many producers are unaware of this law.  

ISU Extension staff partnered with the Iowa Cattlemens Association, Farmers Coop Society in Sioux Center, Farmers Elevator Company in Rock Valley and Farmers Elevator Cooperative in Rock Rapids to co-sponsor four meetings reaching 191 producers and agri-business staff.  Information about environmental regulations for open beef feedlots and methods to control beef feedlot run-off was presented. Special articles about solids settling were published in Bright Horizons (Farmers Coop Society newsletter) and the Northwest Iowa Farmer newspaper.

The newspaper article in the Northwest Iowa Farmer had an impact on some feedlot producers.  Scott Osborn, Soil Conservationist for Natural Resources Conservation Service in OBrien County, indicated that at least six feedlot producers had visited his office to inquire about solids settling systems. Approximately two dozen producers invited Kris Kohl, ISU Extension Ag Engineer Field Specialist, to make on-farm visits to develop solids settling systems for their beef feedlots. Garret Englin, former beef specialist and current feedlot manager for the Farmers Coop Society, remarked, The majority of our feedlot producers who attended the meeting did something.  Some made changes in their existing facilities, while others built new systems.  According to Dave Wesselink, beef specialist for the Farmers Elevator Company in Rock Valley, All of our producers are working on a plan and getting it going.  There are a few of the new, deep-bedded buildings going up as well.  The reaction to the meetings was very positive. During the summer of 2005, the majority of feedlot producers at these four meetings took action to bring their feedlots into compliance with Iowa environmental regulations.

October 28, 2005
150 -- Environmental Stewardship

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,