Feedlot Forum 2011 Helps Producers With Industry Issues

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Title of Success Story

Feedlot Forum 2011 Helps Producers With Industry Issues

Public Value (now or future)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

One of the goals for all Iowans is to have clean water.  One way open beef feedlot producers can impact this is to implement good stewardship principles.  ISU Extension programs, such as Feedlot Forum 2011, aim to help producers learn how to protect Iowa’s waters.  One producer summed it up, “We are working with engineers, DNR on our plan so we can meet the ever changing regulations of DNR and EPA rules, so we can be in compliance.  Thanks!”

(Why is it important to address this issue with education?  What are the desired changes?)

The year of 2011 entered with huge issues facing Iowa feedlot producers.  Small and medium-sized feedlots were contemplating whether or not to permit their feedlot.  Corn prices had crept to new levels, pressuring profitability.  The number of countries to which the U.S. had exported had declined, while in an effort to spare household income, U.S. consumers were buying less beef.  And, of course, all of this was being impacted by current and impending legislation.
Hence, Feedlot Forum 2011 was designed to help producers and agri-business staff examine these changes and make informed decisions about their feedlot production. 

(Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

To address these issues, Feedlot Forum 2011 was offered on January 25, 2011 and attended by 165 producers and agri-business staff.  A trade show included 15 agri-businesses featuring livestock marketing, ag lending, pharmaceuticals, and facility design.  Representatives from the Sioux Center News, Akron Hometowner, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and KDCR Radio followed up with articles or interviews in their media.

RESULTS (Outcomes:  specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions, Conditions; how outcomes were measured)

An evaluation questionnaire was mailed to meeting participants five months post-meeting, with a 27% response rate.

Specific changes were evident in learning:

  • Over 60% better understood the need for air quality research
  • 58% developed a better grasp of what records a medium CAFO must complete 
  • Over 66% improved their understanding about how ethanol production and energy policy impact feedlot costs – one commented, “Ethanol production makes feeding cattle in Iowa a lot cheaper!”
  • 92% were more aware of how the US economy impacts US beef demand and exports

The meeting participants also planned to put the information into use:

  • 37% planned to monitor the results of the air quality study so they could improve air quality at their feedlot facility
  • 3% attended the air quality open house at Royal, IA and another 3% planned to attend a similar open house at Watertown, SD
  • 55% were able to evaluate if their feedlot met the size threshold and discharge criteria for a medium-sized CAFO
  • 45% determined if they were discharging through a man-made conveyance

Some respondents cited changes in condition:

  • Over 6% applied for a medium CAFO permit and are operating under medium CAFO permit criteria
  • Another 21% did not apply for a medium CAFO permit, but modified their manure handling system so they could eliminate a prohibited discharge

Desired Changes


  • To understand the importance of air quality research
  • To develop an awareness and understanding of legislative issues that impact cattle producers


  • To be able to evaluate and determine if the feedlot is a medium CAFO


  • To avoid run-off discharges to a water of the U.S.

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Beth Doran, ISU Extension and Outreach Beef Program Specialist, serving Buena Vista, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Sioux, and Woodbury counties.  Phone: 712-737-4230 or e-mail doranb@iastate.edu

Your Position

­­­­­__x__Field                                        _____Campus                         _____Both

POW # and Team

 ­­­­­_____100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection
­­­­­_____ 110 Dairy
­­­­­_____ 120 Farm and Business Management
­­­­­_____ 130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer
­­­­­__x__ 140 Iowa Beef Center
­­­­­_____ 150 Iowa Pork Industry Center
­­­­­_____ 160 Natural Resources and Stewardship

ANR Priority (select all that apply)

­­­­­__x__Global Food Security and Hunger
­­­­­_____Regional Food Systems
­­­­­__x__Natural Resources & Environmental Stewardship
­­­­­_____Food Safety
­­­­­_____Sustainable Energy – Biofuels & Biobased Products
­­­­­_____Climate Change

Knowledge Areas: (USDA categories)


Continuing Story

__x___ No                _____  Yes (If continuing, what story?)

Major Partners or Collaborators

ISU Extension and Outreach (Beth Doran); Lyon County Cattlemen’s Association; Iowa Cattlemen’s Association; and Sioux County Cattlemen’s Association.

Where story took place
(Region, campus, multi-regional)

Feedlot Forum 2011 was held at the Corporate Center in Sioux Center, IA.  Producers and agri-business staff were from Iowa (predominantly Regions 1, 2, 5 and 6), Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated (Ext + Research)


Funding Source

Participant fees and sponsorship (ABS Global, Alpharma Animal Health; Bayer Animal Health; Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica; C & J Construction Ltd.; DeRocher Construction and Precast; DeWild Grant Reckert and Associates Company; Elanco Animal Health; Farm Credit Services of America (Sheldon); FBi Buildings, Inc.; For-Most Inc.; Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health; Landmark Builders, Inc.; Pfizer Animal Health; and Van Zee Enterprises, Inc.


Beef, feedlot, medium CAFO, environment, ag markets, legislation 


Page last updated: March 11, 2012
Page maintained by Julie Honeick, jhoneick@iastate.edu