Field Day Aids Small Dairy and Open Feedlot Producers in Managing Manure

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Title of Success Story

Field Day Aids Small Dairy and Open Feedlot Producers in Managing Manure

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

Agricultural producers need to be informed and provided with tools they can implement to keep pollutants out of the waters of the U.S.  This includes being knowledgeable about regulations and implementing good stewardship practices.  The ultimate goal is to reduce nutrient impacts on water quality and to provide clean water for all Iowans.     

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

Attention is increasingly focused on small and medium-sized dairies and open feedlots to become compliant with water quality regulations.  State and federal inspections in Iowa have not only led to legal actions concerning manure management, but also increased public awareness of manure run-off issues.  This field day will provide information and technical assistance to aid small- and medium-sized beef and dairy cattle producers in better managing manure.

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

A Manure Management Field Day for small dairy and open feedlot producers was held on July 13, 2011 near Odebolt, Iowa.  There were a total of 54 in attendance including 47 participants (producers and agri-business staff from 17 Iowa Counties and South Dakota) and seven ISU Extension professionals directly involved in implementing the program.  Topics included Medium CAFO’s; manure storage and handling; technical assistance and cost-share opportunities; and using manure in crop production.  In addition, there were two demonstrations – manure pumping and manure spreader calibration.   A packet of materials, containing 17 fact sheets, was distributed to all participants. 

One of the fact sheets, Manure Management Resources for Beef and Dairy Operations (PM 1872), was revised as a part of the grant underwriting this program.  Approximately 750 copies of this fact sheet were used at seven medium CAFO workshops, two manure management field days and several other events.  A PDF version of the fact sheet is also available via the Extension store.    

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

An informal evaluation, administered verbally at the conclusion of the Manure Field Day, indicated the following:

  • 92% indicated that the field day was helpful to them
  • 84% felt they had learned something that they could apply to their farm
  • 33% indicated they would contact at least one of the speakers for additional information
  • 80% expressed they would like future manure field days

There will be a spin-off from this manure field day as approximately one-third of the participants work directly with agricultural producers.  Here were some of their comments:

  • “I hope that this feedlot will be a good model for other lots.”
  • “All of us from NRCS got some good information there.” 
  • “These field days really put the word out there on SRF (State Revolving Fund).”
  • “Great questions, which I think means the audience is becoming much more aware of the topic.”

Desired Changes


  • Medium- and small-sized CAFO owners will learn how to evaluate whether they need to permit and how to go about the permitting process
  • Field day participants will learn how to take credit for the nutrients in their manure and how to calibrate a manure spreader 
  • Producers will learn what programs exist for financial assistance and will be able to access them
  • All participants will learn about a promising, new method that land-locked feedlots could implement to handle feedlot effluent

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
Angie Rieck-Hinz, ISU Extension and Outreach Program Specialist, campus.  Phone: 515-294-9590 or e-mail

Your Position

­­­­­__x__Field                                        __x__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)

­­­­­_____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

Iowa Beef Center, IMMAG & ISU Extension (Beth Doran, Angie Rieck-Hinz, Rachel Klein,  Kris Kohl, Shawn Shouse, Dan Loy, Mark Licht, Paul Kassel, Joel DeJong, Clint McDonald, Chris Mondak, Leo Timms, and Tom Olsen);  Sac County Extension (Lisa Paysen); Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (Tom Shipley); Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (Tony Toigo); Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Gene Tinker and Paul Pettiti); USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service (Denis Schulte); Bettin Feedlot (Mike Bettin and Jon Reaman); and Engel Agri-Sales (Steve Engel and Reece Morrisey). 

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

The Manure Field Day was held at the Mike Bettin feedlot, near Odebolt, IA and was multi-regional (primarily Regions 1, 2, 5, 6 and 12).   

Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated (Ext + Research)

Integrated (included a research project on manure pumping)

Funding Source

A mini-grant from the Iowa Beef Center supplied the majority of the funding for the manure field day and fact sheet.  Supplemental support (for travel) included the Iowa Manure Management Action Group; Iowa Department of Natural Resources; USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service; Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. 


Manure, medium CAFO, beef, dairy, open feedlot


Page last updated: March 19, 2012
Page maintained by Julie Honeick,