Extension News

Correspondence Course Offered to Cow-Calf Producers


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa’s cattle producers can learn production, marketing and financial risk management through a five-part correspondence or home study course during the month of March. The course is part of  “Cow-Calf Risk Strategies,” a 2006 program from the Iowa Beef Center (IBC) at Iowa State University (ISU).


“The correspondence course is a great alternative to our two-day workshops, or for producers whose preferred learning style is self-study,” says John Lawrence, ISU Extension economist and director of the IBC. “Producers can learn at their own pace and at any time of the day.”


The correspondence course includes five lessons focusing on production, marketing, and financial risk management. Starting Feb. 28, participants will receive the first of five lesson packets via U.S. mail. Each lesson will consist of an introduction, specific management content, additional resources, and a quiz or activity for the producer to complete. The answers will arrive with the next lesson the following week. A sixth packet will include answers for the fifth and final lesson, as well as a course evaluation and supplementary resources for the producer.


“The content of the correspondence course is broad and comprehensive,” adds Lawrence. Topics and techniques to be included in the correspondence course include:


Production Management
- determining the cost of cow grazing and wintering
- managing forage supplies and availability
- managing forage quality and animal performance
- managing forage and grazing systems and related health disorders

Financial Management
- working with accounting and financial statements
- evaluating the business
- developing a business plan
- evaluating key financial ratios and trend analysis
- understanding production and marketing impact on financial statements

Marketing and Price Risk Management
- developing a marketing plan for feeder cattle and cull cows
- understanding price patterns and forecasts
- utilizing futures, options, and livestock revenue protections

The correspondence course is available to producers and industry affiliates for a fee of $40, and producers should sign up by Wednesday, Feb. 22. For more information or to sign up, contact your ISU Extension beef specialist or the Iowa Beef Center in Ames at (515) 294-BEEF or beefcenter@iastate.edu. A check for $40 can be sent with an indication of interest in the Correspondence Course via mail to the IBC at 468 Heady, Ames Iowa, 50011.


The correspondence course is part of a 2006 series called “Cow-Calf Risk Strategies,” a year-long effort to educate cow-calf producers and to develop risk management solutions. The series is made possible by a grant from USDA-RMA (United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency). For more information and to check for event and schedule updates, visit the Cow-Calf Risk Strategies page at www.iowabeefcenter.org (http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/CowCalfRiskStrategiesRMA.htm).


The Iowa Beef Center began operation in 1996 to support the growth and vitality of the beef cattle industry of the state. A part of Iowa State University Extension, the Iowa Beef Center is the central access point for Iowa State University programs and research related to the beef industry. For more information, visit the Web site at www.iowabeefcenter.org or call (515) 294-BEEF.



Contacts :

John Lawrence, Iowa Beef Center, (515) 294-6290, jdlaw@iastate.edu


Joe Sellers, Iowa State University Extension, (641) 774-2016, sellers@iastate.edu


Bob Wells, Iowa State University Extension, (641) 673-5841, wellsjb@iastate.edu


Ron Hook, Iowa State University Extension, (712) 754-3648, rhook@iastate.edu



Rachel E. Martin, Iowa Beef Center, (515) 294-9124, remartin@iastate.edu