Beth Doran

Beef cattle have been a part of Beth Doran’s life for about as long as she can remember. She grew up on her family’s crop and beef farm near Boone, where she learned about the opportunities and challenges of raising livestock.

Throughout her youth, she showed cattle from the county level to national and international shows, and following 4-H, she continued to show open class breeding stock for another 10-12 years.

Beth Doran headshot.Her love of cattle and the people involved with the industry led her to a career with agricultural extension, where she has been for nearly 40 years.  

“I still like being out there in nature and among beef cattle producers,” she said. “Every time I see a calf born, it’s a miracle.”

How long have you worked for ISU Extension and Outreach?

For over 30 years. Twenty-seven years as a beef specialist, 4.5 years as an extension 4-H and youth leader, and 4.5 years with Michigan State University Extension.

What do you do for ISU Extension and Outreach?

I am the extension beef specialist in northwestern Iowa, serving 17 counties. I work with beef producers and agricultural industry professionals, helping them solve issues and providing them with the information and resources they need.

What is the best part of working for ISU Extension and Outreach?

No two days are ever alike. I think I have the best staff and they do a great job of helping the producers. The staff is very dedicated, they value extension and the mission of giving the industry our best research, unbiased and accurate.

What drew you to Iowa State?

The proximity and my family heritage. Both of my parents attended Iowa state and my brother attended here as well. My first degree in home economics education was at Iowa State, in 1975, and the university has just always felt like home for me.

Do you have any big upcoming projects or events?

Feedlot Forum, usually held in January, will be held June 29. I also am working on five grant projects ranging from Beef Quality Assurance to efforts to help mental health professionals understand agriculture.

With your time with Extension, what is one thing you would like to accomplish (or are especially proud to have accomplished) in this position?

Helping Iowans cope with challenges – including the weather, economics, environmental issues and now health concerns.

Name one fun thing about yourself that not many people know.

I enjoy history, especially military history. When traveling, if someone mentions a historical marker, I want to pull off the road and read it. I also have a soft spot in my heart for veterans and our troops.

What do you do in your free time?

I like going to cattle sales and watching the youth compete at fairs. I also enjoy the draft horses at the Iowa State Fair and I am a fair food junkie!  

How do you create a #StrongIowa?

I try to build my programming grassroots up. That means listening to what people say, sitting down with them and being proactive about their concerns. I also look for the good in every day and count each day’s blessings.