Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference to Celebrate 40th Anniversary

OTTUMWA, Iowa -- The premier educational event in Iowa for cow-calf producers has a big event planned next month and everyone is invited. The Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference (CCCC) will celebrate its 40th anniversary of providing timely, accurate and important information to the beef cattle industry. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) has moved its annual convention and trade show to the same date and location this year to help publicly recognize the importance of this event. Iowa State University Extension beef program specialist Byron Leu said this year’s conference on Feb. 26 will continue its successful traditions.

“The Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference has been, and will continue to be, successful because it provides information and access to speakers that beef producers have come to expect,” Leu said. “The steering committee does a great job of finding highly qualified and respected speakers in the industry who can speak with authority and sincerity on the topics pertinent to Midwestern operations.”

Leu has been part of the volunteer committee that oversees the conference for 25 years, both on the general committee and as chair of the program committee, and said the event has survived and thrived because of its dedication to the producers and the industry.

“The trade show has averaged 65-70 exhibitors for several years, and this consistency gives attendees the opportunity to hear, meet and share ideas with researchers, other area cattlemen, and industry and agency representatives in one location,” Leu said. “One summary indicates more than 500 different exhibitors have participated through the years.”

In its early days, the CCCC’s presentation and exhibits were production-oriented, Leu said. Now the topics are much more varied, which reflects the changing face of the industry to fewer farms and fewer cattle operations. One thing that hasn’t changed much, however, is attendance.

“We count between 500 and 550 in total attendance annually, including a consistent percentage of Iowa’s cow-calf producers,” Leu said. “That’s a good indication to us of the program’s value to producers.”

Of course this kind of programming and history couldn’t happen without dedicated longtime volunteers, like Dale Uehling, Allan Seim, Steve Banyas, Darrell Limkeman, and the other committee members, Leu said. Former ISU Extension area livestock field specialist Cliff Iverson got the ball rolling in the early 1970s with a format and agenda very similar to the CCCC of today. Originally held in the old Ottumwa Coliseum, the CCCC now is held in the larger Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, which allows for more educational sessions and exhibit space.

This year’s conference begins with registration and the open trade show at 7:30 a.m. and the welcome at 9 a.m. Admission is $15 which includes lunch and conference proceedings. No preregistration is necessary. A conference brochure is available at . For more details on the two-day program including the ICA components, see the schedule at .

IBC was established in 1996 with the goal of supporting the growth and vitality of the state’s beef cattle industry. It comprises faculty and staff from ISU Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine, and works to develop and deliver the latest research-based information regarding the beef cattle industry.