Boots in the Barn Offered in Two Locations in February

Cow herd basics for dairy and beef women

December 6, 2023, 11:13 am | Jennifer Bentley, Denise Schwab

AMES, Iowa – Boots in the Barn, a program for women dairy and beef producers, will be offered in February and March in Edgewood and Decorah. Boots in the Barn is a four-part series for women involved in the dairy and beef industry, offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The course will be held Feb. 13, 20, 27, and March 12 in Edgewood and February 15, 22, 29, and March 14 in Decorah. At each location, the dairy session will run from 1-3 p.m. and the beef session will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m.


Feb. 13 – Woods Edge Golf Course, and Feb. 15 – ISU Extension and Outreach Winneshiek County office. The topic will be forage and feeding management. Gail Carpenter, state dairy specialist, Shelby Gruss, state forage specialist, and Jessi Lansing, nutritionist with Agri-King, will demonstrate and discuss selection, forage management tools, and best management practices for feeding high quality forage to the lactating dairy cow and the beef cow herd. Participants are encouraged to bring their own forage samples, TMRs for analysis and discussion.

Feb. 20 – Edgewood Vet Clinic, and Feb. 22 – Danan Lansing Building, Winneshiek County Fairgrounds. The topic will be understanding calf health with necropsy. Phillip Jardon, extension dairy veterinarian, will lead participants through a calf necropsy to discover physiology of the lungs, rumen development and other calf health issues. Sami Kemp and Ashley Vander Hart, both with the Edgewood Vet Clinic, will be on hand to join the discussion and provide topics on dairy and beef health care. At the Decorah location, Jessica Hammell, with Postville Vet Clinic, will be on hand to discuss neonatal calf scours.

Feb. 27 – Woods Edge Golf Course and Feb. 29 – ISU Extension and Outreach Winneshiek County office. The topic will be troubleshooting dystocia with a calving simulator. Caitlin Wiley, Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine, will lead this hands-on session with “Butterscotch,” focusing on troubleshooting dystocia. For the dairy session, etension dairy specialist Jennifer Bentley will be on hand to discuss colostrum management and for the beef session, Randie Culbertson, state beef specialist, will discuss calving distribution.

The final session will be held on March 12 – Woods Edge Golf Course and March 14 – ISU Extension and Outreach Winneshiek County office. The topic will be transitioning the farm and networking with charcuterie. At the Edgewood location, Kitt Tovar Jensen, attorney at the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, will help build confidence and leadership around family transition.

At the Decorah location, Jeannette Mukayisire, extension human sciences and family wellbeing specialist, will be on hand to provide resources and ways to initiate dairy and beef farm family discussions. At both locations, participants will also network with fellow dairy and beef women as they learn to build their own charcuterie boards, led by local businesses.

Those interested in the program can register online by Feb. 6 or by calling the ISU Extension and Outreach Delaware County office at 563-927-4201 or Winneshiek County office at 563-382-2949. The fee for this program is $30 per person. A brochure can be downloaded: Edgewood Boots in the Barn or Decorah Boots in the Barn.

About the program

The Boots in the Barn program was created after ISU Extension and Outreach staff identified the need for additional ag programs for women.

“We’ve had great success with programs designed specifically for women,” said Jenn Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Women often prefer to learn in small groups and with hands-on opportunities. They like to ask lots of questions of presenters without feeling intimidated, so programs designed for women alone are very effective.”

For more information on Boots in the Barn, contact Bentley at 563-382-2949 or

Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab is available at 319-472-4739 or

Photo Credit: Farm woman feeding cows, by torwaiphoto/

About the Authors: