Ag Policy, Cover Crops And Marketing Strategies Headline 2016 Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference

Dec 22, 2015

By Patrick Wall

Cornbelt Cow-Calf ConferenceThe premier educational event in Iowa for cow-calf producers is offering a comprehensive package of information to attendees next month. The popular Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference has provided timely, accurate and important information to the state’s beef cattle industry for more than 40 years. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Patrick Wall said this year’s conference, set for Jan. 30 at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, will continue that successful tradition.

“Producers have come to expect relevant information from the Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference on current topics that impact their profitability,” Wall said. “This year’s event will again offer free admission and will be preceded by the KIIC Farm Show on Friday afternoon prior to the conference. As an added bonus, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst will kick off Saturday morning with an informal ag policy discussion and Q&A, with free donuts and coffee while they last.”

The 2016 program targets a variety of topics designed to help producers of all ages and production goals. Assessing the short and long-term market outlook, the WOTUS rule, best management practices for marketing feeder cattle, and valuing timber pasture will be covered. Also, cow-calf producers in the Midwest will lead sessions that offer attendees valuable information to put into practice on their farms.

“Our three keynote speakers are Michael Dolch, special assistant for agriculture to Sen. Joni Ernst, Mark Pearson of Market to Market; and Jesse Randall of ISU Extension and Outreach forestry,” Wall said. “The three will speak in separate sessions. In the morning, Dolch will talk about key areas of the WOTUS rule and its potential impact on beef producers, and Pearson will give his take on the current and future outlook of the beef market. In the afternoon, Randall will help attendees understand the value of timber in a pasture and how to effectively market it to area buyers.”

Another session highlight will be a panel discussion with two southeast Iowa order buyers of feeder cattle, Mike Keuning and Mark Herboldt, outlining what they desire to buy from Iowa’s cow-calf sector.

The final two afternoon sessions feature five breakout topics and speakers. Karl Dallefeld from Prairie Creek Seed will lay out several practical options for cover crops that can be used in a haying or grazing system. On the flip side of the cover crop topic, John McGrath from Amana Farms will talk about the cover crops and alternative feeds the farms have already implemented into their beef enterprise. Dr. Mike Wells from Zoetis will offer insight into the Veterinary Feed Directive rules set to begin in 2017. John Whitaker from the Farm Service Agency will describe the features and potential opportunities of the new CRP grasslands program. Finally, Jeff Lutz, Missouri cow-calf producer, will share his challenges battling EHD in his cow herd as well as fescue management for fall calving herds.

Doors open for this year’s conference at 7:30 a.m. with comments from Sen. Ernst beginning at 8 a.m. The official welcome is at 9 a.m., followed by two general session speakers, then lunch and exhibit viewing. The afternoon begins with Randall’s timber talk in the auditorium, followed by two repeating breakout sessions with five choices. Again, admission is free and includes a copy of the show guide and conference proceedings.