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Iowa Beef Facilities Tour Draws Big Crowd

Iowa Beef Facilities Tour Draws Big Crowd

More than 260 people attended a recent beef facilities tour in northwest Iowa, indicating increased interest in growing and expanding Iowa's beef industry.

Attendance at the Beef Facilities Tour in Ida County last month indicates there is interest in growing and expanding the beef industry in Iowa.  More than 260 producers and agri-business staff toured five beef operations near Holstein, Iowa. The tour, co-sponsored by the Ida County Cattlemen's Association, ISU Extension and Outreach, and the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers, was heavily supported by local businesses.

"What was unique about the tour was that the number of young producers, less than 30 years of age, was equivalent to the number of older producers over age 60," comments Don Friedrichsen, an Ida County Cattlemen's board member.  "And, younger family members are actively involved in the daily operation at each of the hosting sites. It's encouraging to see young people entering the industry," adds Ted Paulsrud, Ida County Cattlemen's president. 

It's encouraging to see young people entering the beef industry

Brian Waddingham, executive director of the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers, says the economic impact of a new 312-head cattle farm in Ida County would provide 4.2 jobs and provide almost $1.5 million in sales. In addition, it generates $136,483 of labor income and added value of more than $358,000!

The tour was hosted by the Alan Friedrichsen, Kevin Conover, Bob Butcher, Brian Friedrichsen and Brett Friedrichsen families. The barns included wide (100-foot) mono-slope barns, a gable-roofed barn, and semi-confinement facility with a narrow mono-slope roof and outside concrete pens. At two of the sites producers took advantage of existing concrete and built the new barn over part of it.

"Producers are building these barns to reduce the potential for run-off. In addition, many also indicate better feed efficiency and performance compared with cattle in open feedlots, says Beth Doran, ISU Extension beef program specialist. "And this year, with summer heat stress, there was the added benefit of shade to reduce solar radiation."

Where to get more information about beef facilities and BQA training

Following the evening meal, a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training was conducted by Doug Bear, director of Industry Relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. Grant Dewell, ISU Extension veterinarian, and Brent Meyer, veterinarian at the Holstein-Ida Grove Veterinary Clinic also helped with the training. The training included a post-mortem examination, presentations and a participant test. The goal is to instruct participants on best management practices that ensure a safe, nutritious and high quality product for consumers. More than 50 producers became BQA certified during the event. For more information on BQA, contact the Iowa Beef Industry Council at 515-296-2305 or

Materials from the Beef Facilities Tour are posted on the Iowa Beef Center website at and this includes all handouts and information sheets at each facility.  

Producer-directed and consumer-focused, the Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head beef checkoff.  Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand.  For more information, visit
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