‘Tis the Season…to be educated?!!

ImageFarm reporters know full-well that that the start of December is the start of farm meetings, conventions and educational sessions, especially here in the Midwest. Take a few minutes to talk with a reporter, and he or she is listing off the meetings they will attend during each week from Dec. 1 through March 31.

At the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, we’re also having many meetings during that time frame, but probably the one that will give any Iowa beef cattle producer the biggest bang for their buck is the Iowa Cattle Industry Convention we’ll hold Dec. 9-11 in Altoona at the Prairie Meadows Convention Center.

This meeting is open to all Iowa cattle producers, not just ICA members. There are 18 educational sessions packed into 2-1/2 days. Aside from that, there are lots of opportunities to socialize with other cattle producers at the meeting, where those one-on-one conversations can yield some real practical information. I haven’t even included the three policy discussion sessions, and heaven knows, there’s lots of learning that happens as we look at the implications of policy structuring.

Keynoters include Lance Zimmerman of CattleFax on Dec. 9, and Bob Fields of Sam’s Club on Dec. 10. They’ll lay out ‘big picture’ ideas that impact the business decisions they make, and talk about how Iowa cattle producers can use that same information.

What about the other sessions? Here’s a brief glimpse of them:

Do you want hands-on practical information you can apply when you get home? Check out the sessions on animal handling facilities, fencing, pasture management, and heifer development. All will give you plenty of ideas to put on your chore list because you can implement them and make a difference on your farm now.

What about market management? We have several sessions on understanding risk management and looking at the data that will help you make the decisions best for your beef cattle operation.

What about animal health? Speakers will talk about FDA regulations that may impact nutrition and feed additives, and we’ll take a closer look at the impact that Trichinosis is having on Iowa’s cow-calf, and perhaps seedstock producers.

Speaking of seedstock producers, the convention will have a session on the options you have for DNA testing in your herd, and how that information can help you make selection decisions.

Now, if you feel your head will be too full of information, we’ve also scheduled some fun time that will just let that info percolate into your brain. The first night of the convention will include the Jason Brown Band – an Iowa-grown and farm-raised musician who has a few Billboard Chart songs to his credit.

On Tuesday night, we’re bringing in Mike Schlappi, a man with an inspirational story that shows each of us that we can go on, despite hard times or tragedies. “Even if you can’t stand up,” Schlappi says, “you can stand out!”

‘Tis the season…to learn and welcome in a better New Year!

{Join us at the Convention! Cost for all three days-including meals-is just $125! Walk-ins welcome, or make sure your place is reserved by calling the ICA office. The number is (bear with me as a try to fight off web-crawling bots) five-15, two-96, two two-66.}

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