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Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center director's monthly column featured in Cattleman Magazine. Archives

Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine


January 2020

Sharpening the Saw

January can be a tough month in Iowa. Cold weather and short days always seem to make it seem longer than it really is. This is all the more reason to take a day or more to catch up on what is new in the industry and do some networking. Some call this "sharpening the saw" which is number 7 of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People." Clearly the world and the cattle industry are constantly changing, and keeping up to date on industry trends and new technologies and innovations is necessary. The good news is that January also is the time when the Iowa Beef Center partners with other states and groups to bring several major beef educational events across the state.

Feedlot Forum 2020, scheduled for Jan. 14 in Sioux Center, features cattle marketing – meeting today’s challenges and expectations. The speaker lineup includes Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of sustainability for JBS US; Greg Hanes, CEO for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Board and Colin Woodall, newly appointed CEO of NCBA; and Andrew Gottschalk, senior vice president for R.J. O’Brien and Associates. For more information contact Beth Doran or the Sioux County Extension Office. This event is brought to you by the Sioux, Lyon and Plymouth County Cattleman’s Associations along with IBC.

Later that same day (Jan. 14) is the Iowa site for the 2020 Three-State Beef which will focus on breeding management including the roles nutrition, technologies and vaccinations play. Speakers include Travis Mulliniks from the University of Nebraska, and Craig Payne and Jordan Thomas, Beef Reproduction Specialist, both from the University of Missouri. The Iowa event will take place at the Warren Cultural Center in Greenfield with registration beginning at 5:30 p.m. Contact the Adair County Extension Office to for more information. This event is hosted by the Iowa Beef Center, the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska.

The 49th Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference will be Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa. The conference offers free admission and is preceded by the KIIC Farm Show on the Friday afternoon. Keynote speakers will be Amanda Radke from BEEF Magazine and Tom Mastrobouni from Tyson Foods. The morning session includes Taylor Grussing of Vytelle covering the latest developments in IVF reproductive technology. Radke will then talk about her open letter to Ellen Degeneres and the role cow-calf producers should play in advocating for their industry. Mastrobouni will talk about plant-based protein sources and consumer trends in the protein business. The afternoon breakout sessions include lots of good information as well. More information is available at the website.

This year’s Driftless Region Beef Conference will be held Jan. 30-31 at the Grand River Center in Dubuque. Sustainability and animal welfare are the topics of the keynote speakers. Sara Place, Director of Sustainability for Elanco (formerly with NCBA) will highlight the program along with Lacey Alexander, animal welfare lead for Cargill Protein North America. In addition, there will be plenty of management tips and updates from speakers including Grant Dewell, Terry Engelken, Katy Lippolis and Lee Schulz from ISU; Wayne Coblentz (U. of Wisconsin); Josh McCann (U. of Illinois); Eldon Cole and Allison Meyer (U. of Missouri); Darrell Peel (Oklahoma State) and Galen Erickson (U. of Nebraska). For more information and to register, check out the website. The Driftless Region Beef Conference is sponsored by Iowa State, U. of Wisconsin and U. of Illinois.

The IBC at Iowa State University serves as the university’s extension program to cattle producers. Our center comprises a team of faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. We work together to develop and deliver the latest in research-based information to improve the profitability and vitality of Iowa’s beef industry. If you’d like to be notified of updates on progress of research projects or programs that might be coming to your area, please subscribe to our "Growing Beef" newsletter by following the link on our website, If you have a question, use the "Ask our Experts" link on the website. Also, feel free to call us at 515-294-BEEF or email us at You can also follow @iowabeefcenter on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.