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In a panel discussion format, the topic of cattle building is the focus. Moderated by Brian Waddingham, Executive Director, Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, panelists include: Peter Westra, Hull Coop; Jim Knuth, Farm Credit Services of America; Alan Friederichsen, Iowa Producers. Each of the panelists offer their perspectives on approaching designing buildings for cattle and handling the issues of space, manure, financing, and regulations.

Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University, looks to help producers with marking programs to take advantage of record cattle prices. Dr. Peel talks about the risk and market factors beef producers need to understand and look for opportunities.

Dr. Peel advises that 2015 will continue to have strong prices and herds rebuilding will continue. He also suggests that there will be margin squeeze for feedlots and packers.

Dr. Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University, talks about the business of stewardship in farming. Dr. Stokka offers that farmers need to re-engage in the disciplines of philosophy, animal husbandry and animal science (technology). He also suggests that farmers and ranchers emphasize the creativity and artistic gifts of their culture and philosophy.

Stewardship: A Philosophy of Life, Culture and Business - Dr. Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University, from the 2014 Iowa Cattle Industry Convention, December 8 - 10, 2014, Des Moines IA, USA

Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo, University of Minnesota, talks about the ecosystem of sustainability with respect to manure. What is in the manure that is of value to capture and what must be done to manage appropriately? Dr. DiCostanzo outlines the main drivers of sustainability in cattle feeding-farming operations and what data items should be monitored to understand the economic values.

Fertilizer Price, Manure Value and Farm Sustainability - Pt. 2 - Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo, University of Minnesota, from the 2014 Iowa Cattle Industry Convention, December 8 - 10, 2014, Des Moines IA, USA

Nicole Kenney, Extension Feedlot Nutrition and Management Team, University of Minnesota, talks about the value of manure. Ms. Kenney provides an historical perspective on where the cattle industry has been and how the reductions in herds changed the landscape. Additionally, Ms. Kenney provides an overview of a research study on the migration of cattle east / north and how cattle on feed is impacting new areas of the country. This change represents an opportunity to have more manure play a part in crop growth and rotation.

Joe Sellers, Iowa State University Extension and Dr. Scott Flynn, Dow AgroSciences, talk about beef cattle and the approaches to preventing fescue toxicosis. Mr Sellers details the cow physiology, how cattle nutrition is impacted, and what symptoms are important to notice.

Dr. Flynn focuses on the plant science and what testing needs to be done to identify infected plants. Dr. Flynn also details steps to mitigate fescue toxicosis.

Corinne Rowe, Justin Rowe, Sara Ross, Kevin Ross, and Kristin Porter share their views on agriculture and food. Each of them offer a view on what they are doing and how they think of agriculture.

Sara and Kristin both approach telling their stories through digital media. The whole group aims to share their family and cultural experiences with others outside of agriculture, encouraging others in farming to approach sharing their farms in a similar fashion.

Brett Stuart, Global AgriTrend, discovers and organizes global protein data and pulls back the conversation to what it means to US protein producers. Mr. Stuart shares a map that highlights that more people live inside the mapped circle than outside (most of China & India are shown) and they are where the markets opportunities are happening.

Mr. Stuart provides deep data on the markets and how they impact global economics. His key message: rising incomes will continue shift diets; China will need more corn, pork, oilseeds, and dairy.

Wade Dooley, Albion IA, shares his family's practical experience of working a 1,200+ acre crop and cattle operation in the vicinity of the Iowa river. Mr. Dooley talks about their grazing and crop rotation tactics, highlighting the "gifts" that Mother Nature frequently gives and what they do to work through them.

One of his key stories is turning a flooded corn field into an oat and turnip field and being able to feed 80 cattle for three weeks on 65 acres on that field. Wade says with cover crops, timing is everything.

Warren Weibert, Feedyard Consultant with Decatur County Feed Yard, shares his family's story of building and developing a feedlot. Mr. Weibert focuses on the philosophy he took in 1980 to consciously work directly with ranchers on retained ownership of calves.

Warren's key take aways: You cannot manage what you do not measure, and people in the beef trade will have to focus on thoughtful, consistent delivery of predictable eating experience to our eventual consumer.