Beef Edition

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mount Ayr Record-News

Featuring a visit with Mike and Nancy Ford

2 • Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Forage, cattle play key roles in Ford
BY ALAN SMITH Having good land to farm, improving his cattle herd with stock from a number of quality area livestock producers, having good neighbors to help each other out and trying to improve the land so that it is even better for generations to come -- these are all part of the farming philosophy of Mike Ford of Tingley. Mike and Nancy Ford began farming in 1976 and he still partners with his mother, Margaret Ford, who is 90 years old, on the farm located south of Tingley. She got out of the livestock portion of the business this last year when a group of heifers she and her son owned together were sold, but they still share the crop operation. Ford noted that as far as cattle production in Ringgold county goes, he’s not one of the big producers. “There are a lot of herds that are father and son operations that are expanding rapidly that have much more.” Of course, Ford notes, how one determines how big a farmer is can depend on the definition. “I heard one onetime that said that a big farmer is one who has twice as large an operation as you and a small farmer is one who has half as big an operation as you,” he said. “It can all be kind of relative as to where you see yourself.” “I have focused much of my energy on row crop work, but I do enjoy the cattle as well.” He has a commercial cow-calf operation. He purchases purebred Angus heifers when he needs replacements instead of choosing heifers from his own cattle crop. Currently he has 81 cows. He purchases Charolais and Angus bulls from area producers for his herd. “We have some excellent livestock producers in the area from which to purchase heifers and bulls for our operation,” he noted. The group of 13 heifers he purchased this year that recently calved are from the George Bailey operation near Creston. That’s where he got one set of twins that the Fords helped bottle feed to get them grown. He had an orphan calf that also got the bottle treatment to get it started. That’s the grey calf that is running with the herd of young heifers which he keeps on new pasture land he is renting this year. The new calf crop is born in the spring, he weans the calves in the fall around Halloween time and backgrounds the calves so they are ready to sell to feeders shortly after the first of the year. This year has been a good year for calving in his herds. “Except for 10 days in April, this has been a good livestock spring,” he said. He has three herds of cows that are bred so they calve close together. The calves have been born beginning in March and he is down to having two more cows to deliver this year. This year he has had two sets of twins and only lost one calf so he hopes to have 100 percent calf crop or better. “It doesn’t always go that well,” Ford said. He has worked with Hilltop Veterinary Clinic and Keith Miller and Dan Weddle to help with the health needs of his cattle herd. “They have really helped me a lot with advice and recommendations over the years,” he noted. ”When I first got started I worked off the farm a long time so we would have a steady paycheck, and they would let me know when they thought I was letting something slip with my cattle herd.” “Things like keeping pasture quality up, keeping fences in good shape and other aspects of the operation were sometimes not where the focus was when I was choring in the morning, going off to a job, and then coming home to finish what I could get done in a day,” he said. Being able to make the farm a personal business that he focuses on has been something he enjoys. One of the things that Ford does is to take some corn in a bucket to the cattle everyday. It’s something that his father did before him. It probably isn’t necessary, but Ford says that it creates a relationship where the cattle will come to him when he needs them to be moved or handled -- just by the sight of the bucket and what they know may be in it. He notes that cattle get used to how they are handled. He points to the cattle owned by Jim Werner, where horses are used to check on the cattle. They respond to the horses but wouldn’t know what to do with a fourwheeler. On the other hand Doyle Richards uses four-wheelers to check on the cattle and they wouldn’t know what to do if someone rode in on a horse to check on them. One of the challenges of raising cattle is that they find their way out of fences. “I have good neighbors who have experience with cattle and we can help each other

Mike Ford feeds bottles to twin calves born this spring while their mother looks on.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition •


family farming
when cattle get out,” he said. “It always seems that the cattle get out when you are 100 miles from home and having neighbors you can call to help take care of the problem is a real blessing.” He noted that he did not replace as many heifers this year as he has in the past because he did not want to crowd his pastures too much. Turning out cattle in hay ground about state fair time means that some of the best quality hay of the year is being eaten and he would rather be baling it and selling it. Selling hay as a cash crop for others to feed to livestock has become an important part of the Ford farming operation. “I harvest hay in square bales as well as the large round bales,” Ford noted. “Being able to get up to four crops from a field versus one from the corn and soybean ground is a plus. And growing hay for sale has taught me a lot about quality forage for my own cattle operation.” “Coming up with hay that horse people will want to purchase is interesting,” Ford says of one of the markets he grows and harvests hay for. “As I get older and slow down, I think growing and harvesting hay will be one of the areas I put more emphasis on,” Ford said. “As cattle herds expand, I think there will be a growing demand for good quality hay,” he said. “Cattlemen in large operations won’t be able to justify all the land they need for forage so will be looking to purchase good hay.” He noted that as some of his land came out of the Conservation Reserve Program, he has seeded it down for pasture or hay production. “I fenced it in, had some ponds built and seeded it down for some good quality pasture,” he noted. “A lot of the things I have been doing lately have been in anticipation of improving the land so that it will be good land to rent to someone else at some point in the future.” So far this spring pastures are looking good and the hay crop is off to a good start. “We could use some more heat here pretty quick, however,” he said. The warm days earlier this spring really got the grass to growing.” Altogether with the land he owns with his mother and rents from other landowners, he puts in 1,300 acres of corn and beans each year. He rents some pasture close to his farm along with owning pasture and hay ground as well. He cash rents pasture and hay ground and crop shares on other ground around the area. Ford says that he farms some land owned by absentee landowers from out of state that he has never met but that he deals with a farm manager for day-to-day operations. “I always have tried to farm in a way so that the land is in better shape for the next person who will farm it,” he noted. “After all, we are really just stewards over the land and we need to be looking to the future knowing that someone else will be farming this land someday and we need to keep improving it so they have something that will be able to sustain them.” He hires his brother Tom to help him with the harvest every year. When Tom was farming close by, they shared equipment, but when Tom got out of the farming business, he still was willing to help at times. He let some of the land he has rented in the past go back so some young farmers in the community would have land to rent. “When I started farming at 26 or 27, people gave me an opportunity and I like to see other people get a start now,” he notes. He sees farming as being something that takes people helping people. He said he received his first paycheck as a 14-year-old when he rode his bicycle to the farm of Roger Morrison each day during haying season to help pick up hay. He said he ____________________________________ Continued on page 4 Mike, Kristen and Nancy Ford are shown on their farm spread south of Tingley.

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4 • Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Much of crops planted in 10-day run
____________________________________ Continued from page 3 felt like he was rich when he had a $100 pay day for the work he did. He believes that older farmers need to be looking toward the next generation and giving encouragement and the opportunity for others to get started in the business. There have been ups and downs over the years, he noted. He remembers wanting to purchase land in the land boom of the 1970s when his father’s advice was that the prices were getting too high and they’d never be able to pay off the land. The high interest prices of that period helped lead to a collapse of land prices. In 1989 he and his family were photographed standing in a puddle that had been a pond for an article from Wallace’s Farmer telling about how the drought was affecting farmers in southern Iowa. When looking at the future of agriculture, Ford notes that it is only going to become more capital intensive. “We have high livestock and high crop prices right now at the same time, he noted. The trend over the years is that one or the other can be high, but they usually don’t both come in high at the same time,” he said. With higher prices for livestock and crops, the cost of food goes up at the grocery store and people complain, he noted. People need to remember that most of the increases don’t make their way back down to the farmer, however. With that said, he noted that it was a good time to be raising corn and beans. On the other side, inputs are rising quickly as well in terms of land rent, fertilizer and the like. With the growth of the input costs, the bottom line isn’t as big as the high commodity prices might indicate. Another part of his operation has been the Garst seed business, which he got into as a sidelight but keeps him busy every spring. Having a good relationship with his seed customers has been a blessing as well. When he is not available, the customers often come in and pick up their own product. “I’ve never been shorted a bag of seed in 12 years as a seed dealer,” Ford noted. An added advantage is that neighbors and customers help keep an eye on things around the Ford farm when they are not there. This has been an interesting spring for getting crops in, he noted. As a seed dealer, he has a good feel for how the planting season is going, at least for his customers. “Based on my seed deliveries we are about 80 percent done,” he said. “There was a 10-day run from May 1-10, where this year’s planting was able to be done. There have been years when we’ve got a good start in April and had to plant in late May, but I don’t remember a full 10-day stretch like we have early this month where most everything was able to be planted in such of compact stretch.” On the land he farms, Ford has all his corn in and one third of his beans planted. He and his wife, Nancy, have three children. They have lived on the home farm for more years than his parents did before him, he notes. Nancy manages the Heritage Park Apartments in Mount Ayr, the Tingley Housing Apartments in Tingley and two sets of apartments in Osceola, helping the elderly remain independent in good quality housing. Son Kyle, 27, graduated from Simpson College with a degree in education and a focus on special education and teaches in the Norwalk school district. Daugher Kristen, 25, lives at home and takes advantage of the many programs from Ringgold County Supportive Services in Mount Ayr. Son Kirk, 21, is a junior at Simpson College, majoring in economics and criminal justice. He and his family attend St. Edwards Catholic Church in Afton, where he has attended since he was born. They have been members of the Ringgold County Cattlemen’s Association since he began farming and were active in the Pork Producers when they still raised hogs as part of their operation, which they do not do anymore. “Farming has been good to me and I can’t see me doing anything else,” he said. “I enjoy visiting other places but this is the place I always come back to.”

Cows and calves line up against the fence in a rented pasture north of the Mike Ford home place when called up by Ford.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition •


Social responsibility report by beef farmers
Cattlemen across the country are pleased to announce the release of “The Cattlemen’s Stewardship Review: Connecting Our Vision and Values,” a firstof-its-kind inside look at cattlemen’s influence on the nation’s communities, the economy, public health and the environment. The “Cattlemen’s Stewardship Review” comes at a critical point in time when people are more disconnected from agriculture and food production, yet there is an increasing interest in knowing more about who raises food. In fact, nearly three-out-of-four people say that they want to know more about how beef is raised and who raises it, according to research conducted with beef checkoff funds. Built on a statement of seven fundamental principles adopted by U.S. cattle farmer and rancher leaders at the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in February 2011, the Review details cattlemen’s commitment to preserving the environment, raising healthy cattle, providing quality food, enhancing food safety, investing in communities, embracing innovation and creating a sustainable future for generations to come. “Being a cattle farmer is a challenge these days,” says Elaine Utesch of Triple U Ranch in Correctionville, IA. “We don’t cut corners on food safety nor on the methods used to raise our cattle. We like the reputation of providing the most reasonably priced, safest, most nutritious food in the world. The Cattlemen’s Stewardship Review proactively provides a great summary for consumers to learn how the beef they eat is raised.” The Review is broken into five key sections, which showcase key accomplishments of U.S cattle farmers and ranchers, including: • U.S. cattlemen provide 20 percent of the world’s beef with only seven percent of the world’s cattle, meaning that they are helping provide valuable nutrients to a growing population both in the United States and abroad. • Since 1993, cattlemen have invested $30 million of their beef check-

off dollars in safety improvements. Collaborative beef-industry efforts have helped reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses, including E. coli O157:H7, which now affects less than one person in 100,000 people. • More than 90 percent of feedyard cattle raised in the U.S. today are influenced by Beef Quality Assurance (BQA), a checkoff-funded program that sets guidelines for animal care and handling. • Between 1977 and 2007 the “carbon footprint” of beef shrank 18 percent as farmers and ranchers raised 13 percent more beef with 13 percent fewer cattle. When compared to 1977, each pound of beef raised in 2007 used

20 percent less feed, 30 percent less land, 14 percent less water and nine percent less fossil-fuel energy. • Environmental efforts by cattle farmers and ranchers help manage and protect more than 500 million acres of permanent grassland and a variety of wildlife and endangered species. • Nearly one-half of cattle farmers and ranchers volunteer with youth organizations and more than one-third donate their time to other civic organizations, compared to a national average of seven percent of all Americans. The Review is available at, along with short videos of stakeholder interviews discussing the beef industry’s accomplishments.

6 • Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Iowa beef producers on Meat Mission to Mexico
Dan Cook, New Providence and Scott Niess, Osage, represented Iowa beef producers on an Iowa Meat Trade Mission to Mexico, in mid-February. Cook, Chair of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, reports that Mexico is still the United States’ largest export market for beef and beef variety meats both in volume and value. “Price is still the biggest issue, as the Mexican economy is also under stress. Mexican families value meat in their family meals, and beef is their preferred protein; we know we will sell more beef when their economy improves,” says Cook, cow-calf producer. “We export many beef cuts and variety meats that are in less demand by U.S. consumers. Their most requested cuts include inside rounds, goosenecks (bottom round), skirt steaks, chuck clods, and variety meats such as tripe (stomach).” The Iowa trade team met with meat processors, government agencies, importers and meat industry officials in both Mexico City and Guadalajara and toured meat processing plants and retail supermarkets. “We have a team of Mexican meat buyers coming to Iowa in May to tour our plants. Iowa has been able to develop a relationship with these buyers over the years because of this kind of exchange between our countries and our meat industries,” adds Scott Niess, cattle feeder and treasurer of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “We look forward to welcoming them and showing them an Iowa cattle farm and other processing facilities.” The Meat Trade Mission was coordinated by the Iowa Department of Economic Development International Division. Other attendees included members of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and private Iowa meat businesses. Partial funding for the mission was provided by the beef checkoff. The Iowa team met with U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) staff who is responsible for marketing U.S. beef and pork internationally. They also provide educational programs in meat preparation, cutting, product safety and handling. The beef checkoff helps fund USMEF’s educational and promotional activities.

Iowans interviewed for documentary on raising beef
Food production has become one of the most publicized topics in this decade, yet many consumers don’t know where to find accurate information about the people who grow, cultivate and raise the food they eat. Two Iowa families took part in a project that allows consumers learn about beef production straight from the source - the people who do it every day. America’s cattle farmers and ranchers, through beef checkoff funding, commissioned three student filmmakers to direct and produce videos on beef farming and ranching. Three 20 minute documentary style films were produced. They address issues such as animal care and environmental sustainability while exploring the families that raise beef. To ensure an objective view, none of the filmmakers had close ties to the beef industry or agriculture in general. Triple U Ranch located in Woodbury county and the Iowa River Ranch

in Hardin county were two of the 30 beef farmers, ranchers and experts in 10 different states that took part in the project. “We welcomed the opportunity to share our story. We take great pride in producing safe, wholesome beef for America’s dinner plates,” said Elaine Utesch of Triple U Ranch and Vice Chairman of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “Caring for the land and the cattle is our way of life. It is who we are and what we do. We hope this film sheds light on the dedication and passion we have for not only producing a great food product but for protecting our environment for the generations to come.” Both Iowa families were interviewed for the video produced by Kevin Smith, a graduate student at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Smith’s video discusses the environmental impact of beef farming and ranching. The three student documentaries can be viewed on

Scott Niess, cattle-feeder from Osage (left) and Dan Cook, cow-calf producer from New Providence (right) meet a chef in a Mexican supermarket during a beef promotion coordinated by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition •


Cattle feeder receives Iowa BQA Award
Bill Couser, cattle feeder from Nevada, Iowa, was named the 2011 Iowa Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Award winner for his commitment to beef quality assurance while operating a sustainable cattle operation. Couser, wife Nancy and son Tim operate Couser Cattle Company. They were honored at the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Annual Convention in Ottumwa, Iowa, on February 25. “We as Iowa cattlemen have a responsibility to maintain and uphold consumer perceptions of beef as one of the safest and highest quality products for their family. As livestock producers we pledge to continue this feeling of security through BQA programs and ensure that producers are continuously educated on sound science production practices,” said Bill Couser, a fourth generation cattle feeder. Couser Cattle Company is a familyowned feedlot with a 3500 head capacity. Couser and his feedlot manager, Adrian Meyer, work as a team when managing the feedlot which has been updated to improve performance, to adapt to changing environmental requirements and to enhance animal welfare for the cattle operation. Couser embraces BQA concepts by ensuring that his employees are BQAtrained. A relationship with Iowa State University veterinarians helps ensure his health treatment protocols adhere to BQA guidelines and techniques. Regularly scheduled visits by consulting nutritionists ensure safety and quality of feed rations. Employees also use low-stress handling techniques to move cattle. A recent investment in a monoslope building has allowed cattle more protection from the elements and a cleaner and dryer environment adding to their comfort while adapting to changing environmental requirements. These efforts have not only enhanced animal comfort, but have improved performance of the cattle. Couser was nominated by Drs. Terry Engelken and Renee Dewell of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Engelken says, “We appreciate Bill’s willingness to ‘spread the gospel’ of BQA by sponsoring public BQA training sessions at their feedlot and allowing veterinary students access to their facilities and animals for teaching purposes. His efforts have resulted in more than 100 ISU veterinary students becoming BQA-certified.” Beef Quality Assurance is a national program for beef cattle production that assures the highest standards of animal care and treatment. It was developed with guidance from leading animal health and well-being experts and outlines essential elements for cattle care. More than 90 percent of all U.S. beef is raised under the BQA program.

2011 Iowa’s Best Burger winner is named
The Rusty Duck restaurant in Dexter is the home of Iowa’s Best Burger in 2011. What started as a field of 275 nominated Iowa restaurants was whittled down to a Top Ten round. A secret panel of judges selected the Rusty Duck as the top location to get a hamburger. Owner Brad Waldron is also the cook at this 90-seat bar and grille. Eighty percent of his cooking time is spent preparing beef at the restaurant about 30 miles west of West Des Moines. The secret to his great burgers, Waldron said, is beef. Well, it’s a little more detailed than that. “It’s fresh-ground, hand-pattied beef.” Waldron buys choice boxed beef and cuts his own steaks. The trim from the top loin and sirloin goes into the grinder and becomes the ground beef for his burgers. Then he hand-patties the grind into two sizes – 14 ounces, and eight ounces. The attention to beef was not lost on the judges. “We cared about burgers, plain and simple. Some nominees had creative garnishing, ranging from fried eggs to hot peppers to onion strings but in the final determination, it was the quality and taste of the beef which held our attention,” they wrote in their comments. “The burger is the all–American classic served in almost every restaurant from the local café to the finest white tablecloth establishment,” said Dan Cook, a New Providence cattle farmer who is chairman of the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC). IBIC and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sponsored the contest. Other Top Ten restaurants (in alphabetical order) are: Bancroft Drive Inn, Bancroft; Coon Bowl III, Coon Rapids; Dublin’s Food & Spirits, Emmetsburg and The Dugout, Ute. Also, Farmer’s Kitchen, Atlantic;

Grinnell Steakhouse, Grinnell; The Irish Shanti, Gunder; Rube’s Steakhouse, Montour; and 61 Chop House, Mediapolis. The Rusty Duck received a plaque and a media package prize that included an on-site live radio announcement. This is the second year IBIC and ICA have sponsored the contest. Last year’s winner was the Sac County Cattle Company of Sac City.

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8 • Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Expert tips for creating the perfect beef lovers’ experience
Expert tips for creating the perfect beef lovers’ experience There are as many ways to prepare beef, as there are reasons to love beef, according to the Iowa Beef Industry Council. To celebrate May Beef Month, the council is providing some sizzling advice from Chef Dave Zino, with the Beef Culinary Center of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “It just might be the inspiration you need to kick off your summer grilling season this month,” said Elaine Utesch, cattle farmer from Correctionville and vicechair of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “The key to that unforgettable beef meal is to match your steak or roast to the proper cooking method to ensure tender results,” adds Utesch. “The filet mignon, T-Bone and sirloin taste best when cooked using dry heat, which is characterized by quick cooking at higher temperatures. That’s why these cuts work so well when grilled,” Chef Dave said. “Broiling or cooking in a skillet are also ways to cook with dry heat. For less tender cuts, such as the chuck roast or bottom round roast, moist heat cooking techniques, such as braising and stewing, are best.” Zino had additional tips for lovingly creating the beef dishes you love: • Hit the right temperature: insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally

into the side of a steak to check doneness. Aim for a reading between 145°F (medium rare) to 160°F (medium), which are the ideal temperatures for tender, juicy steaks. • Bring out the best: pair a marinade or rub with the appropriate cut to bring out the best in beef. For naturally tender steaks such as flat iron, ribeye, top sirloin, top loin, tenderloin, porterhouse and T-bone, apply a simple rub made with fresh herbs, garlic and spices for at least 15 minutes but no more than two hours. For less-tender steaks such as the top round, flank or skirt, a marinade incorporating an acidic ingredient such as vinegar, wine or citrus juice, will tenderize and add flavor. For best results, marinate these cuts at least six hours but no more than 24 hours. • Create chemistry: beef develops its desirable flavor and aroma during the cooking process, especially when browned. Browning causes beef’s proteins and carbohydrates to caramelize, resulting in a burst of intense flavor that’s sure to seduce beef lovers. Use a medium-heat setting and be sure not to crowd the pan for optimum browning and flavor development. • Unleash the power: umami, which comes from the Japanese word for “delicious,” is the fifth taste described as meaty or savory. To amp up the flavor intensity of already-delicious beef,

Katelyn Warin is the 2011 Ringgold County Beef Queen. She is the daughter of Joe and Donna Warin of Maloy. She was crowned by last year’s queen Taylen Abarr. Katelyn is a junior at Mount Ayr Community High School and is active in 4-H and County Council, FFA, Student Council, volleyball, basketball and track. Katelyn enjoys showing heifers and takes an active part in cattle and beef production on their family farm. Some of her duties include event appearances, volunteer opportunities and other beef industry promotional activities. marry it with other natural sources of umami, like mushrooms, tomatoes or aged cheese, for a synergistic flavor explosion. Practice safe serving: keep raw meat separate from other foods both in the refrigerator and during preparation. Wash hands, all utensils and surfaces in hot, soapy water after contact with raw meat. Never place cooked meat on platters that held raw meat; use clean serving platters and utensils. Serve cooked food promptly and refrigerate immediately after serving (within two hours after cooking). For more ideas on creating the ultimate beef experience, visit and click on the “Cooking with Beef” tab for a chart that matches cooking methods with various cuts of beef.

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1424 220th Street Benton, Iowa 50835 Phone 641-785-2315 Cell 641-340-3419 1703 W. South Street, Mount Ayr • Ph. 641-464-3268

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ringgold County Cattlewomen, Recently at the Ringgold County Cattlemen & Cattlewomens anual meeting, I had an “ah-ha” moment. As we were thanking everyone for all the help during the year for cattlewomen, I looked out in the crowd. There sat Becky Werner Hayes. She was a former beef queen for us several years ago and there she was taking time from her busy life to come to the meeting. Her sister, Bonnie Werner Larson, is also a past beef queen that is active in the business and also a busy mom. I got to thinking, Ann Walkup Schlapia had joined cattlewomen that night, and “yep” another beef queen. We all know how much another beef queen has done through the last few years. Landi McFarland is out spreading the word and a great spokeswoman for us. I am sure I have missed some after all of these years but it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling seeing these fine young women coming back to their roots of cattlewomen and sticking around. We are proud of all of you gals and sorry if I missed another one. We have great respect for the former beef queens who had fullfilled their dreams of going to college in agriculture related majors. We wish them all the best. Whether it’s big strides or just when they go to the grocery store and maybe tell that women beside you at the meat counter how great some cut of beef is. You make us proud! This year’s new beef queen is Katelyn Warin, daughter of Joe and Donna Warin. She hit the ground running being in the St.Patricks’s parade already this year. We know she will be a great queen and we look forward to working with her. Last year’s queen, Taylen Abarr, did a fantastic job. She was a busy gal and it was nice to see her proud to wear the crown at several things. Thanks so much to her, and to her folks Jim and Sharon for helping her get to everything. Thanks to the officers and cattlewomen. Thanks to Brenda Willis for doing the queen contest again this year, and Sherry Haidsiak for being treasurer and always ready to help out. As long as we keep gaining a few gals each year it gives us a lot of hope. We got through another year and it has helped so much since you all step up to help do “whatever.” I recently lost my mother-in-law, Mildred Bickel. We want to pause and remember all of the women through the years like her and my mother. Out milking cows the hard way and working so hard. Dale said when he was a kid, they hand-milked (lost art... thank goodness) and she would beat them everytime. They (and many others) were the pioneers of the interest in the beef industry. We salute them all, and all the other women being proud to stand for our great prouduct. Makes me want to go thaw out some steaks! Marla Bickel Contact person for Ringgold County Cattlewomen

We are proud to support the area cattlemen.

Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition •


2010 Cattlewomen Report

Dave and Lori Freed

Mount Ayr • Ph. 641-464-2600 HOURS: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; SaturdayTHEY CAN SOME LENDERS SAY by appointment.


Beef Quality Assurance certification in Iowa When families sit down to eat meals together, they expect their food to be safe and wholesome. When choosing beef as a main dish, there’s no doubt their expectations will be met. In fact, caring and responsible beef producers provide these expectations through programs like the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. According to Matt Deppe, Director of Industry Relations at the Iowa Beef Industry Council, the BQA program was created more that 20 years ago by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association with the purpose of bringing together beef producers with one strong goal: to produce safe, wholesome beef that provides a great eating experience every time. In Iowa, the BQA program is sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) and is funded through the $1-per-head beef checkoff. Nearly 6,400 Iowa beef producers have been BQA certified since 1999. “The BQA program’s mission is to maximize consumer confidence in beef while exceeding their eating expectations,” said _____________________________

Continued on page 11

Mount Ayr Tractor and Machine
Come see us for all your agricultural and machining needs where you get personal service with a guarantee.

Jay and Pat Meester
Ph. 641-464-2400
Thanks to the commercial cattlemen in Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri who have purchased bulls and heifers since 1968.
® ®









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10 • Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beef exports delivering solid returns for producers
U.S. beef exports set a new value record in 2010, topping $4 billion for the first time in history. It was also the first time our beef export value exceeded the pre-BSE level of 2003, marking a long climb back from that major setback. But how does this export success story translate to the bottom line of cattle producers? What kind of return are they getting from the beef checkoff dollars invested in foreign marketing? One way to gauge the impact is to calculate the export value per head of fed slaughter, which averaged $153 last year and climbed as high as $183 in December. As the attached chart indicates, per-head export value showed very impressive gains over 2009 – especially in the final months of the year. Though the U.S. beef industry exports only about 12 percent of its total production, much of the volume consists of underutilized muscle cuts and variety meat that command a premium in the foreign markets. For example, about 90 percent of the short ribs, short plate and livers from our fed slaughter are exported, delivering a far better return than they could generate domestically. Variety meat and underutilized cuts can also serve as entry-level products for certain destinations that can eventually be developed into higher-value markets. Did you know the United States exported more than $260 million worth of beef to the Middle East last year? That was a 77 percent increase over 2009 and nearly 10 times the value we exported there just four years ago. One of the reasons for this value growth is that we’ve expanded our Middle East beyond livers and other variety meat, to include nearly $160 million in muscle cuts. Russia offers a similar success story, as 2010 U.S. beef exports to Russia doubled in volume but quadrupled in value in a single year. How did this happen? In 2009, more than 60 percent of our export value to Russia was variety meat – mostly livers. But even though variety meat exports to Russia nearly doubled in value last year, muscle exports exploded by nearly 600 percent – reaching $106 million for the year. So while Russia is still an outstanding market for beef variety meat, it now makes up only 30 percent of our export value to Russia.

E x port v a lue per hea d of U.S . s teers /heifers s la ughtered $200 $180 $160 $140 $120 $100 $80 $60 $40 $20 $0

About two-thirds of the value of U.S. beef exports is derived from our top four mainstay markets – Mexico, Canada, Japan and South Korea. But compare that with 2003 – when these markets accounted for more than 90 percent of our export value – and you can see that our overseas presence is now much broader and more diverse. This is absolutely essential if U.S. beef exports are going to continue to grow and contribute to the viability of our nation’s cattle industry.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition •


May is Beef Month in Iowa
Each spring as Iowans fire up their grills, they rekindle their love affair with beef. Now is a great time to celebrate May Beef Month, whether it’s with a thick juicy T-bone or the allAmerican hamburger. Your celebration honors hard-working cattle farmers and their families. They are that first step in producing safe, nutritious beef and they are at work in all 99 Iowa counties. (Yes, beef is a local food!) Again, it is at the farm level that the economic benefits from beef production start. In Iowa, we have 30,000 farm families that raise cattle but their work needs to be supplemented by many who make sure that the beef produced here makes it to your dinner plate. That includes feed manufacturers and equipment dealers, truck drivers and food marketers. Raising cattle also supports many other Iowa farmers, too. Cattle eat feed made from millions of bushels of corn, soybeans and the coproducts of these grains. Iowa has a unique beef industry with the resources needed to raise high quality cattle. We have abundant feedstuffs, rolling hills best kept in pasture and the experienced cow-calf farmers and cattle feeders to produce some of the highest quality beef in the country. Iowa’s cattle farmers are passionate about the environment. We depend on the land and its resources for our livelihood so good management of the environment and our livestock is mandatory. We’re committed to leaving the environment in better shape for the next generation – our families. Iowa cattle families have long been honored for their environmental stewardship which not only conserves, but improves natural resources. Recently honored as the 2011 National Environmental Stewardship Award winners, the Bill and Nancy Couser family of Nevada, share their passion for “doing things right.” Couser Cattle Company is a third generation feedlot operation located in the fertile lands of Story county in central Iowa. The Cousers strive to minimize impact on the environment and maximize resources. They raise the seed corn that produces the grain for ethanol and use the distillers grains from the ethanol to feed their cattle. They use the manure from the cattle to fertilize the next crop of seed corn so that this natural cycle can continue. Cousers join two other Iowa cattle families in receiving this national award. The Dave Petty family, operators of the Iowa River Ranch, Eldora and the Utesch family, Triple U Ranch, Correctionville, received the award in the recent past. Iowa cattle producers are proud of their role in feeding consumers in Iowa, the U.S. and the world. You can let your local cattle farmers know they are appreciated by enjoying a juicy hamburger or thick steak on the grill tonight.

More on beef news _____________________________
Continued from page 9
Deppe, who directs Iowa’s program. According to the IBIC, the BQA program is a two-year certification process in which anyone directly responsible for beef production and the handling or administration of pesticides, feed additives, pharmaceuticals or vaccines can be certified. Deppe says that the BQA system works to prevent defects in the end product by focusing on good production practices at every production segment. “Beef Quality Assurance emphasizes the day-to-day management practices that influence the production of safe, wholesome beef. The program also instructs beef producers on the proper use of animal health products, environmental management, record keeping and sampling procedures for feed and feed ingredients. In today’s environment, all of these elements are extremely important to consumers,” said Deppe. Deppe also added that the program is continually improved and enhanced. A new component of the BQA program, according to Deppe, is an increased emphasis on cattle care and handling and how low-stress management techniques have a positive impact on cattle health and performance. Deppe said he is often asked why it is important for producers to become certified. In answer to that, he says that state and national industry organizations believe it’s important for beef producers to maintain and build con-

sumer confidence in purchased beef. He also pointed out that producers will benefit from the required recordkeeping. These records can be passed on with the cattle from owner to buyer, resulting in more informed business decisions. To become BQA certified, contact Matt Deppe at the Iowa Beef Industry Council (515-296-2305) or contact your local veterinarian. ISU Extension short course Livestock producers with an interest in beginning or transitioning grazing practices can sharpen their skills by attending a series of eastern Iowa Greenhorn Grazing workshops offered by Iowa State University Extension. This Greenhorn Grazing short course consists of five different modules taught over the grazing season. “Greenhorn Grazing is designed for graziers interested in a more controlled or management-intensive grazing system,” said Denise Schwab, ISU Extension livestock specialist. “Producers who want to optimize forage and livestock production, increase market access and conserve natural resources will find the modules very informative.” The workshops will begin promptly at 1 p.m. and will last through late afternoon. The sessions are scheduled for June 8, July 6, Aug. 4, Aug. 30 and early November. For more information on specific locations or to register, contact the Benton County Extension Office, at 319-473-4739. For more details contact Denise Schwab at 319-721-9624 or

Thank You
We appreciate the support we have received from everyone in the area.
4 K Family Ltd. Partnership Warren Angus Bailey Farms Terry Barnes Bentley Farms Bickel Farms Randy Bishop Garry Bjustrom Brammer Farms Robert Buck Martin Cameron Clearview Partnership Farm Jerry or Judy Cooper Dan Coulson - Coulson Charolais Jim Coulson Daughton Farms Diagonal Building Products Roger Dolecheck Andy Dugan Elliott Farms Todd England Lee Faris Rodney Faris Mike Ford Garrett Farms Glendenning Motor Co. Melvin Gray Great Western Bank H & M Akers, Ltd. George Haidsiak Hays Land & Cattle Hilltop Veterinary Clinic Holmes Cattle Co. Hoover Angus Farm James Hullinger Hy-Vee Food Store - Mount Ayr Alan and Lois Ibbotson Iowa Angus Association Kelly James Ed Johnston - Johnston Charolais Klejch Insurance Agency Gary Klejch Will and Bonnie Larson Reggie and Marty Lesan McDonnell Appliance Mount Ayr Record-News Mount Ayr Veterinary Clinic Lincoln Parrish Plum Creek Dude Farm Doyle and Connie Richards Wayde Ross James Routh Henry Russell Shafer Insurance Agency Southwest Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative Jerry Stephens Steve’s Tractor Repair Taygold Cooperative Taylor Farms Tyler Insurance Service, Inc. Vetter Equipment Dale Walkup Joseph Warin Weehler Farms Jim Werner Craig Willis Wm. H. French Agency Brian Wimer Officers are: District Representative Jim Werner President - Trent Johnston Vice-President - Brian Wimer

Ringgold County Cattlemen’s Association

12 • Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Edition

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fiery Beef Satay Skewers
Ingredients: Marinade:
Total recipe time: 20 minutes; marinade time: 20 minutes; makes 4 servings 1-1/2 pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1-1/2 inches thick 5 to 6 green onions, white part only, cut into 1-inch pieces

Spicy Cheeseburger Sliders
Total recipe time: 25 to 30 minutes; makes 8 sliders 1 pound ground beef (96% lean) 9 small whole wheat hamburger buns, split, divided 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder 2 slices pepper Jack cheese, cut in quarters

1/2 cup country Dijon-style mustard 1/2 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup honey 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 4 teaspoons bottled minced or fresh crushed garlic 1 tablespoon ground red pepper


Barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato slices, pickles (optional)


1. In large shallow bowl, combine marinade ingredients; whisk until blended. Remove and reserve half cup for basting. Trim fat from beef steak; cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes. Add beef to remaining marinade in bowl; toss to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes. 2. Remove beef from marinade; discard marinade. Alternately thread an equal amount of beef and green onion pieces onto each of four 12-inch metal skewers. 3. Place skewers on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 10 to 12 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, basting frequently with reserved half cup marinade and turning occasionally. Serve immediately.


1. Tear one hamburger bun into pieces. Place in food processor or blender container. Cover; pulse on and off, to form fine crumbs. 2. Combine bread crumbs, beef, garlic and chili powder in medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into eight 1/2-inch thick mini patties. 3. Place patties on grill over medium. Grill, covered, 8 to 9 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 10 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally. Evenly top with cheese during last minute of grilling. 4. Place burgers on bottoms of remaining eight buns. Top with desired Toppings. Close sandwiches.

Hamburger, steak, roasts, corned beef, brisket…there are many choices when it comes to choosing your favorite beef items. For May Beef Month, the Mount Ayr Record-News will let you choose your beef favorite with a beef gift certificate which can be used at area grocery stores or restaurants. Just sign up by answering the trivia questions and filling out

Do You Know Your Beef?
Mount Ayr Record-News Beef Trivia & Beef Certificate Drawing

the registration form. (The answers are in the text of the Beef Edition.) Mail it back to the Mount Ayr Record-News or drop it off at the Record-News by the deadline –– Friday, May 27. The Mount Ayr Record-News will have a drawing for $25 in beef gift certificates from the entries and announce the winners in the June 2 issue.

1) Who is the new 2011 Ringgold County Beef Queen? 2) How many cows does Mike Ford currently have? 3) Where did the U.S. export more than $260 million worth of beef to last year? 4) What restaurant was named the Iowa’s Best Burger of 2011? 5) What does USMEF stand for? 6) How many years has Mike Ford been a seed dealer ? Name City State Address Zip Phone

Mail or drop this entry by the Mount Ayr Record-News, 122 W. Madison, P.O. Box 346, Mount Ayr, IA 50854 by Friday, May 27 to be eligible for the drawing.

Record News
Mount Ayr
Ringgold County’s News and Advertising Source Since 1864

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