Written by Theresa Rose
Friday, 29 April 2011
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 all-American 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 co-products 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