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Out of dairy, but still into cattle

By Staff | May 3, 2013

JULIE AND SCOTT take advantage of a break in the spring weather to grill rib-eyes on their rural Osage farmstead. Scott Neiss is chairman of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, which oversees spending of Beef Checkoff dollars.



OSAGE – Scott and Julie Niess had a dairy herd of 65 cows until 2009 when they quit the dairy business. Scott Niess describes himself as a “retired dairyman.”

But that does not mean you will see him on the golf course more often or taking more frequent naps.

Besides the 1,000-head of beef cattle he feeds and the 100 beef cows that are now calving, double the number he had a year ago, Scott Niess is the chairman of the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

THE 4N ON THE barn of Scott and Julie Niess stands for the four members of the Niess family — Scott and Julie, son Cody, and daughter Cally. It is a brand used to identify their cattle operation.

The building that was used for the dairy cattle was converted from a free-stall barn to a barn for housing feeder cattle.

Niess saw an opportunity in the past year’s drought to add to his stock cow herd as the cows were reasonably priced.

Niess buys feeder cattle at 650 to 750 pounds and finishes them to 1,350 pounds.

The finished cattle are sold through the Twin Cedar Cattle Marketing organization to “whoever has the most money,” said Niess.

Niess has been on the Iowa Beef Industry Council board for six years, and this is his first year as president.

SCOTT NEISS is using a lot on his farm for this spring’s calving.

His job is the disbursement of money that is raised by the Beef Checkoff that began in 1986.

His main challenge is getting the most value for the checkoff dollars.

The checkoff amount collected has remained constant since 1986, while expenses have steadily increased.

As chair of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Niess cannot promote raising the checkoff amount collected; that is a responsibility of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.

A recently completed beef promotion was a trip to Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador to encourage beef exports.

Mexico is the largest importer of beef products, using the entire beef carcass, thereby adding value to parts of the carcass not used in the U.S., said Niess.

Another promotion effort is the BOLD initiative – Beef in an Optimally Lean Diet. It uses evidence that shows lean beef is part of a heart healthy diet.

The Iowa Beef Industry Council is holding its Iowa’s Best Burger contest, where restaurnts that serve hamburgers are nominated to be awarded as serving the best.

Ten locations in Iowa are now in the running to receive this award to the final winner.

“I thoroughly enjoy what I’m doing,” Neiss said, “promoting Iowa beef products, letting consumers know that we have a safe and nutritious product.”

More information can be found, including recipes, at the Council’s website, iabeef.org.

Niess is also a director on the Beef Federation, a national organization.

Farming has been a strong part of the Niess family and continues to this day.

He is a third -generation cattle producer. His grandfather, Joseph Niess, instilled his farming skills in his sons, Matt and Gus. Matt Niess is Scott’s father.

Gus Niess had two sons, Robert and Vernon, and Vernon’s son Joe. They own cattle separately, but work together through the year.

The farm where Scott and Julie Neiss live was owned by Sam Bonoff, a Bulgarian immigrant, who is Scott Neiss’ maternal grandfather. Matt Niess worked for Bonoff as a hired man before marrying Bonoff’s daughter.

Julie Niess grew up on a farm near Stacyville as a member of the Pitzen family, another family known for their dairying.

The Niesses are parents to son, Cody Neiss, who will graduate from Iowa State University in a few weeks in economics and ag business.

Thier daughter, Cally, is a freshman at ISU in pre-architecture.

Hamburger dip

8 ounces cream cheese

1 can Hormel chili without beans

1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilis

1 cup salsa

2 pounds Velveeta cheese

1 pound hamburger, browned

Put all ingredients into a crock pot. Cook until melted and hot.

Stir occasionally. Serve with tortilla chips.

Double recipe for a large crowd.

Beef pickle dip

3 packages corned or dried beef (chopped into bite size pieces)

2 8-ounce cream cheese

1 pint Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 pint baby dill pickles (chopped into bite size pieces)

Mix together cream cheese and mayonnaise.

Add pickles and beef. Serve with crackers.

Cheeseburger soup

1/2 pound ground beef

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup diced celery

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

4 tablespoons butter or margarine/divided

3 cups chicken broth

4 cups diced peeled potatoes (1 3/4 pounds)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

8 ounces processed American cheese, cubed (2 cups)

1 1/2cups milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup sour cream

In a 3-quart saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside.

In the same saucepan, saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add broth, potatoes, and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until bubbly.

Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts.

Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream.

Yield: 8 servings (2 1/4 quarts)

Beef stroganoff

1 8-ounce package of egg noodles

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 pounds beef top round steak

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 4-ounce cans whole mushrooms

1 small onion, minced

1/2 cup sour cream

Chopped parsley

Prepare noodles as label directs; drain. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter; keep warm.

Meanwhile, cut round steak lengthwise in half.

Then, with knife held in a slanting position, almost parallel to the cutting surface, slide across width of each half into 1/8-inch thick slices.

In a small bowl, stir flour, mustard, salt, pepper and mushrooms with their liquid until blended.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat, in 1/4 cup hot butter, cook onion until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add steak over high heat; add mushroom mixture.

Over medium heat, cook, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in sour cream and heat through, but do not boil.

To serve, arrange mean mixture and noodles on a warm platter. Sprinkle with parsley over meat.

Yield: 6 servings.

Pepper steak

1 pound round steak

2 tablespoons oil

1 large tomato, chopped

2 medium green peppers, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup beef broth

Hot cooked rice

Partially freeze steak; slice across grain in .25-by2-inch strips. Fry steak in oil until brown.

Add tomato,green pepper, soy sauce, sugar, garlic salt, pepper and ginger Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Combine cornstarch and broth. Stir into steak mixture. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Serve over rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

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