Webster Co. Cattlemen see growth
By JESSE MAJOR
FORT?DODGE – Cattle production in Iowa is at a high point, according to Bruce Long, president of the Webster County Cattlemen’s Association.
Long told this to the about 300 people who attended the Cattlemen’s Association annual meeting and banquet Monday night.
“For right now, I think we just need to sit back and enjoy the ride,” he said. “Because man, what a ride.”
Dean Black, a member of the national Cattlemen’s Beef Board, attributed the success to the quality of American beef, which is leading to increased exports.
“Right now, exports are at the highest they’ve been,” he said. “The world wants our high-quality beef we raise in the U.S.”
The quality of American beef is leading more countries to open their markets to the U.S., he said.
Across the country, beef production has decreased over the last 60 years, Black said. But that’s not true in Iowa.
“Numbers in Iowa have been increasing,” he said. “That really because of the corn and ethanol by-products.”
In addition to Iowa being a leader in beef production, Black said new research is showing that lean beef is actually healthy for the heart.
“Beef is a heart-healthy protein,” he said. “There are 29 lean cuts that are comparable to chicken in leanness.”
As a member of the national board, he is optimistic China will open its market to American beef.
“If we get the exports open then we will have a huge market to fill,” he said.
Haley Stalcup of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association also attended the banquet.
She urged attendees to comment on a report by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
“One of the big topics is the dietary guidelines,” she said. “We’re trying to get people to comment on the guidelines so we can get (lean beef) back in there.”
The report excluded lean beef, though it was included in a footnote, she said.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will take that report into consideration when revising the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
She also spoke about membership, saying that the Iowa Cattlemen Association has 10,000 members and is growing.
The Webster County Cattlemen Association is also growing, Long said.
“We was down to a point where we were down to 50 or 60 people,” he said. “Last year we had 200 and this year we’re looking for close to three (hundred).”
The strategy for growing the organization has been to make it more appealing to families, he said.
“We have really worked hard on this thing,” he said. “We have turned it into a family affair, instead of just the cattlemen without their wives.
“I and my wife and the board have worked real hard to do this.”
Seeing that many people at the meeting was amazing, he said.
“It’s overwhelming to look out and see all the people,” he said. “It’s really just a good thing.”
The Webster County Cattlemen help out throughout the county, he said.
“We do grillings, we volunteer,” he said. “We grill for the graduations, for the fair. We help the kids out.”
The association also offers scholarships and donates to projects around the county.
At the meeting, the association announced the 2015 beef queen and princess.
Emma Clough is the beef queen and Peyton Heslop is the princess.
Also, at a Cattlemen’s banquet, Long said the food is amazing.
“We’ll have the best prime rib you’ve had in your life,” he said. “Sawyer’s Meats does a beautiful job with the meats.”
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