Iowa Conference to Address Livestock Situation

An all-day event, set for July 7 at Ames, will focus on the uncertain economic future of livestock farming.

Seeking answers to skyrocketing feed and energy costs and how these expenses are affecting the profitability of livestock farmers, Iowa Farm Bureau's New Dimensions in Livestock Risk Conference, is scheduled for July 7 in Ames. The conference will look at risk, feed issues, revenue and farm financial issues of concern to beef, dairy, pork and poultry producers. Registration began May 26 and is free prior to June 30. For program details or to register, call 866-598-3693 or go to www.iowafarmbureau.com.  

Many livestock farmers today are feeling the unforgiving reality of an uncertain future. "Record high fuel costs, land prices, commodity prices, feed costs and fluctuating consumer tastes for livestock products are crippling some of our best livestock producers," says Craig Lang, a Brooklyn dairy farmer and president of Iowa Farm Bureau. "Iowa's poultry and livestock producers have always been a vital part of our state's ag economy. Farmers have weathered the economic storms of the past because of our diversity of livestock and crops. We are all in this together and we need to support each other."

Growing crops, raising livestock, adapting to change and weathering hard times is what the Iowa farmer does best, notes Lang. However, adding more concern to the economic situation of farmers this time is the fact that all input costs to crop farmers, as well as to livestock farmers, are accelerating at a faster pace than grain prices. Nitrogen now costs $800 to $900 per ton, for example.

Costs are escalating faster than prices

In these times of higher feed costs, how do you help livestock farmers remain profitable? How do you assure the public that food will continue to be affordable?

The day-long conference aims to provide information and resources for livestock producers facing economic stress from the rising cost of feed and other inputs. It is being planned for the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus. Experts will discuss a range of topics, including an overview of the current situation, additional risks in feed costs, future direction of livestock markets and strategies to manage financial stress.

Breakout sessions are planned on topics including risk management tools, production contracts and financial management knowledge. In addition, there will be resource people available throughout the day to talk to farmers one-on-one about managing stress and surviving the current economic pressure.

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