The Iowa Cattlemen's Association saw another year of growth during its 2013 membership drive, finishing with 10,022. This is the third year of growth for ICA, and the first time its membership has topped the 10,000 mark since 2007.
ICA president Ed Greiman of Garner attributed this year's successful membership drive to the organization's increasing ability to deliver on its mission to 'Grow Iowa's beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.'
He says, "Our members and other cattle producers are seeing value in ICA's actions this past year. We've been involved in on-going discussions with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to develop a common-sense approach to the EPA-DNR work plan relative to medium-sized (300 to 999 head) cattle operations. Additionally, we were in Washington, D.C. to have direct conversations this spring with USDA about the proposed furloughs for meat inspectors. Along with our national partners, we were able to keep meat inspectors in plants all week long. Inspectors are important to food safety, and for keeping the plants open throughout the summer so the beef supply in consistent and known."
Working with industry partners to provide educational programs for cattlemen
Greiman also notes the work ICA has done with industry partners to provide a variety of educational programs for producers, as well as for preparing fact sheets that farmers can use to determine the impact of government agency actions.
Internally, county leaders and staff worked on becoming part of the 104% Club, says ICA CEO Matt Deppe. "We set our goal for 10,000 members, and knew we'd have to increase membership by four percent to reach that goal," he adds. In the end, county volunteers helped 48 counties meet or exceed the 104% level. "ICA is growing because local members take time to reach out to their fellow cattle producers and the businesses that support them to become part of our organization," he says. "Achieving a successful membership year is not done by one person. I want to thank each member who showed their support of ICA efforts by paying their membership dues."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
There are 97 organized county cattlemen's associations in Iowa, and 71 of them met or exceeded their 2012 membership total. ICA welcomed 1,135 new members to the association this past year.
Wanted: Beef Quality Assurance producers and marketers
In other Iowa beef news, you are urged to nominate beef producers, dairy producers and marketers for 2013 Iowa Beef Quality Assurance Awards. Quality beef begins with quality care. The Iowa Beef Industry Council wants to recognize beef producers and marketers who diligently care for and properly handle cattle in order to provide consumers with safe and wholesome beef. Applications for Iowa's 2013 Iowa Beef Quality Assurance or BQA Awards are now being accepted.
BQA 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.
The Iowa BQA program recognizes an outstanding beef producer, dairy producer and/or beef marketer who best demonstrate BQA practices, including sound animal husbandry practices. Nominees should be BQA-certified and work to continually improve BQA on their operations while operating sustainable cattle businesses. The desire to encourage fellow producers to implement BQA and communicate what the industry is doing to ensure quality cattle care is a plus. The award is open to all segments of the industry – commercial cow-calf, seedstock, backgrounders, feedyards, dairy operations, auction markets operators and veterinarians.
Goal of BQA program is to boost consumer confidence in beef, recognizing cattle producers who do an exceptional job
"The BQA program's mission is to maximize consumer confidence in beef while exceeding their eating expectations," says Doug Bear, director of industry relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. "The BQA Award is a way to recognize the outstanding men and women who put great tasting beef on our consumer's plate every day".
Completed entries are due by Friday, November 1, 2013. The Iowa BQA Award winners will be selected by a committee of fellow cattle producers, veterinarians, pharmaceutical representatives and others who have a "steak" in the future of the beef industry. Nominations can be submitted by any organization, group or individual on behalf of an Iowa beef producer or marketer. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves; however, the nominees are expected to be involved in the preparation of the application. For further information on these awards or to download the application, click here.
Producer-directed and consumer-focused, the Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head beef checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. For more information, visit the Iowa Beef Industry Council website.