More than 70 dairy beef producers, students, agriculture industry personnel, extension staff and media from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota attended the I-29 Moo University - Dairy Beef Short Course & Tour on March 29, 2016 during this year’s Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

VanderWal Farm Tour

The program began with a tour of the Tom and Katy VanderWal dairy beef operation in Brookings, South Dakota. The VanderWal’s raise and finish out dairy steers in their newly constructed hoop barn. Attendees of the tour learned first-hand the efforts it took to construct this facility as well as permitting, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulations, neighbor relations, manure handling, animal husbandry and the dairy beef market from a producer’s prospective.

 
Participants viewing the dairy beef production facilities at VanderWal Farm near Brookings, SD.  

Panel Discussion

Following lunch, a panel discussion focused on answering questions pertaining to cattle facility permitting regulations, building public relations, and the importance of establishing a good rapport with the community. Panel members included Tom VanderWal, Brian Waddingham from the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmer’s, Andy Scholting from Nutrient Advisors, LLC, and Gene Tinker – Iowa Coordinator of Animal Feeding Operations from the Iowa DNR. The panel discussion provided valuable insight for the remainder of the short course.


Afternoon discussion panel (L to R): Tom VanderWal, Gene Tinker, Andy Scholting & Brian Waddingham.

Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Center Tour

The final stop on the short course and tour was the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Center in Worthing, South Dakota. A tour of the facility was provided and a discussion followed focusing on marketing livestock. The day then concluded with two presentations. Dr. Nicole Kenney from the University of Minnesota Extension, discussed implants and beta-agonists in the dairy beef industry and how producers should share their story and educate consumers on the practices of raising healthy and safe quality beef. Russ Daly, DVM with South Dakota State University Extension ended the short course by demonstrating the importance of animal handling in the dairy beef industry and how to prevent lameness and treat foot problems as they develop.


Participants touring the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock facilities.

Participant Feedback

Participants of this short course program enjoyed the networking opportunities and the chance to see a dairy beef operation with new hoop barn construction. Participants who attended reported enhanced learning regarding the following: 1) new or improved ideas for their facilities, 2) how to better implement vaccination and implant programs, 3) a better understanding of nutrient management plans, 4) how to go about sourcing dairy beef animals, 5) enhanced communication skills with special interest groups in support of agricultural efforts, and 6) the importance of educating others outside of the agriculture industry about practices and protocols used in production agriculture and why.


Dr. Russ Daly demonstrating causes of lameness in cattle.

Special Thanks

The I-29 Moo University would like to thank Deluxe Animal Health, Zoetis, Ag United, Quality Liquid Feeds, Livestock Marketing Association, South Dakota Beef Industry Council and Elanco Animal Health for helping sponsor this year’s Dairy Beef Short Course & Tour.

For upcoming events offered by the I-29 Moo University please visit our Facebook page or contact your state dairy specialist for future events.


Photos courtesy of J.W. Schroeder (NDSU Extension Dairy Specialist), Ryan Breuer (Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist); Heidi Carroll (SDSU Extension Livestock Stewardship Associate), and Maristela Rovai (SDSU Extension Dairy Specialist).