Iowa Cattlemens Association Kicks Off New Contest

Sept. 1 commitment needed

AMES, IOWA –  For the first time in 25 years, a statewide carcass contest for cattle producers will be held in Iowa.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will sponsor the ICA Carcass Challenge that begins this fall and ends next spring. “Whether you are a cow-calf producer, backgrounder, or run a feed yard, the bottom line in beef cattle production is the value of the meat on the carcass. Each step in the value-chain affects the end product,” said Kellie Carolan, ICA’s Seedstock Manager.

Carolan will oversee the ICA Carcass Challenge, which is being led by the 2011 class of ICA’s Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program. The project will give these young leaders an opportunity to work with area ICA members on an educational project.

“The YCLP class decided we would take on the challenge of recruiting steers for the ICA Carcass Challenge because it will give us the opportunity to meet more members of our local cattlemen’s groups, and provide a real service to ICA,” said Dana Morgan of Corning, one of the co-chairs for the challenge.

“I’ve been looking for a way to become more involved locally, and this should help. Plus, as a cow-calf producer, it helps me see the rest of the value chain in beef production,” added Stephanie Allgood of Albia, the other co-chair.

Morgan and Allgood expect to see some friendly competition between counties, businesses and individuals who are ready “to go big or go home.”

The ICA Carcass Challenge will place steers donated by ICA members in a head-to-head competition to see which donor will walk away with the $2000 top prize for the steer that has the best Carcass Value per Day on Feed. That determination will be made next spring at slaughter. The second and third place finishers will receive $1500 and $1000. The remaining Top 10 finishers will receive a jacket. 

Producers who want to compete will donate one or more steers for the contest. Steers must be 2011 spring-born calves that weigh between 625 pounds and 700 pounds when they are delivered to Van Meter Feedyard in Guthrie Center on Nov. 7 or 8 of this year.

In addition to the spirit of competition created by the ICA Carcass Challenge, there will also be an educational event held in the spring at the feedyard to discuss marketing and the traits and practices that impact carcass quality.

 “Those who donate steers will experience a fun and educational event, and gross profit from the event will cover expenses, with the net applied to the ICA general fund. Those dollars will strengthen ICA through membership programs and leadership development,” said ICA President Ross Havens of Wiota.

Havens also thanked Elanco Animal Health, which is the lead supporter of the ICA Carcass Challenge. “Elanco’s willingness to step up and cooperate with ICA and the young leaders on this project demonstrates their support of educational opportunities for Iowa’s cattle producers,” he said.

YCLP members have already begun recruiting steers, and will need a commitment from interested participants by Sept. 1. Steers can be donated by individuals, county cattlemen’s associations, breed associations, and any business that would like to be involved.

More details and the general guidelines about the contest are on the ICA website (, or call the ICA offices at 515-296-2266.