Wintery weather conditions Saturday evening didn’t keep people from attending the Muscatine County Cattlemen’s Association banquet.
President Ron Cox started the evening off thanking everyone for coming.
“We sure appreciate seeing everybody and the new faces,” he said. “It’s been a long time.”
After his brief message, Cox invited Jeff Chown up to say a prayer before people lined up for the prime rib dinner that was catered by Jeff’s Market.
Doug Schroeder, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) Southeast Regional Vice-President, was invited by Cox to give an update about what is happening in the association.
Schroeder told everyone he would be attending a convention in New Orleans next week.
“Two of the things that I’m going to attend is property rights and CRP (cash reserve program).”
The average price for Iowa farmland for CRP is $233 an acre, Schroeder said. Nationwide it’s $80.
“So that makes it really hard for a young farmer or rancher to get started in the cattle business when the first competitor you have is your government so that’s something we need to work on,” he said, "(and something) we need to continue to work on.”
On Feb. 27, an informational meeting will be held in Pilot Grove about fence laws, Schroeder announced. A previous meeting was held about fence laws, which ICA thought needed to be addressed.
Schroeder gave a couple of examples during his presentation. For example, if a tree fell on the fence it’s your tree, you take care of the fallen tree but cattlemen were told to move the fence, he said.
“I checked that twice before I said that because it’s so damn wrong but that was one of the comments that was made,” Schroeder said.
Another comment made was if a cattlemen put up a fence adjoining another property owner’s and something happened to it but the other property owner didn’t have livestock, they were told they didn’t have to take care of the fence, Schroeder added.
“That again is wrong,” he said.
The attorney from ICA will be at the informational meeting at 6 p.m., Feb. 27, at the Pilot Grove Community Center, Schroeder added.
Bubba Chapman, ICA District 16 Director, was the next person to speak at the banquet. He represents Cedar, Scott, Clinton and Muscatine counties.
Chapman announced a “Think Tank” would be held Friday, June 23, at Lauren Trolson’s farm. He invited everyone to attend.
“It’s a nice social event, have a meal and kind of get to know people and discuss those topics that are important to us,” Chapman said.
He also announced the “Cattlemen at the Capital” event March 8.
“I think it’s important we get representation there,” Chapman said. “If we can get three people from every county, we’d have 300 people there.”
If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu, he added. A lot of groups go to speak to legislators at the capital each year and Chapman said it was very important for cattlemen to be there.
“There was a house bill with SNAP – that they weren’t going to allow meat to be purchased with food stamps,” Chapman said. “I think that’s actually going to get changed.”
Awards were presented after Schroeder and Chapman spoke.
The first award presented was the Scholarship.
Board member Monica Danner announced Emily King as the recipient. The requirement for the $1,000 scholarship is to have someone in your family as a member of the Muscatine Cattlemen’s Association for one year. Applicants submit a 500-word essay for board members to review.
King will be attending Iowa State University next fall. She will be majoring in ag business.
“I just want to say thank you to the community for just making the scholarship possible,” King added.
The next award presented was the Hall of Fame award to Robert and Donna Thede.
“Robert and Donna Thede have had a passion of raising quality cattle for many years,” Danner said. “Their interest in the cattle industry began on their parents farm.”
Donna’s parents lived in rural West Liberty and Robert’s in rural Clinton, she added. They both helped raised cattle on their parents farms and were active in Future Farmers of America and in 4-H clubs, where they exhibited their cattle projects. They got married, started a family and a family farm.
All three of their children were active on the farm raising cattle and in the show ring at the local county fair or at national shows.
“As their families grew, they continued to share their passion for the cattle industry with their grandkids, which now those kids have small herds of their own,” Danner said.
Family members joined Robert and Donna Thede to accept the award. Donna said not only did it take family to raise cattle but a community and thanked the board for the honor.
The final award presented during the banquet was the Beef Backer Award to Countywide Ag Service. Cox said the owner of the business was unable to attend the banquet that evening because he was still out delivering feed to customers. Family members came up to accept the award.
The entertainment for the evening was comedian Johnny Beehner. He did a 30-minute stand up routine.
A live and silent auction also took place and door prizes were also handed out.