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UPDATED: Iowa Forage and Grasslands Conference Returning to Des Moines

2018 Dates are Set!

November 26-27, 2018

The Iowa Forage and Grasslands Council will return their annual meeting and conference to the Des Moines Airport Holiday Inn on November 26-27, 2018.  Featured speakers include renowned grazing consultant Jim Gerrish, and Byron Shelton, Senior Program Director of the Savory Institute.

The event starts with a bus tour of central Iowa farms that are grazing cover crops, sponsored by Fall Grazing Cover Crops project funded by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Award Number 2015-49200-24226, and the Iowa Beef Center.  That evening session features a producer panel discussion on cover crops and presentations by Gerrish and Shelton.  The Tuesday agenda will include more in-depth sessions by Jim Gerrish and Byron Shelton, as well as other breakout sessions on grazing, wildlife and conservation, and other production topics.

Event Details:


Date: November 26-27, 2018

Location: Des Moines Holiday Inn, 6111 Fleur Dr, Des Moines, IA 50321, (515) 287-2400

12:30 PM Iowa Beef Center Cover Crop Grazing Bus Tour – (NO CHARGE- meet at the hotel by 12:15 pm) (CLICK FOR FLYER)
5:00 PM Dinner (on your own)
6:30 PM Registration/ Check-in
7:00 PM Stock Density: The Most Powerful Tool in The Grazier’s Toolbox – Jim Gerrish, May, Idaho
8:00 PM How Holistic Management Meets Individual Farm Needs Including Personal, Family, & Resource Goals – Byron Shelton, Savory Institue

8:00 AM Registration/ Check-in
8:30 AM Welcome & Introductions
8:45 AM Dollars & Sense of Grazing – Jim Gerrish, May, Idaho
9:45 AM What is Holistic Management – An Overview of its Key Insights – Byron Shelton, Savory Institue
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM Morning Break-Out Sessions: Session A – Producer Cover Crop Panel – Paul Ackley, Bedford – AJ & Kelly Blair, Dayton – Nathan Manternach, Cascade and
Session B – Update on the Cow Systems Project Results – Joe Sellers & Denise Schwab, ISU
12:00 PM IFGC Luncheon & Annual Meeting – Leopold Center Update, Mark Rasmussen, Director, Leopold Center
1:00 PM Nutrient & Fertility Management for Intensively Managed Pastures – Jim Gerrish, May, Idaho
2:00 PM Holistic Planned Grazing – Byron Shelton, Savory Institue
3:00 PM Break
3:15 PM Afternoon Break-Out Sessions
Session A – Brush and Weed Control – Elyssa Trejo, Corteva Agriscience
Session B – Roundtable Discussion Multiple Uses of Forages & Habitat – Grazing & Conservation – Joe McGovern, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; Adam Janke, ISU; and Facilitator: Joe Sellers, ISU

Registration & Annual Membership

Download Registration Form and email to [email protected] by November 19

To receive the ‘member’ pricing you need to be in good standing with IFGC. If you’d like to pay the 2019 IFGC membership fee you are eligible for the member pricing for the fall conference in November. Read more about the IFGC membership here.

Also, visit

For more details contact IFGC President Patrick Wall at [email protected] or 515-450-7665 or IFGC annual meeting chairman Jeff Matthias at [email protected] or (515) 323-2257.

Bus Tour Information:

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2018 | Iowa Beef Center Cover Crop Grazing Bus Tour
FREE TO ATTEND!| Please meet at the hotel by 12:15 pm

12:30 PM Leave Holiday Inn – Des Moines Airport
1:00-1:30 PM Sutter Family Farms (Homemade Seeder, Using Swine Manure to Enhance Cover Crop Yield)
1:30-2:00 PM PAW Livestock (Cows on Rye Behind Short Season Soybeans)
2:30-3:00 PM Red Rock Cattle Company Cover Crop
3:30-4:00 PM Cover Crop Test Plot – Near Prairie City
5:00 PM Return to Holiday Inn / Dinner on your own
6:30 PM REMINDER: Check-in for Conference




Speaker Bios


Jim Gerrish – American GrazingLands Services
Jim’s experience includes over 20 years of beef-forage systems research and outreach while on the faculty of the University of Missouri, as well as 20 years of commercial cattle and sheep production on their family farm in northern Missouri. The University of Missouri – Forage Systems Research Center rose to national prominence as a result of his research leadership. His research encompassed many aspects of plant-soil-animal interactions and provides the foundation for many of the basic principles of Management-intensive Grazing. He was the co-founder of the very popular 3-day grazing management workshop program at FSRC. These schools were attended by over 3000 producers and educators from 39 states and 4 Canadian provinces from their inception in 1990 through 2003 when Jim left MU. At least sixteen other states have conducted grazing workshops based on the Missouri model and Jim has taught in twelve of these states. He is a key instructor at the University of Idaho’s Lost River Grazing Academy held near Salmon, ID each June and September.

Byron Shelton – Program Director, Savory Institute
Byron is the Senior Program Director for the Savory Institute. His role involves providing training in Holistic Management for the worldwide network of Savory Institute Hubs and Accredited Professionals. He also provides farm and ranch management consulting for Savory Institute. Byron is a Savory Institute Master Field Professional. Byron is the founder and managing member of a private consulting firm providing facilitation and training in whole farm planning using Holistic Management™ decision-making, financial planning, ecosystem processes management, planned grazing, ecological monitoring, land planning, policy analysis and development processes, and low stress animal handling in agricultural, natural resource, business, family, and community settings. He has worked with large and small beef and dairy operations as well as with a wide range of other livestock and crop enterprises across North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Mideast.

Nathan Manternach – Producer, Cascade, Iowa
Nathan is a young producer from Cascade. He runs about 70 spring calving cows and finishes his own calves plus addition calves in a monoslope building. Nathan had most of his home farm seeded to some type of forage and is proud to say he grazes every acre of the farm at some time throughout the year. He has experimented with various winter and summer annuals in an attempt to increase forage production from every acre. He had been rotational grazing for over five years. Nathan has improved the stand of all his pastures, added several watering facilities, and uses portable electric fence for subdividing his pastures. For a couple of years, he has been seeding summer annual blends following the harvest or grazing of winter cover crops. The use of cover crops has helped Nathan move to no-till on his crop ground.

Joe Sellers, ISU
Joe Sellers recently retired as Beef Field Specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and has worked for Extension for over 31 years. He has specialized in grazing management, beef cow nutrition, cow management systems, and beef cow leases and cow share agreements. He has led the Greenhorn Grazing and Iowa Certified Graziers courses in Iowa for the past 8 years. Joe and his family are partners in a Lucas County farm that was settled by his family in 1852. Joe has BS and MS degrees from Iowa State University. He has led several research and demonstration projects including the Chariton Valley Beef Initiative and the Model Farms forage demonstration project, and currently is the lead investigator in a project looking at alternative beef cow management systems. He is a past president of IFGC.

Joe McGovern – President, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Nature has always been a common thread throughout Joe’s life, from discovering the natural lakes and Boone River in Wright Co. as a boy to first date hikes with his wife Molly. Throughout his conservation career, first with Story County Conservation and then with INHF, Joe has admired Iowa’s subtle beauty and strived to bring a sense of wildness to the state. He’s enjoyed watching his three kids grow and find nature in their own ways and hopes to create places for every Iowan to find their own outdoor connections.

Paul Ackley, Bedford, Iowa
Paul Ackley, a Taylor County native farms about 800 acres in Taylor County and uses cover crops on all of his acres. In 2009, he began raising hair sheep with about 50 ewes for breeding stock that feed on pasture or rye cover crop. Since 2010, his 100 cow herd has been pesticide free and feeds on stockpiled hay, pasture, cover crops, and cornstalks. Ackley has also started planting 8-12 way cover crop mixes drilled after wheat grain harvest that is grazed by his livestock. This extends his grazing season and reduces his input cost for the corn that follows the winter wheat. His winter budget is 1 bale of hay/head. Paul’s growing season grazing plan includes a new paddock every 24 hours. With only the help of his wife, Nancy, Paul has his hands full when it comes to managing the operation.

AJ & Kellie Blair, Dayton, Iowa

AJ and Kellie Blair, young farmers in their 30s from Dayton, have integrated cattle into their row-crop production system. Blair Farm includes corn and soybean fields, a herd of 50 cow/calf pairs, pasture, and a mono-slope barn holding the Blairs’ replacement heifers and feeder steers, as well as custom feeding steers. For conservation efforts, they are using cover crops on 2/3 of their cropland acres, mainly cereal rye ahead of soybeans. AJ & Kellie are grazing the cereal rye cover crop with cattle. They have also started raising their own cereal rye seed, with which they are following with sorghum-sudangrass, giving them additional grazable forage for late summer into the fall.

Denise Schwab, Beef Specialist, ISU Extension
Denise Schwab is an extension beef program specialist, will receive the ISU Award for Distinguished Service in Extension and Outreach. It is given as a tribute to Marvin A. Anderson, the first Dean of Extension at Iowa State University. It is the top career award in ISU Extension and Outreach, recognizing sustained, distinguished performance and educational contributions to Iowa State and clientele through ISU Extension and Outreach programs. During her extension career, Schwab has served as a county educator, an animal science leader in 4-H and beef specialist serving east-central and northeast Iowa. She has been a leader and collaborator on outreach to women in agriculture, 4-H food safety and quality assurance, programming for beginning and established beef producers, and mentoring for new staff. She also has received state and national recognition for her leadership in programming about beef cow records and benchmarking.

Dr. Adam Janke, ISU, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Dr. Janke’s research interests center on the relationships between wildlife populations and their habitats. And he is particularly interested in understanding opportunities to promote the persistence and abundance of resident and migratory game birds in working agricultural landscapes in the Corn Belt. Dr. Janke has examined a number of questions related to the distribution patterns, demographics, and physiology of game birds in relation to fine-scale habitat attributes or broad spatiotemporal patterns. Through partnership and communication with private landowners and state, federal, and non-governmental wildlife conservation groups, it’s his hope that his research can improve the prospects for sustainable game bird and associated wildlife populations in working agricultural landscapes in the Midwest for generations to come.

Elyssa Trejo, Corteva Agriscience
Elyssa is the Pasture and Land Management Territory Manager for Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin with Corteva Agriscience™, the Agriculture Division of DowDupont. She graduated from Oregon State University in 2013 with a degree in BioResource Research and Toxicology, focusing on the effects of certain poisonous plants on grazing animals. Since graduating, Elyssa has worked in row crop, turf, ornamental, vegetation management and pasture businesses across the country. Elyssa currently lives in Southern Minnesota focusing on herbicides for weed, brush and tree management in pastures to minimize competition with desirable forage and new solutions for producers. For more information on products, application methods, and making the most of your pastures, go to

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