Dubuque County Celebration of Livestock Farming

06-26-2015 in Cattle

By Haley Banwart, CSIF Communications Intern

Over 500 neighbors and community members gathered at the Schwers Brothers family farm near New Vienna on Tuesday for an open house and tours of a new slatted, monoslope cattle barn. The evening event highlighted the benefits of raising cattle under roof as well as how modern livestock buildings enhance animal care and provide environmental safeguards.

Fourth generation farmers, Marty and Steve Schwers, added the 1,080-head cattle barn to their farm in 2014. The brothers have been farming together in Dubuque County since 1989. Marty and Steve’s father previously farmed on the same site.

After transitioning out of the dairy business in 2000, Marty and Steve began to build the feedlot facilities on their farm that are now home to 2,600 head of cattle.

“We were very fortunate with the way our dad supported and allowed us to move forward with our goals,” said Marty Schwers.

The decision to build the new barn allowed the Schwers brothers to expand their feedlot operation while bringing all of their cattle back to the home farm site.

Early on in the planning process, the Schwers brothers reached out to the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers for assistance in interpreting livestock rules and regulations. They also worked with CSIF to assess their existing feedlots and to seek recommendations that would help them remain in compliance with state and federal rules.

“Our first meeting with CSIF was hugely informative and provided us with the dos and don’ts,” said Marty Schwers. “It really simplified things, gave us an opportunity to ask questions and ensure that we were doing things right.”

After the assessment, the Schwers brothers moved forward with building the deep-pitted, monoslope cattle barn. The barn has nine pens with each pen holding 120 head. The design of the barn allows the cattle outdoor access at all times and protection against inclement weather. Additionally, the Schwers brothers installed rubber mats on the slats for increased cattle comfort.

“Farmers like the Schwers brothers are excellent representatives of Iowa’s livestock industry,” said CSIF Executive Director, Brian Waddingham. “Their commitment to doing things right with a focus on the environment and animal care is reflective of Iowa’s livestock farmers. We are proud to work with farm families who are passionate about their role in agriculture.”

CSIF is a non-profit organization that assists livestock farmers who want help interpreting rules and regulations, guidance on good site locations for barns, counsel on enhancing neighbor relations and tips on how to protect the environment at no cost. For more information, call 1-800-932-2436 or visit www.supportfarmers.com.

The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers was created by farmers to help farmers raise livestock responsibly and successfully. It’s a joint partnership involving the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation and Midwest Dairy Association.

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