By KRISS NELSON
FORT DODGE - Nearly 200 people attended the annual meeting of the Webster County Cattlemen's Association Monday to hear industry updates, bid on trophies for the county fair and enjoy the prime rib dinner.
BRUCE LONG, Webster County Cattlemen’s Association president, visits with volunteer auctioneers Dan Vonnahme and Scott Klingson, after the trophy auction at the Webster County Cattlemen’s Association banquet.
Bruce Long, Webster County Cattlemen's Association board president, said the event is something many people look forward to all year long.
"I will start hearing from people tomorrow to not forget about them for next year," said Long. "You can't go anywhere and get a meal like this for the price and I bet there are a lot of people that haven't had a steak like this in a long time - if ever."
The prime rib dinner is prepared by Sawyer's Meats, of Fort Dodge.
Long said the WCCA's annual meeting and banquet have been at the Webster County Fairgrounds since 2008. It's been growing each year, he said.
"We have a membership of 60 to 65 people and with the 200 people we have here, we have a lot more support than membership," he said.
As Long studied the crowd, he pointed out what a diverse group that was in attendance.
"We have bankers, insurance agents, lawyers, individual producers and other ag industry leaders," he said. "This is a great opportunity for us to promote the beef industry."
The annual Webster County Cattlemen's Association meeting and banquet is also a platform for beef industry professionals to offer updates on issues happening on both the state and national levels.
JanLee Rowlett, the new government and regulatory affairs manager for the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, offered industry policy updates including:
Rowlett said that issue has just gone through both the senate and the house and is now waiting for the governor to sign into law.
Information for the auction can be found on the ICA's website at www.iacattlemen.org.
Justin Robbins introduced himself as the new District 8 director for the ICA. Robbins and his wife, Lacie, own a registered cow herd in Scranton.
"If there's anything I can help you with, look me up, holler at me and I will take it to the state level and bring it back to you," said Robbins.
Dean Black, of Somers, who was recently elected as treasurer of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, gave an update on the recently increased beef checkoff.
Last October, Iowa beef producers voted to increase the checkoff from $1 to $1.50 as of March 1.
"The additional half-dollar is a separate 50 cents than what goes to the national checkoff," Black said. "We can use it for education, promotion, and the nice part about it is we can use it for production research.
"The national checkoff cannot be used for production research so we can do a few more things with this 50 cents."
The additional funds will also allow for increased advertising and beef promotion.
"We just haven't had the budget to work with, so hopefully with this increase you'll start hearing us a little more on the radio and we hope to get back on some billboards out on the road," said Black.
The 2017 Webster County Beef Queen is Anna Heatherington, of Fort Dodge, and the 2017 Webster County Beef Princess is Jordan Johnson, of Fort Dodge.
Heatherington, a freshman at Iowa State University majoring in marketing, said she is looking forward to a fun-filled year of activities with the Webster County Cattlemen.
She said she will be attending parades and helping at the Webster County Fair's beef show in addition to various other appointed activities.
"I think it is an honor to be able to go out and promote the Cattlemen's Association and the beef industry," said Heatherington.