The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) recently published an article highlighting some key points that were discussed at the Midwest Cow/Calf Symposium that took place in Omaha, NE, on March 21st through the 22nd. Read the full article here. The Symposium featured experts that addressed key management decisions for raising cows and calves under roof. The outcome was astounding.

The Attendees

Limited pasture availability has led some cow-calf producers to look for other viable options. So, almost 300 producers from eight states attended the two-day symposium to learn about cow-calf health, nutrition and other best management practices. The reviews that were collected were overwhelmingly positive. Most found the Midwest Cow-Calf Symposium to be informative, entertaining, and valuable.

The Speakers

Dr. Sara Barber, Veterinary Medical Center, was one of the six experts that were invited to speak. According to Dr. Barber(pictured below), raising cows and calves under roof presents an opportunity to manage pairs individually. However, additional management practices must be implemented to maintain animal

Dr. Sarah Barber at Midwest Cow-Calf Symposium



One of the ways to maintain herd health is by controlling the environment under roof, starting with proper bedding management. Dr. Barber explained that pens should always be kept dry and that bedding can easily be evaluated. She does this by utilizing the “dry knee test”. Simply fall on your knees and if your knees are wet when you get up, you’ll need more bedding.


Dr. Barber stressed the importance of newborn calves taking in their mother’s colostrum, a calf’s first and only available source of antibodies. Another way to protect the newborn calf is by dipping their navels with iodine to prevent infections. She also explained the importance of using designated supplies for sick calves and healthy calves.

The ProducersWilkerson Building showcased at Symposium

The producer panel was the most popular aspect of the Midwest Cow-Calf Symposium. Eleven producers from MO, NE, SD, and IA were invited to share their experiences and wisdom.


Chad and Amy Wilkerson of Linden, IA were two of the producers on the panel. They agree that prevention is key when using the calving under roof approach. They currently raise 160 cow-calf pairs in an Accu-Steel cattle barn(pictured right) they filled for the first time in January of 2016. One of the points Chad express was the importance of having a good vet and nutritionist your back pocket. You want to be able to know they are going to be there and understand what you’re up against.

The Symposium Summary

While there are many advantages to calving under roof, experts and cow-calf producers alike concluded this system requires an intensive management system that may not be the right fit for every livestock farm. Fortunately, the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers works beside Iowa farm families as they make important management decisions about growing the farm using new livestock technology such as calving under roof.


The Midwest Cow-Calf Symposium was co-sponsored by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraksa (AFAN), Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Nebraska Cattlemen.


To see a copy of the presentations and watch the producer panel’s drone videos click here!

Recently, the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) published videos from the Calving Under Roof Field Day that Accu-Steel was apart of last year, 2016. The videos feature experts who help Iowa’s livestock and poultry farmers successfully and responsibly grow their farms. The field day addressed some of the most frequently asked questions about calving under roof.

Why Watch the CSIF Videos?

With less pasture ground available, more farmers are looking for feasible solutions to do more with less space. Calving under roof has become a solution to solve Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmersthe problem. To showcase the “under roof” options, CSIF has hosted Calving Under Roof events with the help of industry partners including Accu-Steel. These buildings allow farmers to easily access and monitor their animals while also protecting them from harsh Iowa winters.


At the Calving Under Roof Field Day in 2016, experts provided answers to the most commonly asked questions about calving under roof, including management, cattle health, economics, rules and regulations, nutrition and building design. The videos also include farm families who share strategies they’ve used to successfully grow their farms with the addition of a calving barn. One of these families will be at the upcoming Midwest Cow-Calf Symposium on the producer panel.

How to Watch the Videos:

The insight offered on the videos provides perspectives that can help Iowa farmers determine if this type of production system is an option for their farm. We have a couple videos in our Gallery on our website. Otherwise, you can go directly to CSIF’S video collection here!


Accu-Steel recently renewed our investment in the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers. CSIF was established in 2004 BY farmers FOR farmers to help those that raise livestock, successfully and responsibly manage changes to their livestock farms. They do this by helping farmers navigate the maze of state and federal regulations, providing a building site analysis, consulting on safeguarding the environment and enhancing neighbor relations.



Accu-Steel is a proud investor in this organization for it’s drive to help our local farmers succeed. When the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers and investors, such as Accu-Steel, work together we help Iowa’s livestock farmers grow and prosper.


Iowa’s farm families face many challenges today and depend on the Coalition to provide them with the help they need to stay on the farm.  Whether they have questions on rules and regulations, planting windbreaks or how to bring the next generation back to the farm, the Coalition is there to help.


The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers has worked diligently to amplify the benefits of agriculture to Iowa’s economy and quality of life and assist young farmers in pursuing their dreams of raising livestock and poultry.  Thanks in large part to investor’s support, the Coalition is busier today than ever before assisting Iowa’s livestock and poultry farmers. Please visit to learn more.