For the first time in two decades, members of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will have a new leader when they gather in West Des Moines for this week’s annual winter conference. Bruce Berven of Ankeny, the group’s new executive vice president, says most people he’s talked to in the industry are very upbeat.
Berven says “There is more optimism about the future of the cattle industry in Iowa than I can ever recall from past days. A lot of that has to do of course with co-product feeding and the ethanol industry just on fire and a lot of by-products or co-products available.” Berven takes over for Joel Brinkmeyer who recently stepped down after 20 years with the association.
Berven says he’s spent the past several weeks visiting with cattle producers all over the state. He says the overall costs of feed, transportation and energy are all factors that place Iowa cattle producers at a competitive advantage over even large feed lots located elsewhere in the U.S.
In a word, Berven says the attitude is “optimism.” This is Berven’s second stint in the post. He had been executive V.P. from 1978 to 1984 after serving for eight years as an Iowa State University county extension director and area livestock specialist. He left Iowa for Colorado and California, returning this fall after 22 years.
He says he was pursuing a different career path when the Cattlemen’s Association opportunity resurfaced. He says it was in his blood and it’s something he very much wanted to do.
The group, which represents some ten-thousand-300 members, holds its winter conference in West Des Moines on Thursday and Friday.