The Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University in Ames is borrowing from a popular TV show in searching for "Iowa’s Next Top Inventor" when it comes to beef production. Center director, John Lawrence, says they’re looking for ways to better use the products that come out of ethanol production.

Lawrence says it’s a contest to find innovative ideas or equipment and machines that farmers have invented to better store feed and handle distillers co-products, particularly for beef producers. Lawrence says the top winner will receive a cash prize of 15-hundred dollars for their first place idea, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.

Lawrence says they ran the contest for the first time last year, and found some great inventions. He says the first place winner took an old ground-driven manure spreader that could be pulled by a pickup and could be kicked in to gear to unload the material to cattle.

Lawrence says they’ll take entries into January, and then they’ll weed them down to a final three for judging at a cow/calf meeting in February.

The developers will present a slide show and talk about their invention to an audience of 300 to 400 people and the audience will vote on the winner. For more details call 515-294-6290 or visit the Iowa Beef Center website .