GOVERNOR'S CHARITY STEER SHOW

Scissors, clippers, hair dryers and Aqua Net are usually reserved for beauty salons, but on the first Saturday of the Iowa State Fair, they are used to bring beauty to the best bovines in the cattle barn.

  Governor Kim Reynolds and Tyler Pudenz lead Jet out of the livestock barn during the parade to the Governor's Steer Show. Pudenz said she usually doesn't get nervous until she enters the ring before a show. Photo credit: Joseph L. Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association

Governor Kim Reynolds and Tyler Pudenz lead Jet out of the livestock barn during the parade to the Governor's Steer Show. Pudenz said she usually doesn't get nervous until she enters the ring before a show. Photo credit: Joseph L. Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association

For 36 years the Governor's Charity Steer Show has been a staple of the Fair allowing youth to show their projects in the ring with local celebrities, state officials and the Governor. The event is part pomp and circumstance and part friendly competition, but it is all for a great cause.

This year $294,000 was raised for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa during a record-setting auction. The money raised benefits the Ronald McDonald Houses of Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City. All the houses are located near hospitals and provide a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children being treated at the hospitals. The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sponsors the annual steer show and auction, which was hosted by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

"I’m so proud of them (the youth showing at the event)," Reynolds said before the show. "They put a lot of work and dedication into raising these steers. Then they turn them over at auction to support an important cause like the Ronald McDonald House. It says a lot about the young people that are showing today."

Since its inception in 1983, the Governor’s Charity Steer Show has raised over $3.5 million for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.

This year's event featured 25 steers that were carefully cleaned, sculpted and manicured by the youth that raised them, family members and friends for their moment in the spotlight. Over 2,000 people filled the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion to watch as celebrities and youth paraded their steers around the ring while being judged in three categories: Judge’s Choice, People's Choice and Showmanship.

 

Tyler Pudenz, an incoming freshman at Gilbert High School, was lucky enough to show her steer, "Jet," with Reynolds.

"It's really exciting," she said about the opportunity. "We were at home when we got a call telling us that we were selected to be with the Governor."

She has been showing cattle in 4-H since she was in third grade. She said her favorite part of showing cattle was spending time with family and meeting others with the same interests.

"It’s a family event," Pudenz said while her father and others put the finishing touches on Jet before the show. "I’ve made a lot of friends over the years I’ve been showing."

Reynolds said the Governor's Charity Steer Show is one of the highlights for her during the Fair.

"I’m pretty competitive. I’ve won twice. So the Lt. Governor and I had to shake hands and part. This is a competition. So let the best steer win," Reynolds said with a laugh before entering the show ring.

Reynolds and Pudenz fell short of winning the show this year but both said they had a fun time.

"Chip," a steer sponsored by the Iowa County Beef Supporters, won the "Judge’s Choice" award this year. Tate Manahl was selected for the title of "People's Choice." Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig earned the Showmanship award.

Article originally published for the Iowa Food & Family Project. You can find out more about the Iowa Food & Family Project by clicking here.

Waterbeds, ice cream and family — All in a dairy tour!

By Joseph L. Murphy

Participants of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association (IGIA) annual meeting had the opportunity to tour two Dubuque County dairy farms Tuesday and learn more about where their food comes from. The tour, sponsored by the Iowa Food & Family Project along with Midwest Dairy Association, gave 20 visitors the chance to tour milking parlors, touch newborn dairy calves and learn more about milking robots and the future of dairies in Iowa.

 A dairy cow watches as visitors tour a dairy near Dubuque, Iowa. (Photo Joseph L. Murphy)

A dairy cow watches as visitors tour a dairy near Dubuque, Iowa. (Photo Joseph L. Murphy)

The first stop on the tour was at the Reuter Dairy near Peosta. The family-owned dairy milks about 850 cows and produces about 2.7 million gallons of milk annually, according to Rick Reuter. The family prides itself on not only producing healthy, high-quality milk, but in making sure that the cows remain comfortable year round.

“We strive to run the dairy in such a way that consumers are confident in the both the product quality and the animal care,” Reuter told the tour group. “We focus on the end result of producing the safest, highest-quality milk for the consumer.”

The IGIA is a partner of the Iowa Food & Family Project and the tour allowed grocery leaders to gain a better understanding of farming.

 A farmer describes the milking process to visitors. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

A farmer describes the milking process to visitors. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

Gary Munson, a representative from Kellogg’s USA, jumped at the chance to take the tour after watching a program on Iowa Public Television about a large dairy in Indiana.

“I was more impressed with what I saw today than even my expectations could match,” Munson said. ”For instance, the first place we went to was so clean, I can’t imagine how much time it would take to keep it like that. I was really impressed.”

The second farm the group visited was at the Hoefler Dairy near New Vienna. The family-owned dairy began in 1962 and sets itself apart by using three robotic milkers. The milkers allow the cows to decide when they want to be milked, which is usually three times a day.

“If the cow feels the need to be milked, she just simply walks to the robotic milker,” Joan Hoefler explained.

housed in free stall barns equipped with waterbeds and mattresses for the cows to lie on. The cows also have constant access to food and water.

Heidi Boehme, who grew up on a farm, attended the farm tours with her children to show them how farm families work together.

“Dairy is a big part of our life because my husband works for Wells,” she said. “Getting to see the process of how milk gets to our table interests me. It was also interesting to see that there is more automation today than when I was growing up on a farm. But, even with the automation, you can tell that farmers and their families play an active role.”

The tour ended with participants talking with the dairy farm families while enjoying fresh ice cream.

Originally published for the Iowa Soybean Association. Find more great stories at: www.iasoybeans.com/news