Beef Improvement Federation

2021 Symposium Tours

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Make plans to take advantage of the great tour offerings on Friday, June 25. Tours will depart at 7:30 am and return by 6 pm, and both tours include lunch.   Whether you go east or west, you cannot miss!

Eastern Iowa Tour:  This day is jam packed with a little of everything!  Stops include:

·      Olympic Genetics Center, Grinnell: Providing individual care and nutrition for client’s donor cattle to achieve maximum potential in embryo collections and conception. They offer guidance and education to obtain optimum conception whether it be embryo transplant, artificial insemination, and/or other bovine reproductive services.


·      Amana Farms, Amana Colonies: One of Iowa largest contiguous farms, the Amana Farms is made up of 26,000 acres with 8,500 acres of row crops, a 2,400 head cow/calf herd, a 4,000 head cattle feedlot, an anaerobic digester, and Iowa’s largest privately held forest.  Visit their 4,000 head feedlot and learn more!


·      Energy Digester: Amana Farms secured funding from the Iowa Office of Energy Independence to construct a 1.6-million-gallon anaerobic digester., Amana Farms secured access to organic waste streams from nearby industrial partners, providing both a financial and environmental benefit. The waste product after it has been used to produce energy is applied to the fields as fertilizer without releasing methane gas into the atmosphere.


·      Explore Amana: Established in 1932, The Amana Society, Inc. is a one-of-a-kind legacy corporation located in the Amana Colonies with businesses that produce handcrafted furniture, unique woolens, authentic German foods, livestock, crops, energy production, forest products, and community services. Businesses once a part of the original immigrant life style, remain as thriving businesses within the Amana Society, Inc., reflecting a portrait of quality passed on from one generation to the next.


Free time in the Amanas will allow you to explore! From the Amana general Store, The Amana Meat Shop & Smokehouse, a Woolen Mill, or Millstream Brewing, to name a few. Amana is famous for good things to eat and drink.  Many of these shops will offer a sample of the day, give it a try, and expand your horizons.  Sausages to chocolate you’ll enjoy the experience.


Lunch will feature the historic, family-style dining Ronneburg Restaurant. Well known for beloved specialties including sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, jaeger schnitzel, and sausages.

*Tour capacity is 15.

Western Iowa Tour:  From breeding to consumer, this tour covers it all!

·      Hy-Vee, Inc., Des Moines: Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 275 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of over $10 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 10 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 5 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 85,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day.

Hy-Vee is an innovator in beef retail.  They were the first to offer store-branded beef in Iowa, at that time featuring “Blue Ribbon Beef”.  As the beef industry evolved, Hy-Vee has been on the cutting-edge of heat-and-eat beef products, meal kits, and most recently – e-commerce for beef.  Tour their meat counter and question the beef managers about their vision for beef retail and tomorrow’s consumer.  For additional information, visit


·      Wilkerson Farms, Linden: Wilkerson Farms is the “poster family” for confined cow-calf housing, featuring the latest technology in hoop buildings.  You will see how they manage cow-calf pairs in this type of facility, minimize the acreage required to run an Iowa cow-calf operation, and meet Iowa’s environmental standards.  Their operation is a satellite herd specializing in the development of recipients carrying embryos.  Because of their experience in this type of operation, Wilkerson Farms been a feature stop at many previous field days.


·      Wiese & Sons Herefords, Manning: Wiese and Sons are long-time and nationally recognized breeders of Hereford seedstock.  Starting out with horned cattle in 1912, they have expanded into polled cattle and currently have the fifth generation of family members working within the cattle operation.  The herd now consists of 450 purebred cows, and their goal has been to develop purebred Hereford cattle that will thrive in a variety of environments.  They rotationally graze pastures, integrate annual forages into their cropping rotation and utilize synchronized AI, embryo transfer, EPD’s and performance records in their breeding program. Environmental stewardship is a large focus; with cattle being the main tool for land improvement.


·      Lauritsen Cattle Company, Exira: Lauritsen Cattle Company is a sixth generation  cattle feeding operation located in Exira, IA. The open feedlot houses 4000 head where the Lauritsen family provides cattle feeding services to customers across the country.  The technologies they use include individual animal identification, chute-side computers, CattleXpert recordkeeping and individual carcass data collection. This year, Lauritsen Cattle Company is housing and feeding the 2020 Iowa Carcass Challenge steers, which is a program designed to help Iowa cow-calf producers gather performance and carcass data on calves in the finishing phase.

*Tour capacity is 39.