Director Column

IBC director's monthly column featured in Cattleman Magazine. Archives

Denise Schwab in The Cattleman Magazine

Denise Schwab, interim IBC director


February 2024

February is another very busy month for the Iowa Beef Center. We have several Boots in the Barn sessions schedule for women in the cattle business, a grid marketing program, manure applicator trainings, and a new Feedlot Webinar series. Several of us will also be involved in the Iowa Forage and Grassland Council meeting Feb. 6 at Reiman Gardens in Ames.

This month I’d like to introduce you to Beth Reynolds, our IBC Program Specialist. Beth has two offices, one on campus and one in the Warren County Extension office. As our Program Specialist, Beth is a jack of all trades, helping with program and event coordination, marketing, managing our social media efforts, and leading the Fencing and Grazing Clinics. Beth joined the Iowa Beef Center in January of 2019 after completing her MS degree with Mary Drewnoski at the University of Nebraska Lincoln where her research focused on grazing annual forages, nitrate toxicity, and overall crop - livestock systems.

Beth grew up in northeast Colorado on a diversified farm and ranch. The multi-generation partners, raise corn, potatoes, kidney and pinto beans, wheat, a few other crops, commercial cattle, and some registered Charolais. Beth credits her dad for instilling her passion in beef cattle and in particular the Charolais. She majored in Animal Science with a minor in Ag Business at the University of Wyoming and competed on a successful meats judging team. Beth met her husband Brandon while in college, and eventually followed him back home to Iowa. They live in Warren County where they run cows and custom build fence. They have two toddlers that also consume their time.

"I have been given the opportunity to work with the other beef specialists to craft a variety of educational programs. I have been involved in a large portion of the webinars and virtual outreach efforts over the last five years," said Beth. In terms of educational programs, she is most proud of the Fencing and Grazing Clinics she created and implemented in several locations. She can also be proud of the leadership she has given to maintaining our social media platforms and writing for various magazines. Thanks to Beth’s leadership the IBC staff now have regular articles in Progressive Cattle, and will soon be writing for BEEF Digital edition, and she also writes for Hay and Forage Grower. Beth is also active in the Iowa Forage and Grassland Council.

ISU has a few other new staff members that the Iowa Beef Center is wrapping into our team. One is Carolyn Ihde from St. Olaf, who recently became a small ruminant specialist for ISU and the University of Wisconsin. Carolyn lives in Clayton County and had served as the county director for Grant County, Wisconsin. She hit the ground running and has a Small Ruminant Webinar series scheduled for January thru April. For more information on the series go to . Another new specialist is Dr. Shelby Gruss in the department of Agronomy. Shelby is our new forage specialist and has already been out and about doing presentations on forage management. Shelby earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics from Purdue University in 2021 and completed her post doctorate at Michigan State last year.

As always, the best location to see all the upcoming programs we are working on at the Iowa Beef Center is our webpage We hope to see you on the road!

The IBC at Iowa State University serves as the university’s extension program to cattle producers. Our center comprises a team of faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. We work together to develop and deliver the latest in research-based information to improve the profitability and vitality of Iowa’s beef industry. If you’d like to be notified of updates on progress of research projects or programs that might be coming to your area, please subscribe to our “Growing Beef” newsletter by following the link on our website, If you have a question, use our “Ask our Experts” link. Also, feel free to call us at 515-294-BEEF or email us at You can follow @iowabeefcenter on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.