Couser Cattle Company inducted into Iowa Cattlemen's Hall of Fame

| January 2, 2020

Contact: Katie Olthoff, Director of Communications, Iowa Cattlemen's Association, 515-296-2266

Few couples have had as much of an impact on Iowa agriculture as Bill and Nancy Couser of Nevada. The couple operates Couser Cattle Company, finishing approximately 6,000 head of cattle, while farming several thousand acres of corn, soybeans, seed corn, and alfalfa. Over the years, they’ve utilized their farm and strong leadership skills to demonstrate advances in modern agriculture to fellow farmers, consumers, and government officials.

Environmental Excellence

The Cousers, with their proximity to Iowa State University, have offered their farm for research purposes many times. Working with engineers from the university, they installed concrete settling basins at the edge of the feedlots, leading into vegetative treatment areas (VTAs). Water quality data was harvested over several years while tweaks were made to the system.

This successful experiment was one of the factors that led the Cousers to become NCBA’s 2010 National Environmental Stewardship Award Winners. Minimizing the environmental impact of the farm has always been a priority, and reducing run-off, utilizing cover crops, improving feed efficiency, and utilizing ethanol co-products in the rations have created a cumulative effect over the years.

Bill served as a driving force in developing Lincoln Way Energy, a 50 million gallon, local-investor owned ethanol plant built in 2006 in Story County. The connection between raising corn, producing ethanol, feeding DDGS to cattle, and fertilizing the corn field with manure has always been a source of pride for Bill.

Never a stranger to environmental regulators, the Cousers have developed strong relationships with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the years. While many farmers try to avoid visits from those two agencies, the Cousers have willingly invited them to the farm many times over the years, most recently hosting former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in 2017.

Bill has also been active in the Animal Agriculture Discussion Group with the Environmental Protection Agency. The AADG was established in 2013, with a goal of collaborating to enhance water quality protection through voluntary partnerships, instead of through regulatory measures.

Couser Cattle Co. Cattle Feeding

In addition to serving on the Iowa Beef Industry Council board over the years, Nancy has had her own positive impact on Iowa’s environmental regulations. She recently finished her term on Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission (EPC.) The EPC is a panel of nine citizens representing specific business sectors who provide policy oversight over Iowa's environmental protection efforts. Serving on the EPC is a thankless job, but it is incredibly helpful to have cattle producers included on the commission. With the role of the EPC tied closely to the Department of Natural Resources, the group’s decisions often have bearing on production agriculture.

The Cousers’ involvement in these environmental issues over the years has built relationships within the DNR and EPA, leading some in those organizations to view cattle producers as partners in environmental protection, rather than enemies.

Beef Quality Assurance

In addition to the National Environmental Stewardship Award, the Cousers were also recipients of the National Beef Quality Assurance Award. Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) works to protect consumer confidence in our beef supply through a set of management practices intended to protect animal welfare, herd health, and beef quality.

The Cousers not only utilize BQA practices daily on their farm, but they also take part in BQA research and host trainings. In 2010, a study on injection site lesions took place on the farm, and the four steers used in the study were donated by the Cousers.

The farm is frequently visited by students from the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as undergraduates at ISU and local FFA and 4-H groups. BQA trainings take place on the farm regularly.

Bill’s dedication to animal health and welfare was also evident when he served as vice-chairman of NCBA’s Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee. The committee covers topics such as domestic and foreign animal diseases, animal health research, and antibiotic use.

Promoting Beef

Nancy Couser served on the Iowa Beef Industry Council board, helping to guide the checkoff investment to promote beef. As a trained nurse, her knowledge in the health realm helped inform consumers about the nutritional benefits of eating beef.

In addition, the farm has been host to many “foodies” over the years, with food bloggers from around the United States visiting to learn about how cattle are raised and how to cook beef. A meeting room overlooks the cornfields, and provides a perfect opportunity to educate consumers.

2019 Iowa Cattlemen's Hall of Fame

Bill and Nancy Couser’s hard work has certainly not gone unnoticed over the years. In addition to the Iowa Master Farmer award, the National Beef Quality Assurance Award, the National Environmental Stewardship Award, and a feature in Time magazine as one of 10 People who Mattered in 2006, the Cousers can now add “Iowa Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame” to their resumes.


About the Iowa Cattlemen's Association:  The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 9,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.”