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Illinois Ag News Headlines
New Cow-Calf Barn Allows Young Farmer to Expand Herd
Illinois Ag Connection - 07/12/2017

Ashton Gronewold knew that getting started in farming would not be easy, but he was determined to make it work. After receiving a degree in Engineering and working away from the farm, Ashton realized that he wanted to return to the family farm full-time. Livestock provided an opportunity to be able to grow and allow multiple families to prosper.

Neighbors and members of the community were invited to celebrate the opening of the Gronewold's new deep-pack cow-calf monoslope barn at an Open House on Friday.

Ashton farms with his father, Merlin and his brother-in-law, Evan Davidson. They grow corn, soybeans and hay along with their 350 head cow-calf operation.

"Our family has raised cattle for many years, but the addition of the new cow-calf barn allowed us the opportunity to add 150 cows to our farm without increasing the number of acres of pasture," said Ashton.

The barn, built by Summit Livestock Facilities, is 100 feet wide by 252 feet long and has three pens to house cows and calves with feed bunks on both sides. There is also an area for manure storage. The Gronewolds have had cattle in the new barn since January.

"We are extremely pleased with the condition of the cows and the growth of the calves in the new barn," said Ashton. "There are so many variables that you have to contend with for cows raised out on pasture. We can better manage the amount of feed the cows eat and keep them more comfortable and productive during inclement weather."

The Open House was a unique opportunity for attendees to tour the cow-calf barn. More than 300 people, including other cattle farmers and the general public, were able to see the latest products and technologies for cattle comfort and environmental stewardship. They were treated to a free ribeye sandwich cooked by the Hancock County Beef Producers.

The event was coordinated by the Summit Livestock Facilities and the Illinois Livestock Group (ILDG), which is a coalition of Illinois ag groups committed to expanding and growing the livestock industry. ILDG members include: IL Beef Association, IL Corn Marketing Board, IL Farm Bureau, IL Milk Producers' Association, IL Pork Producers Association, and IL Soybean Association checkoff program. Part of the on-going efforts of ILDG is to help tell the positive story of livestock in Illinois. One way to accomplish this is helping plan and coordinate Open Houses for new livestock farms.

"Summit Livestock has enjoyed working with the Gronewolds' on their new beef monoslope facility. We are proud to be associated with this project and the Illinois Livestock Development Group," said Ed Leman, Sales Manager, Summit Livestock Facilities.

Other sponsors of the event were: IL Beef Association & IL Beef Checkoff, Summit Livestock Facilities, AC McCartney, First State Bank of Illinois, Hancock and Carthage Vet Clinic, Quincy Farm Products and Ursa Farmers Coop.

"The Illinois Beef Association (IBA) and Illinois Beef Checkoff helped to sponsor the open house to draw attention to great farm families like the Gronewolds. Cattlemen were able to come and get ideas for how to expand their own operation and consumers saw first-hand how beef producers work hard to produce high quality beef," said Reid Blossom, IBA Executive Vice-President.

The beef industry is important to the Illinois economy. Every sector of the beef business calls Illinois home from cow-calf producers to food processing. Live cattle sales total more than $5 million every day in Illinois and that number increases many times with the addition of sales of fresh and prepared beef products.

"The dedication of Illinois cattle producers, such as the Gronewold family, to do what's right, combined with their innovative spirit to adopt new approaches, has helped them chart a path to success," said Blossom.

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