Kurt family earns award as ICA Producers of Year

Lisa (left) and Jason Kurt of Cascade recently received the Commercial Cattle Producers of the Year award from the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. (Photos submitted)

The Kurt family, from left: Eldon, Jason, Katelyn, Lisa, Ray and Ashley Kurt.

     Jason and Lisa Kurt of Cascade have been named winners of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) Commercial Cattle Producers of the Year award.

     The award was presented by the ICA at its Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit Dec. 5 at Prairie Meadows Event Center in Altoona.

     Jason and Lisa have worked hard over the years to build their cattle business while also working off the farm. They have approximately 230 cows and finish 1,000 head annually.

     The couple is also raising four children. Raymond, the oldest, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in December and will be working full-time on the family farm.

     Lisa Kurt grew up on a dairy operation, and says that “anything is easy after milking cows.”

     Jason, on the other hand, did not grow up on a farm, but began working with cattle in FFA and 4-H. He graduated from high school with six cows to his name, went to work for a local farmer, and continued to grow his herd. Without the luxury of family farm ground, Jason and Lisa have built their operation mostly from scratch.

     The couple, who have been married since 1997, expanded their operation in the past few years, adding new monoslope barns adjacent to their open feedlots. In addition to their own feedlot, they own approximately 200 head that are custom fed elsewhere.

     The cow herd is largely Angus-Gelbvieh crossbreds. This combination improves docility, carcass data, and maternal traits. Each year, approximately 70 heifers are bred, with half of those retained and half sold as bred heifers. The Kurts use AI on their heifers in order to utilize bulls with high calving ease, good marbling, good weaning weights and carcass traits.

     The focus on carcass traits has paid off. The Kurts have raised award-winning calves for the ICA Carcass Challenge several years in a row, placing 8th in Retail Value per day on Feed in 2019, 7th in 2017 and 6th in 2016.

     The Kurts have also made improvements to their operation with conservation in mind. EQIP funds have helped the family develop paddocks and a rotational grazing system, and cover crops are grazed on some of the crop acres.

     Lisa Kurt serves on the Jones County Agricultural Extension Council and works off the farm as a feed and fertilizer inspector for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. And according to Jason, there’s nothing on the farm she cannot do.

     Jason has served as the president of the Jones County Cattlemen for several years, and currently serves on the ICA Board of Directors. Jason also works off the farm as a fertilizer salesman.

     The Kurts have made a lasting impact on the cattle industry, and their children are following in their footsteps.



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