OAKLAND, Iowa — For more than 30 years, Darrell Busby has walked among the cattle at southwest Iowa feedlots, talking to farmers, examining livestock and collecting data — all in an effort to maximize production.

“We want to increase profits for producers,” the Oakland resident said.

The “we” is the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity cooperative, which Busby manages. Every year, farmers with cow-calf operations in 25 states and Canada bring about 7,500 cattle to feedlots in southwest Iowa for the cooperative to study. Busby and team collect growth data, examine cattle disposition (calmer cows are healthier cows) and gather carcass information on each animal as it’s processed at the plant.

For his contributions to the industry, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association named Busby to its 2012 Hall of Fame class.

“There are all these people I’ve worked with over the years in the Hall of Fame — now I’m recognized with them,” he said. “That’s a tremendous honor.”

Busby’s work with Tri-County started in his role as a beef specialist with Pottawattamie County Iowa State Extension and Outreach. In July 1980, Busby and his wife, Catherine, moved to Oakland from Kansas after Darrell received a master’s degree in animal science from Kansas State University. His original role with the extension was livestock specialist, but as the organization evolved, he specialized in beef.

Along with his work with farmers, Busby has been involved with 4-H and Future Farmers of America programs and taught countless children, teens and adults about agriculture.

“He’s helped educate a lot of people — lot of people — on how to do things right,” said David Trowbridge, manager of Gregory Feedlots in Tabor.

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