Lingering drought in California and Texas has all but shut down the big cattle ranches in those states; offering a golden opportunity for cattle producers in Iowa, like the Schneider family near Lone Tree in the eastern part of the state. The Schneiders have put up a hoop building about the size of two and half football fields in length and 50 feet wide. Matt Schneider says one the advantages is allowing the animals to better handle weather extremes. Iowa State University Extension Beef Specialist Patrick Wall says the setup offers an alternative to the traditional confinement or feedlot. Wall says pasture is best if you can get it but he predicts producers will do what they can to keep up with demand. And in the case of the Schneiders unless you can see the hoop building, you’d never know there are 100 plus cows just over the hill. As you stand just outside the structure you don’t hear them or smell them. Matt says he’s very happy with their decision. The Schneiders held an open house last week for other producers who are considering their options.