SW MO Spring Forage Conference to be held Feb. 21 in Springfield

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Photo courtesy Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference

The 39th annual SW MO Spring Forage Conference will be held Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center, 2546 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, Missouri.

“As farmers and livestock grazers continue to deal with drought conditions and high input costs, the conference planning committee has themed the 2023 conference “Doing More with Less,”” says Patrick Davis, conference public relations chair and MU Extension Livestock Field Specialist.  John Coleman Locke will be the keynote speaker for this year’s conference. Locke is a sixth generation Brahman cattle seedstock operator and member of the JD Hudgins Inc. Ranching Operation on the Texas Gulf Coast.  As keynote speaker he will surely have a lot of wisdom to share with conference participants and teach us how to have fun and find financial reward while building a legacy for generations to come.   In addition, his life story and farming background has taught him these life lessons, along with his time in becoming a certified instructor with Dave Pratt and the Ranching for Profit Schools.  Locke will specifically educate this year’s conference participants on making the best out of what you have and how it is possible to do more with less.

“To further educate participants in relation to the conference theme, there will also be several breakout sessions,” says Davis.  Topics of these sessions include Kentucky 31 fescue management, managing spring forage flush, hay production economics as well as the round baler’s effect on the rural economy, economics of cow size, cow production costs, calving season selection, level of pasture incorporation of clover, what do cattle buyers want, cattle corral system design, and the importance of P and K in pasture fertility.  These topics will be covered by extension faculty and researchers from the universities of Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Missouri State as well as local cattle producers and marketers.

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“This conference also has sessions specific to small ruminant producers or people interested in small ruminant production,” says Davis.  The topics for these sessions include producing sheep adapted to your environment, how to graze sheep year around, market outlook of sheep and goat production, and adding value to sheep and goats through direct marketing to the consumer.  These topics will be covered by a local sheep producer and a MU Extension ag business field specialist.

“A large trade show will also be held in conjunction with the conference,” says Davis.  Agricultural businesses and organizations will have exhibits and representatives available to discuss their products and services. If interested in becoming an exhibitor or sponsor, contact Jody Wade at the Webster County MO SWCD office at (417) 468-4176 ext. 3 or by email at [email protected].

Conference check-in begins at 8 a.m., with sessions running from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A banquet luncheon is included with the registration. The cost is $55 per person and registration deadline is February 10th.  Davis urges participants to find more information about the conference and to register online at www.springforageconference.com.  For additional questions contact Jody Wade at the Webster County MO SWCD office at (417) 468-4176 ext. 3 or by email at [email protected].

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