Dairy grazing in Southwest Missouri

The biggest challenges to dairy grazing remain the things producers can’t control – weather and price volatility. Southwest Missouri producer Charles Fletcher tells Brownfield they’re getting a pretty good price for milk now and hay stocks are looking good. But that’s not always been the case.

Fletcher explains why he switched his operation from conventional dairy to grazing intensive in 1997. Fletcher tells Brownfield Ag News, “I’d say first and foremost, economics. We ran into a year in 1996 where grain prices were high, similar to what they were last year and it forced us to look at alternative ways to feed the cows and the thing that was abundant on our farm was grass.”

Fletcher says they got by with help from friends in the drought of 2011 and ’12, when pastures dried up and they had to buy feed. “When we do that it increases our costs and obviously reduces our bottom line. But by having good relationships with other farmers in the area we were able to purchase feed. It was available to us, at a higher cost, but it was available to us and that allowed us to get through.”

Fletcher and his family runs two grazing dairies with 700 cows. The southwest Missouri region has about 100 dairy grazing operations with upwards of 10-thousand cows. He’s one of the organizers of the Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference held last week in Springfield, Missouri.

Interview with Charles Fletcher (8:00 mp3)


MO State Fair wins international honors

The Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri, has won more than 20 honors from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions, or, IAFE. Governor Jay Nixon and Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe made the announcement today. Among the awards, the Missouri State Fair was recognized for “excellence in competitive exhibits, agricultural events and exhibitions and communications efforts.”

The Missouri State Fair competed for awards with U.S. and international fairs and festivals with similar attendance – between 250-thousand and 500-thousand.

Wolfe says it affirms that their “celebration of Missouri agriculture is among the best in the U.S. as well as internationally.”

The IAFE is based in Springfield, Missouri.

Missouri Sale of Champions tops $114,000

The Missouri State Fair annual Sale of Champions Saturday raised $114,050 to benefit Missouri youth involved in agriculture.

The Grand Champion Steer was exhibited by Bailey Dent of Rolla. The 1,325-pound Crossbred steer sold for $20,000 to Edward Jones & Associates, according to a news release issued by the Missouri State Fair. The steer was donated to the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Youth in Agriculture and hometown supporters participated in all of the Sale of Champions purchases.

The 274-pound Crossbred Grand Champion Barrow, exhibited by Emily Tallman of Archie, was purchased for $19,000 by Monsanto and Farmland Foods. The barrow was donated to the Missouri 4-H Foundation.

Troy Sloan of Cameron exhibited the 137-pound Hampshire Grand Champion Market Lamb and sold it for $14,000 to Edward Jones & Associates, the Missouri State Fair Concessionaires and Commercial Exhibitors.

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State Fair = Family Vacation

The Missouri State Fair in Sedalia is a great agriculture showcase – and for many – a tourist destination. On Ag Day at the fair this week, a Centralia farmer and his wife said they made it their family vacation by camping at the fairgrounds with their three young children.

Brownfield caught up with farmer Dwain Shelton on Monday at the State Fair. He says their fair vacation is a lot more economical than a road trip and there’s plenty for them to enjoy.

The 2011 Missouri State Fair completes its 10-day run Sunday, August 21st.

AUDIO: Dwain Shelton (4:00 mp3)

Showing a steer for the first time

A Benton County boy showed a hereford steer Monday at the Missouri State Fair, his first time showing livestock.  He had his older brother and uncle to help him along.

Grant’s first showing of Big Red was in the Coliseum for the On-Foot Open Steer Carcass Show & Live Evaluation Contest.

AUDIO: Bryan Bahrenburg (1:30 mp3)


Judge Jeff

You read a lot about the Brownfield Ag News farm broadcasters and affiliate relations people on this blog, but there are a lot of other people working with us who are just as committed to the industry and to telling the story of agriculture as we are!

The Brownfield Account Executives not only take care of clients who advertise in Brownfield products; they are also involved in the industry in other ways. For example, Brownfield A.E. Jeff Moore has served as a judge for the Missouri State Fair Opening Day Parade for several years. He told me there are a total of 8 to 10 judges. He and Diane Olson with Missouri Farm Bureau judged equine and antique tractors during the 2011 parade.

The winner in the farm vehicle category was Greater Kansas City Two Cylinder Club for their group of antique tractors. Quinton Fairfax came in second with his 1958 John Deere 520.

The parade lineup ended with an impressive equine showcase. Receiving first in this category was the Springer Family and claiming second was the University of Central Missouri.

Missouri State Fair Queen named

The 2011 Missouri State Fair Queen is Dawn, Missouri native Meredith Jones. Jones, a junior at University of Missouri in Columbia studying Agricultural Education, represented Mizzou Collegiate Farm Bureau in the competition.

A total of 62 contestants were judged in interview, speech, talent and evening gown competitions.

As queen, Jones will receive a $2,000 scholarship. She will represent the Missouri State Fair throughout the coming year.

Meredith Jones is the daughter of Charles and Sherry Jones.

The 2011 Missouri State Fair continues in Sedalia through Sunday, August 21.

New building for Missouri State Fair

The Missouri State Fair is getting a new building. MFA Incorporated, MFA local affiliates and MFA Oil Company is making a $200,000 contribution to the Missouri State Fair Foundation to fund construction of a covered Coliseum Annex Arena on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. The new building will be called the MFA Coliseum Annex Arena.

Construction of the new 70 by 220-foot structure will cover the current warm-up ring located north of the historic Coliseum, converting it into a versatile livestock facility for both warm-up and competition uses not only during state fair, but for various events held throughout the year.

The contribution will come from the MFA Incorporated Foundation, MFA Oil Foundation and the joint MFA Foundation, to which the companies contribute.