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Whether your animals moo, bleat or whinny, the 2011 Missouri Livestock Symposium, Dec. 2-3 in Kirksville, will have helpful tips for your farm or ranch.

“We have some of the best speakers in the country coming to the Kirksville Middle School,” said Garry L. Mathes, chair of the MLS planning committee. “Since the symposium is free, and so are the meals, I doubt there is a better buy anywhere.”

Speakers will cover topics on beef cattle and forages, horses, sheep, meat goats and stock dogs. The Missouri Livestock Symposium is organized and run by a 20-member volunteer committee representing all livestock species and multiple agriculture-related agencies and educational institutions.


Dave Pratt, founder of Ranching for Profit, will be a big draw for livestock producers. Pratt will give multiple talks on efficient and profitable techniques for farms and ranches. The former University of California Extension specialist has taught practical farm and ranch management to producers since 1992. Topics will include “Three Secrets to Profit,” “Working on the Business,” “Knowing What Numbers Mean,” Hard Work and Harmony,” “Wealthy on the Balance Sheet, Broke at the Bank” and a Q-and-A session.

“Dave Pratt speaks all over the world and his schools can cost producers more than $2,000 to attend, so this is a golden opportunity to hear Dave at no cost,” Mathes said.

Beef cattle health will be the focus of an expert panel discussion moderated by Rod Geisert, University of Missouri professor of animal science. Covering pinkeye and trichomoniasis and other perennial issues, these specialists will field questions from the audience.

Justin Sexten, an MU Extension state beef specialist, will turn his eye toward efficiency of operations in “Feed Costs, Feed Efficiency and Profit.”

The Missouri Beef Council will team up with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to debut some new cuts that are coming to the meat counter thanks to beef checkoff dollars. Cooking and taste tests will be part of the program.

Sheep and Goats

Sheep and goat producers can expect to hear national experts present about the biggest producer problems.

T.A. Yazwinski, University of Arkansas, will share new strategies and products to control worms and internal parasites. Susan Schoenian, University of Maryland, will cover both ends of the beast, including feed costs and foot health.

Veterinarian Bob Fielder of McArthur, Calif., will bring the discussion to better sheep and goat breeding. He will also talk about how to keep a producer’s flock or herd healthy.


Equine producers and aficionados will learn from Van Hargis, Sulfur Springs, Texas. His talks will discuss standing while mounting and bit education.

Veterinarian and author Ted Stashak of Northern California will turn attention to the tender issue of wound care. Emily Costello, Truman State University equine specialist, will round out the program by moderating an equine panel to explain a variety of horse topics and field audience questions.

Other sessions will include livestock and farm protection, backyard poultry production and management, the Farmers Care program, providing safe food to consumers, the impact of food and drink on the history of the world, available grant money to improve farmstead efficiency, and floral arranging. Stock dog owners can also receive tips from training expert Lyle East of Clinton, Mo.

The Missouri Livestock Symposium will feature a trade show on Friday, a classic tractor contest and display, and entertainment Saturday evening by Becky Blackaby. Those attending will eat a free beef meal at 6 p.m. Friday, free donuts and drinks Saturday morning and free lunch Saturday.

No pre-registration is required and the all programs are free. Several FCS Financial staff members will be on hand to answer any questions about rural property financing or risk management strategies.

For a full schedule and information on hotel accommodations and speakers, go to More information is also available on the Missouri Livestock Symposium's Facebook page, or by calling 660-665-9866 or 660-341-6625.
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