The MLS began in 1998 with a simple conversation between then University of Missouri Extension Livestock Specialist Bruce Lane (retired) and local Adair County livestock producer and current MLS chair, Garry Mathes. Since those humble beginnings the MLS has grown exponentially and recently had attendees covering a majority of Missouri’s 114 counties plus 16 states, with over 2,000 in attendance.
Attendees have an opportunity to attend the largest agricultural-based trade show in the Midwest, featuring many local, state, and national agricultural businesses. Comments regularly heard include, “my favorite show,” “something for everyone in the field of agriculture,” and “we were made to feel very welcome and were well taken care of.”
The Symposium kicks off Friday afternoon December 2nd at the William Mathew Middle School. Visitors can peruse the sold out trade show before the free beef meal at 6 pm. The evening program begins in the auditorium at 7 pm when the MLS committee will recognize the 2016 Agriculture Educator of the Year and the Livestock Person of the Year. The Friday evening program concludes with a keynote speaker. This year Dr. Scott Brown, University of Missouri extension agricultural economist, will address current domestic and global farm and ranch financial pressures.
The Saturday program is unique and is what has branded the MLS for the last 16 years. Instead of focusing on one particular species of livestock, the MLS holds programs on beef cattle, horses, sheep, meat goats, forages, stock dogs, estate planning and farm management; as well as timely nutrition/food topics, saving the honeybees and backyard poultry production. The MLS features eight different educational tracks and contracts over 30 speakers from across the nation representing universities, governmental agencies, and private industry. Speakers address the timeliest information for producers to take home and improve their operations. A Governor’s Style Luncheon is provided on Saturday and is free to attendees. The meal is sponsored by Missouri’s commodity groups.
Highlights of speakers and topics for 2016 include Richard Winters, Winter’s Horsemanship and Kim Lindsey, AQHA ranching director in the horse section. The beef section will focus on the impending effects of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), highlight some of the latest advances in beef cattle genomics, and feature a panel discussing capturing value when marketing your calf crop.
Additional highlights include Dr. Michael Neary, Purdue University, featured in the sheep and stock dog sections and Dr. Ron Hanson, University of Nebraska, conducting a 3-session estate planning course. Other topic highpoints include land prices, beef economy outlook and climate trends affecting agriculture.
Since the beginning, the MLS remains deeply connected to University of Missouri Extension and their mission of improving the lives of citizens through education. MLS chair, Garry Mathes and current Livestock Specialist Zac Erwin believe this will be the best program to date. Anyone seeking further information on the MLS are encouraged to visit our website at http://www.missourilivestock.com, Like us on Facebook, call the Adair County Extension Center at 660-665-9866 or MLS chair, Garry Mathes at 660-341-6625.
Decker's Take Home Message
I will be speaking at the meeting in Kirksville, and hope to see you there!