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Something for everyone at Ozark Fall Farmfest

Written by TF Staff on .

Autumn leaves and cooler temperatures also mean it’s time for the Ozark Fall Farmfest in Springfield, Mo.

The 38th edition of the event is planned Friday through Sunday, Oct. 6-8, at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. It’s billed as the largest farm and ranch show in the Ozarks, featuring the latest in agricultural technology and rural living products and services.

With more than 800 booths and 500 head of registered livestock on display, visitors will find plenty to see and do during the Farmfest weekend. MFA has one of the larger displays in the E-Plex, and several MFA locations will have booths offering everything from apparel to livestock chutes, feeders and agronomy products.

Stock-dog demonstrations by Danny Shilling will return at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m., noon, and  2 p.m. Sunday. A display of the evolution of agricultural technology will be featured by the Ozarks Steam Engine Association and the Southwest Missouri Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association members.

Farmfest hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Ozark Empire Fairgrounds are easily accessed on the north side of Springfield, just off Interstate 44 and Highway 13.

Hard day's night

Written by TF Staff on .

Just ask any farmer during harvest. Most will say there’s never enough time to get everything done.

While hours can’t be added to the day, a new law in Missouri gives farmers more time they can legally operate their equipment on the highways. Senate Bill 8 was signed into law by Gov. Eric Greitens in June and went into effect Aug. 28, just in time for corn harvest to begin.

Though rarely enforced, the way this regulation was worded previously meant it was illegal to drive equipment such as tractors, combines and sprayers on public roads between sunset and sunrise. Now, farmers can lawfully operate 24/7 as long as the vehicles have provisions such as a white light on the front and red light on the rear—both of which must be seen from at least 500 feet away.

Push for pollinators

Written by TF Staff on .

 A series of events in June organized by the Missourians for Monarchs collaborative spotlighted the important role of pollinators in the Show-Me State and beyond.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens proclaimed June 19-25 as Pollinator Week in the state, recognizing birds and insects as “essential partners of farmers and ranchers in producing much of our food supply.” The proclamation, coinciding with National Pollinator Week, was presented June 21 at a press conference in the Carnahan Memorial Garden in Jefferson City.

Later that evening, special guests and members of the Missourians for Monarchs collaborative attended a private reception featuring Charles Wooley, deputy regional director for the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Ty Vaughn, vice president of global regulatory for Monsanto. Both speakers praised Missouri for its unprecedented efforts in monarch and pollinator conservation.

“I don’t know any other grassroots effort more important than what is going on here in Missouri,” Wooley said. “It takes all of us working together to ensure we have a future filled with pollinators like monarchs.”

During the past two decades, monarch butterfly populations have declined by an estimated 90 percent due to factors such as loss of critical habitat, namely milkweed, the only plant used by monarchs during egg and larval stages. MFA Incorporated is a funding partner in the Missourians for Monarchs collaborative, which formed in 2015 as a statewide initiative to address this issue. MFA territory falls in the epicenter of the monarch’s breeding and migratory path from Mexico to Canada.

The collaborative also includes other ag and conservation organizations, state and federal agencies, utilities, cooperatives and agribusinesses such as Monsanto. Vaughn said an important part of his job is communicating with farmers about how they can turn unproductive farmland into valuable pollinator habitat.

“We’ve begun to look at agriculture as a system that incorporates everything farmers do, including conservation practices,” he said. “With today’s digital tools, we can map fields and show areas that may be better off in pollinator habitat than in crops. I believe we’ll look back on this time and place and say that’s when ag and conservation began to coexist to make it a better place for pollinators.” 

Missouri’s Pollinator Week observance culminated in the first-ever “Monarch Mania!” on June 22 at the Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City. More than 1,400 visitors took part in activities focused on monarch butterflies, pollinators and native plants. Runge officials said it was the most-attended weekday event in the center’s history.

Overall, Pollinator Week events were intended to raise awareness about the plight of pollinators and help further the Missourians for Monarchs’ goal of establishing 385,000 new acres of habitat across the state during the next 20 years on both private and public land.

“The monarch is our ambassador for all pollinators,” said Jason Jenkins, Missourians for Monarchs coordinator. “Interest keeps growing in our collaborative’s efforts, all because of this unique, iconic species that has catapulted conservation in a way we’ve never seen before.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/MissouriansForMonarchs.

Summer gives 16 MFA interns the 'Ag Experience'

Written by TF Staff on .

 The 2017 MFA Ag Experience participants started their internship on May 22 with an orientation at MFA Incorporated’s home office in Columbia, Mo., and will complete their 12-week program on Aug. 11. The work-study program allows college students to spend 12 weeks in the real world of production agriculture. Interns are working with MFA Incorporated and its members, getting hands-on experience in areas that match their career objectives.

MFA Ag Experience interns are: seated, from left, Jacob Stuckmeyer, Koby Limbach, MiKayla Engemann and Sylvia Romine. In back, from left, are Elizabeth Wyss, Caitlyn McGuire, Ethan Fordyce, Jacob Hoellering, Levi Banner, Lane Hankins, Andy Devine, Cassidy Brown, Madison Byrd, Kaylee Padkins, Celena Kipping and Connor Hill. Learn more about the program and two of its past and present participants in the article, “Meet the Future of Agriculture."

Start the Conversation

Written by TF Staff on .

The conversation about modern agriculture has never been more important. The non-farming public is interested in understanding how agriculture supports the demands of consumers and how farmers are focused on preserving our planet’s natural resources, according to new market research facilitated by Monsanto.

The research highlights society’s perceptions about today’s farm industry and provides insights on the best way to communicate effectively about agriculture. For example, the study found that people are interested in the digital tools and data used in modern agriculture, and that subject makes a great starting point to influence positive perceptions about farming. The study also found that “sustainability” may not be an effective term unless defined in a succinct way, and that the public prefers a farmer’s focus to be on “using fewer resources” rather than “producing more food.”

The results of this research led to a new website and accompanying advertising and social media campaigns to help tell the true story of today’s farmers and the agricultural community. The online resources can help farmers understand what messaging resonates with the public and what terminology and information are most effective in engaging positive conversations about modern agriculture. For more information, visit modernag.org.

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