Latest precision ag technologies to be features at the 2017 Western Farm Show

Written by TF Staff on .

With the rapid adoption of precision agriculture in recent years, it’s no surprise that new technologies that help farmers be more efficient and productive will be prominently on display at the 2017 Western Farm Show.

This year’s event will be held Feb. 24-26 at the American Royal Complex in Kansas City, Missouri, once again offering one of the largest indoor displays of farming and ranching equipment and other agricultural products in the Midwest.  

“Farmers and ranchers who come to the Western Farm Show want to learn as much as possible about the latest products and innovations that can help them enhance their operations,” said show manager Ken Dean. “Advanced new technologies, including precision ag tools, continue to generate strong interest among our attendees.”

Following are examples of the many exhibitors displaying ag precision products at the 2017 Western Farm Show:

  • MFA Incorporated, based in Columbia, Missouri, will display a multi-hybrid planting system that enables farmers to plant two hybrids in the same row, switching back and forth as environments change, to plant the products that will produce the most in each environment. “Yield potential can often vary in the same field, calling for different hybrids in different areas,” said Jason Worthington, MFA Incorporated senior staff agronomist. “This advanced system enables farmers to maximize their yield by planting the hybrid that will perform the best across their whole field.” MFA Incorporated, which is a primary sponsor of the Western Farm Show, will also highlight hydraulic downforce systems designed to provide more consistent crop emergence and stand, with less soil compaction.
  • Record Harvest, of Nevada, Missouri, will showcase the latest drone software which enables farmers using a cell phone or tablet to program a flight plan and create a mosaic of high-quality images across the field. Farmers can use these photos to identify issues like pest infestations or nitrogen loss in corn. With this system, up to 400 images can be captured for a 100-acre field and woven into a single high-definition, geo-referenced image. “We’re very excited to offer farmers this advanced tool,” said Steve Cubbage, president of Record Harvest. “The software is compatible with most off-the-shelf drone equipment and photos can be uploaded and processed within 30 to 45 minutes.”
  • Outback Guidance, based in Hiawatha, Kansas, will display autosteer and variable application rate technologies that enable farmers to eliminate overlaps, reduce hot spots and ensure even application across the entire field, regardless of shape or size. Flexible programming technology controls machine functions for spraying, spreading and anhydrous applications. “GPS technology is no longer just a novelty, it’s become a mainstay in agriculture,” said Bill Hargis, Outback Guidance territory manager. “It not only ensures greater precision and accuracy, but also reduces costs and operator fatigue.”

In addition to precision ag tools, Western Farm Show attendees can browse aisles and aisles of other farming and ranching equipment, ranging from tractors, sprayers and combines to head gates, feeding systems and loading chutes. Construction equipment, seed products, farm buildings and thousands of other ag products and services will also be showcased.

Other show attractions include the Low-Stress Livestock Handling Demonstration, Health and Safety Roundup, FFA Day, Family Living Center and a cooking demonstration. 

The Western Farm Show is produced and managed by Western Equipment Dealers Association, a trade group representing approximately 2,400 farm, industrial and outdoor power equipment dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Show hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Adult admission is $8 and free for children 12 and under.

For more information, including the full list of show exhibitors, visit Like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at

2017 Western Farm Show in Kansas City

Written by TF Staff on .

The Western Farm Show returns to the American Royal Complex in Kansas City, Mo., Friday through Sunday, Feb. 24-26, 2017, offering expansive displays of new equipment along with a vast array of other products and services for farmers and ranchers.

The popular event (one of the largest indoor farm shows in the Midwest) features hundreds of exhibitors, acres of things to see and do, and the latest in farm and ranch technology and more. In addition to the newest farm equipment, visitors will again have the opportunity to browse crop production and livestock products, farm structures and numerous ag services, including booths from MFA Incorporated.

Highlights of the 2017 Western Farm Show, now in its 56th season, will include:

  • The Low-Stress Livestock Handling Demonstration, sponsored by MFA Incorporated, at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., also Saturday, in the Scott Pavilion adjacent to the American Royal Complex. The demonstrations, included in the show admission price and led by Ron Gill, Ph.D., Texas AgriLife Extension Specialist, focus on improving the well-being of beef and dairy cattle, as well as their handlers, through humane animal care. Ranchers can learn how to incorporate the economic benefits of improved livestock handling through reduced sickness and labor, and improved weight gains.
  • The Taste of Home Cooking Show at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Wagstaff Theater inside the American Royal. Sponsored by American Family Insurance, the cooking show is an entertaining audience participation program that features recipes, cooking techniques, practical kitchen tips and simple plating ideas. Taste of Home recipes are practical because they’re from home cooks—not gourmet chefs—and feature familiar, everyday ingredients, clear, beautiful photos and easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.
  • The Health & Safety Roundup, coordinated by the Missouri Farm Bureau. New for 2017 is free SPOTme Skin Cancer screenings. Free blood pressure and hearing tests, vision screening are also available, including glaucoma, tetanus shots and, for a nominal fee, cholesterol screening.
  • FFA Day, Friday, Feb. 24, when an expected 3,000 FFA students from Missouri and Kansas will participate in the annual Food Drive “Border War” with collections to be donated to Harvesters Community Food Network serving western Missouri and eastern Kansas.
  • The Family Living Center, a special area of the show offering clothing, crafts, food and home décor products.

Tractor pull discontinued

Note: One change for 2017 is that the Western Farm Show will not be hosting the Championship Tractor Pull, with Doug Roberts and the Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association, at Kemper Arena adjacent to the American Royal. Earlier this year, the city approved plans for the redevelopment of the arena into a venue for amateur youth and adult sports, making the space unavailable for the tractor pull. But that will not affect other Western Farm Show activities held in the American Royal building.

The Western Farm Show is produced and managed by Western Equipment Dealers Association, a trade group representing approximately 2,400 farm, industrial and outdoor power equipment dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Show hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Adult admission is $8 and free for children 12 and under.

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Celebrating local cooperatives

Written by Kerri Lotven on .

The Freistatt Farmers Exchange is on the main street of Freistatt directly across from the volunteer fire department and a cluster of outdoor post office boxes. Members of the community regularly stop in to purchase a sandwich and chips from the deli counter or a load of feed from the storerooms. Some customers call the store to find out if the mail has been delivered before subjecting themselves to the bitter cold of a winter day. When an ice storm cut power for two weeks a few years ago, the Freistatt Farmers Exchange kept the community supplied with kerosene from an antique pump. These are just a few examples of what some like-minded MFA-affiliated cooperatives across the territory mean to the communities they serve.

In 2016, four MFA local cooperative affiliates celebrated milestone anniversaries. Freistatt celebrated its 50th. At MFA, we often talk about our cooperative history—of the people who recognized the benefit of working together to leverage buying power and their collective voices in the pursuit of “equality for agriculture.” MFA and its local affiliates have always existed to benefit our rural communities, making agricultural goods and services accessible to farmers in the area.

“We’re owned by our members for the purpose of serving our membership and to provide services that aren’t normally available in small towns this size,” Freistatt Farmer’s Exchange Manager Doug Arnett said.

“Our local affiliates often have a long history that directly aligns with MFA’s. When MFA founder William Hirth began proposing the idea of farm clubs, these communities took action and began organizing. Many locations have withstood time, weather and politics to continue serving their neighbors—and that’s worth some recognition,” said Ernie Verslues, President and CEO of MFA Incorporated.

Freistatt Farmers Exchange’s anniversary celebration drew almost 300 people. In a town with a population of 163 according to 2010 census data, those attendees demonstrate the impact this local cooperative still has on its community 50 years later.

Birch Tree

"Being an MFA affiliate helps supply the local community with products that might not be available otherwise in a town this small. I think there is a certain level of trust. People can come in and talk to us and not feel like we're just trying to sell them something. We're in this together. They know we're trying to help because we're members of their community" Lester Jett, manager of Birch Tree said. 









Lockwood Farmers Exchange

"A lot of the reasons we do business as an MFA local affiliate is the tradition and history that MFA embodies" Lockwood Farmers Exchange Manager, Robert Johnson said. "The progress that MFA has made over the last 100 years has changed the face of agriculture. It's a recognized supplier and retailer that has made it known it's out to stay." 









Rhineland Co-op Association #130

"We've been here for 95 years," said Gregg Lamb, the general manager of Rhineland Co-op Association #130. "We have a long history of being with MFA and flying the shield. Being a small co-op, we can't do everything ourselves. By being affiliated with a larger organization, there's a lot more resources available to us." 

Good for the barbecue, tough on producers

Written by TF Staff on .

Consumers should see more favorable prices at the meat counter this year. There will be continued downward pressure on global meat prices during 2017, according to a report from the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Group.

Among the changes in the world market, some consistencies are evident. Rabobank predicts that China will continue to exert a huge influence on global meat markets. The world’s most populous country increased pork imports to record levels in 2016 and Rabobank forecasts these import levels will remain constant this year. China’s beef and poultry imports are also expected to rise.

In the U.S., production is expected to continue growing, but consumers’ appetites are being tested as record levels are reached. The strong dollar and uncertainty over future trading relationships with China and Mexico create potential headwinds for American producers. The U.S. is a leading exporter of pork to China.

Justin Sherrard, Rabobank’s animal protein global strategist, said: “In a market driven by supply, we expect prices to come under pressure—a boon to consumers but a clear challenge for producers and processors. With rising demand, we forecast that China will maintain its 2016 record levels of pork imports next year and could increasingly seek something akin to ‘imports-plus,’ locking in supply as it targets food safety and security for its growing population. Meanwhile, U.S. producers head into 2017 grappling with potential changes to the country’s trade policy and further currency movements. Indeed, with worldwide currency fluctuations depending on political machinations as well as central bank decisions, we are becoming accustomed to expecting the unexpected.”

Elsewhere, Rabobank predicts an increasingly complex production market, making it more challenging for producers to exploit opportunities. They may come under additional pressure to adapt their systems to mitigate threats including the focus on antibiotics use, the attention on livestock as a source of greenhouse gases and growing retailer competition.

An MFA and CAFNR partnership

Written by TF Staff on .

MFA Incorporated, MFA Oil and the MFA Foundation pledged $750,000, payable over four years, to the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources in 2015. The pledged established an endowed professorship that supports education and research. The first professorship role was recently filled.

Joe Parcell, professor and department chair of agricultural and applied economics in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, was tabbed as the first MFA Professor of Agribusiness.

“MFA’s partnership with the University of Missouri began a century ago,” said Ernie Verslues, president and CEO of MFA Incorporated. “We are extremely happy the university selected Dr. Parcell. He is a unique individual, and several of us at MFA have met with him. Joe brings a critical perspective to issues that affect agribusinesses in fundamental ways, not simply rehashing existing data. He is receptive to our ideas as well as the needs of those of us in the business world. He is intelligent in his approach to unearthing data that helps drive smart decisions.

“Dr. Parcell is a good conduit between today’s industry and academia,” added Verslues. “Not just at MFA, but in all areas of agriculture, we’ll benefit from his tenure.”

When the funds reach $1.1 million, the professorship will be converted to a chair.

Parcell is the director of undergraduate studies and adviser chair of agricultural and applied economics. He served as the director of the Missouri Value Added Development Center from 2001 to 2013. The Center was a joint venture between CAFNR and MU Extension.

“The focus is pretty flexible,” Parcell said. “Agribusiness can go so many different directions. We want to work for what’s best for the farmers.

“I’m really just a custodian of MFA’s resources. I’m here to ensure that they get used in a wise way and in a way that is valued by others across Missouri. We’re setting the base. My objective is to take those resources and leverage them the best I can to create even more resources.”

Parcell grew up on a hog farm in Iowa. He and his wife ran a row crop farm for more than 10 years and currently have a farm that they sharecrop.

Parcell earned his Ph.D. from Kansas State University. He has been with the University of Missouri for nearly 19 years, beginning his career as an extension agent. He has worked with farmers on a variety of projects, including price information and agribusiness.

“I have deep roots in agriculture and agribusiness,” Parcell said. “I have always been focused on Missouri agriculture, and this is a tremendous honor and opportunity.

“The intent here,” he said, “is to offer support for agriculture and agribusiness in Missouri. We want to promote agriculture and agribusiness and bring more students into this world.”

One of Parcell’s greatest strengths is mentoring and working with students.

As the MFA Professor in Agribusiness, Parcell will be in charge of several resources. Farmers and students are just two groups Parcell will interact with.

“MFA’s historic relationship with the University of Missouri reaches all the way back to 1914,” Verslues said. “And, really, considering William Hirth first bought the Missouri Farmer and Breeder (currently Today’s Farmer) in 1908, the relationship actually began then, before MFA was even created. From the first date of the publication, Hirth depended on University of Missouri professors to spread information they were developing. The magazine’s cover contained this quote, ‘It is published in the home of Missouri’s great agricultural college and the Missouri Experiment Station and tells you of the many great things which these fine institutions are doing for you. It stands for better crops, for better livestock, for more comfort and less drudgery—in short for a more profitable and pleasant farm life.’ We still operate under those beliefs. So, yes, we are excited.”


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