The show goes on

Written by TF Staff on .

Farmers and ranchers throughout the Midwest can see the latest agricultural products and technologies to help boost productivity when the 2018 Western Farm Show returns to the American Royal Complex in Kansas City, Mo., Friday through Sunday, Feb. 23-25.

Now in its 57th season, the Western Farm Show features one of the region’s largest indoor displays of farm and ranch products. More than 500 exhibitors, including MFA Incorporated, will feature farm equipment, crop production and livestock products, farm structures, numerous ag services and much more.

Other highlights include:

  • The Stockmanship and Stewardship Low-Stress Livestock Handling Demonstration, sponsored by MFA Incorporated, will be held at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, in the Scott Pavilion adjacent to the American Royal Complex. The demonstrations are included in the show admission price and focus on improving the well-being of beef and dairy cattle, as well as their handlers, through humane animal care.
  • The Health & Safety Roundup, coordinated by Missouri Farm Bureau, features blood pressure, hearing and skin cancer screenings at no cost and cholesterol screenings for a nominal fee. Also offered will be free children’s vision tests. Highway safety will be presented by the Missouri and Kansas Highway Patrols, while other organizations will offer displays and demonstrations covering such topics as gun safety, crime prevention and FAA security/hazardous materials.
  • A cooking demonstration by the Culinary Center of Kansas City will be Saturday 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., sponsored by American Family Insurance. Tickets to the cooking shows are free, available in advance from American Family Insurance agents and at the company’s booth while supplies last. 
  • During FFA Day on Friday, Feb. 23, an expected 3,000 FFA students from Missouri and Kansas will compete for bragging rights in the annual Food Drive “Border War.” Collections are donated to the Harvesters Community Food Network serving western Missouri and eastern Kansas. FFA youth also have the opportunity at the show to expand their knowledge about agriculture and learn about career options.
  • The Family Living Center, a special area of the show, will feature clothing, crafts, and food, health and home décor items.
  • Sunday, Feb. 25, will be Military Appreciation Day, providing free show admission for veterans and active-duty service personnel with appropriate identification.

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Adult admission is $8 and free for children 12 and under. For more information visit or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Forage and grazing conferences merge

Written by TF Staff on .

The annual Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference and the Heart of America Grazing Conference are coming together for a combined two-day event on Monday, Feb. 26, and Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield, Mo.

The joint conference is designed for producers interested in learning more about management strategies for forages and livestock. Monday afternoon’s agenda offers four different sessions focusing on soil health on grasslands, followed by a social event, trade show and evening dinner.

On Tuesday, 45-minute breakout sessions will feature topics that include chemical weed control in pastures, understanding forage quality, grazing alfalfa, mineral supplements in pastures, incorporating sheep and goats into the cattle operation, beef genetics, getting top dollar for your calves, adapting to the forage growth curve and conditioning cows for pregnancy. The keynote luncheon speaker is Dave Pratt, who teaches the Ranching for Profit School in North America, Australia and Africa. He’s been instrumental in developing the Sustainable Ranching Research and Education Project and is co-founder of the California Grazing Academy.

More information and registration are available at or by calling 417-532-6305, ext. 101. Pre-register by Feb. 16.

Feeding the economy

Written by TF Staff on .

The food and agriculture industries not only play a vital role in feeding Americans but also in feeding and growing the nation’s economy.

That fact was put into figures through a nationwide economic impact study released in November. The research found that more than one-fifth (or 20.4 percent) of the nation’s economy is linked, directly or indirectly, to the food and agriculture sectors, and more than one-fourth of all American jobs (28 percent) are similarly connected.

The extensive farm-to-fork economic analysis quantified the impact of the jobs, wages, taxes and exports the agricultural and food industries make possible. Twenty-two food and agriculture organizations commissioned this research. Among the most important findings were:   

  • Total jobs: 43,311,057
  • Total wages: $1.9 trillion
  • Total taxes: $894.13 billion
  • Exports: $146.32 billion
  • Total food and industry economic impact: $6.7 trillion

To measure the total economic impact of the sectors, the analysis also includes the indirect and induced economic activity surrounding these industries, which captures upstream and downstream activity. For example, when a farm equipment retailer hires new employees because farmers are buying more tractors, experts consider the new salaries an indirect impact. Similarly, when that new retail associate spends her paycheck, an induced economic impact occurs. Together, these have a multiplier effect on the already formidable direct impact of food and agriculture.

“These numbers tell an essential story, reminding us that food and agriculture remain absolutely central to our nation’s well-being. We not only produce three square meals a day for most Americans, that same work supports one in four American jobs,” said John Bode, president and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association, one of the commissioning groups. “Policymakers should keep this data in mind as they consider changes to tax and trade issues that might affect the food and agriculture sectors.”

The complete report is online at

Beefing up school lunches

Written by TF Staff on .

School lunches in Mount Vernon, Mo., will have double the amount of beef this year, thanks to a partnership among local ranchers and several cattle industry entities.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Beef Industry Council, Opaa Food Management and the Mount Vernon Public Schools have joined forces in the “MO Beef for MO Kids” initiative. The increase in beef comes from cattle raised in Lawrence County, No. 1 in the state’s cattle production.

“The Department of Agriculture has set out to feed Missourians more of the quality food that is grown here in our state,” Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. “Missouri cattle producers are doing their part to put beef on the plates of young students in their communities. This is an excellent opportunity to not only enhance the lunch menu, but also connect community members.”

The pilot program was launched Oct. 19 during National School Lunch Week. Since then, menus have included new beef entrée options such as meatball subs, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, beef cheddar melts and beef quesadillas. Students at various grade levels have also been learning about beef production and the health benefits of beef through educational opportunities brought to the school.

Local beef producers are recognized in posters that hang in school cafeteria areas to introduce Mount Vernon students to the people who raised a portion of their lunch.For more information on this program, visit


Written by TF Staff on .

Collaborating with the United Soybean Board, Goodyear has introduced the first commercially available tires made with a soy oil-based rubber compound.

The Assurance WeatherReady tires for passenger vehicles hit the road in September, opening another market opportunity for soybean farmers. The tire maker says using soybean oil keeps rubber compounds pliable in changing temperatures, enhancing tire performance in dry, wet and winter conditions.

The tire is offered in a wide range of sizes, covering 77 percent of the cars, minivans and SUVs on the road today.

“As we develop great products that anticipate and respond to the needs of consumers, soybean oil was one of the technologies enabling us to meet a challenging performance goal,” said Eric Mizner, Goodyear’s director of global material science.

The soybean rubber project was funded in part by the soybean checkoff, a fund paid for by soybean farmers to develop new applications and opportunities for soybean-based products.

“Goodyear and the soy checkoff share something special: a commitment to innovation,” says John Motter, United Soybean Board chair and farmer from Jenera, Ohio. “When we started working with them more than six years ago, it was just an idea, a way to build demand for soybean oil. Now, we have a tire that shows what soy can do on the road.”


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