Barn cat care

Barn cats are kings and queens on the farm, keeping away varmints like moles, mice and even snakes. But though they tend to be fiercely independent, these resourceful felines can bene­fit from added protection and routine care.

Dr. Sarah Peakheart, assistant clinical professor with Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, offers some tips for ensuring the health and safety of barn cats:

Construct a perch or loft area so barn cats have a safe space away from potential predators.

Spay and neuter to prevent litters as well as to keep them from roaming away, fighting with others and channeling their inner “Tomcat.”

Have an updated identification tag on their collar, and if possi­ble have them microchipped, an easy option available at veterinary clinics during their spay or neuter procedure.

Store feed in enclosed bins or rooms to deter food-seeking predators, such as raccoons, possums and others that can harm even the toughest barn cats. Dr. Peakheart warns that wildlife can spread diseases, such as rabies, intestinal parasites, fleas and ticks.

Place common chemical-based items such as fly spray and antifreeze safely out of sight. Some substances, even when ingested in small amounts, can cause seizures (or worse) in cats. While they may not purposely ingest some things, they will groom it off their fur.

Offer outdoor cats (or dogs) safe, warm places to sleep and ensure they have plenty of food and fresh water. Consider a heated water bowl to help prevent frozen water during wintertime.

Make plenty of noise before starting up your vehicles or farm equipment, especially during the wintertime when outdoor cats look for places to stay warm, such as under the hood of your vehicle.

Prioritize preventive care for barn cats, including vaccines, flea and tick control and heartworm medicine. Talk with your veterinari­an about any additional health considerations.

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Missouri's Paxton Dahmer elected as national FFA officer

2020 21 National Officer Team 2020 - 2021 National FFA Officer Team Paxton Dahmer of Nevada, Mo., is the Show-Me State’s first national FFA officer in 13 years.

He was elected to serve as central region vice president on the 2020-21 National FFA Officer Team in October during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dahmer, an agricultural education and leadership major at the University of Missouri in Columbia, was one of MFA’s Ag Experi­ence interns this past summer, assigned to Missouri Farmers Care.

He and five other FFA members were selected from 38 candidates vying for the honor. Candidates take part in an extensive online interview process with the National FFA Officer Nominating Committee leading up to the election. National officers commit to a year of service to the organization. Throughout their year of service, the officers will interact with business and industry leaders, FFA members and leaders, corporate sponsors, govern­ment and education officials and the general public. The team will help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and the next generation of leaders.

During the convention, Missouri was recognized as having the highest number of American FFA Degrees by state, with 505 recipients earning the organization’s top individual honor. Less than one-half of 1% of FFA members earn this distinction.

Three Missouri FFA chapters—Ashland, Braymer and Troy— were ranked in the national top 10 in the Model of Excellence Division. Ashland was also recognized as a Top 10 chapter in Building Communities, and Audrain County R-VI FFA was Top 10 in the Strengthening Agriculture Division. A total of 33 Missouri chapters earned the highest available rating.

Two members captured national championships in Agricul­tural Proficiency. Jacob Dierking of Santa Fe FFA was the top winner in diversified crop production entrepreneurship, and Amanda Belew of Ashland FFA took the highest award in wild­life management. Missouri had seven other national finalists.

Four Missourians earned an honorary American FFA degree, awarded to people who have provided exceptional service on a national level to agriculture, ag education or FFA. Additionally, teachers who have created high-quality agricultural education programs are eligible. This year’s honorary degree recipients are Tonya Jedlicka, West Plains; John Kallash, Clopton; Randy Morris, Putnam County; and Chad Murphy, Versailles.

Visit for a full list of winners.

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When pigs fly, they can now depart from St. Louis airport

Pigs laying in beddingSome 200 breeding pigs from a farm in Henderson, Tenn., were in this first LEIF shipment. An increased demand for live animal cargo flights prompted investment in the one-of-a-kind facility.A shipment of breeding pigs from Henderson, Tenn., took off for Sao Paulo, Brazil, on the afternoon of Nov. 11, rep­resenting the first farm animals to fly from the Livestock Export and Inspection Facility (LEIF) at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport. The global hub is the first of its kind in the United States.

The shipment to Brazil demonstrates an aggressive new strategy for overseas exports at St. Louis-Lambert Airport and is the first of several planned shipments. An increased demand for live animal cargo flights during COVID-19 positions St. Louis as an import­ant central hub for livestock transport, said Gov. Mike Parson in commenting on the inaugural LEIF flight.

“This is exciting progress for the state and shows that Missouri’s strong agricultural industry continues to power our economy,” Parson said. “Missouri has long worked to push agricultural tech­nology forward. What we are seeing today is how Missouri inno­vations and infrastructure are allowing us to market the industry to the world in a new way.”

LEIF is a dedicated and customizable 18,000-square-foot facility designed for shipping livestock. It has a 12,000-square-foot adjacent open bay that was utilized to load the pigs onto a Boeing 747-400F for the flight to Brazil. It’s the only on-site 24/7 livestock palletizing facility in the United States and is uniquely situated to service livestock exporters. Missouri has consistently ranked in the top three states for number of livestock, and other top-producing states for swine, cattle, goats and sheep are all a short drive away.

Pigs in cargo of an airplane Crates of live pigs departed the St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Nov. 11, bound for Sao Paulo, Brazil, aboard a Boeing 747- 400F. The shipment was the first from the airport’s Livestock Export and Inspection Facility (LEIF), the only on-site 24/7 livestock palletizing center in the United States.The National Center for Beef Excellence (NCBE) recently secured a Missouri Agriculture Small Business Development Authority grant to lend assistance to STL and the Midwest Cargo Hub Commission in promoting the LEIF facility, which has been approved for livestock inspection and exports since 2017.

“We are crossing a threshold a long time in coming,” said Chad Sayre, MCBE chairman. “This could open up active trade around the world for Missouri and Midwest livestock. Our producers, family farmers, agribusinesses and research institutions all can benefit from creating this portal to the world market.”

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