The 24th annual Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference will be Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield.

Each year this conference attracts an increasing number of people interested in learning more about management strategies for forages and livestock.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Jim Gerrish, Grassland Consultant.

Gerrish is well-known throughout the United States and the world for his extensive knowledge of all aspects of managing pasture forages, as evident in the number of his awards, publications, articles, and speaking events.

He spent more than 20 years in Missouri conducting research and educating producers at the Missouri Forage Systems Research Center near Linneus, Missouri.

While in Missouri, Gerrish also operated his own 260-acre livestock grazing operation in the northern part of the state.

He now resides in Idaho and continues to be actively involved in the livestock and forage industry through his private consulting business and busy schedule as a featured speaker and author for numerous grazing publications.

His topic for the noon luncheon is called “Grazing Across the U.S.”

The conference will also feature several breakout sessions both in the morning and the afternoon for you to choose from.

Topics will include: goat and sheep grazing management, farm taxes, animal health, livestock water, managing for fescue toxicosis, pasture weed and brush control, raising vs. buying hay, managing fertilizer costs, Pendleton livestock record keeping, costs of feeding a grazing animal, planning for year-round grazing, the importance of pasture residue, and the basics of grazing management.

More than 30 companies and organizations will have exhibits, and will have representatives available to discuss their products and services.

Conference registration begins at 8 a.m., with sessions running from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $25 per person in advance or $35 at the door. A catered luncheon is included with the registration.

To pre-register (by February 19th) or to get more information, contact the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District at (417) 831-5246, extension 3.

Conference information and a registration form are also available on the Internet at

The conference is co-sponsored by several southwest Missouri Soil and Water Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Missouri State University, University of Missouri Extension, MU Southwest Center, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the USDA Farm Service Agency.

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