COLUMBIA, Mo. – Joplin, Mo., will remain the location of the Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference, July 6-8, according to University of Missouri Extension hosts.

The convention center is being used in tornado recovery efforts, but will be back to original uses by conference time, said Joe Horner, MU Extension dairy economist and co-host.

The Holiday Inn Convention Center and nearby hotel are outside the devastation zone of the EF5 tornado that hit Joplin, May 22. The meeting complex is located just north of Interstate 44 in southern Joplin.

A large part of the conference will be tours of grazing dairy farms in southwest Missouri. “None of the host farms received damage from the storms,” said Tony Rickard, MU Extension dairy specialist, Cassville, Mo.

The MU program planners expect dairy producers from across the nation and around the world. The conference is held every two years to teach management-intensive grazing for milk production.

Missouri is nationally recognized for the use of rotational grazing of forage. Much of the initial research on dairy grazing was done at the MU Southwest Center, Mount Vernon, Mo. The research farm is part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Columbia. Using forage to cut costs of making milk attracted attention from international producers, who will attend.

“As milk prices dropped in recent years and profits shrunk, the use of grass to replace grain rations became attractive,” Horner said.

On the program, Rickard will tell how conventional dairy farms that use stored forages and grain are adding rotational grazing to their feeding methods.

“The conference is open to producers who do not yet use grazing,” Rickard added.

Researchers from land-grant universities will tell of their studies on developing sustainable grazing systems.

Randy Mooney, Rogersville, Mo., will play two roles in his wrap-up summary of the conference. He is an early adopter of management-intensive grazing on his dairy farm. He also is chairman of the board of Dairy Farmers of America, one of the conference sponsors.

Updates on the program and lodging information are on the MU website:

Registration for the conference and the motel can be made now. Registration fee is $150 per person, with $100 for each additional person from the same farm. After June 20 a $25 late fee will be added.

Conference proceedings will be available for $25 in hard copy or free on the website.

Source: University of Missouri Extension