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Springfield to Host 'Heart of America Dairy Expo' This Weekend

Cow
A Holstein cow grazes in a field at the the Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon/credit: KSMU file photo

About 300 people are expected to convene in Springfield this weekend for the Heart of America Dairy Expo. As KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports, the Expo will provide education programs and panel discussions to Midwestern dairy farmers affected by the recent drought.

This year, the Missouri Dairy Association’s statewide dairy convention has expanded to a regional convention to be held in Springfield this weekend. Springfield is the home to several dairy businesses, including Kraft and Hiland Dairy Foods.

The Heart of America Dairy Expo will feature presentations on risk management, cow comfort and nutrition, dairy policy, market outlook, as well as the latest technology in the dairy industry.

Dave Drennan, executive director of the Missouri Dairy Association, says one panel will address the current drought and its effects on the dairy industry.

“After lunch on Friday, we’re going to have a producer panel of four producers that represent different segments of dairy farming. They’re all going to focus on how they’ve dealt with the drought, what they’re doing now, and what their plans are for the rest of this year, as far as taking care of their cows and finding feed supplies,” Drennan said.

Drennan says the Missouri Dairy Association is disturbed that the Missouri Farm Bill wasn’t passed for another five years, instead given a one-year expansion.

“It provides very little support to dairy farmers. It did continue a program that will provide some assistance, but a lot of these provisions to this dairy farm bill extension did not even have funding put toward it. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, and we’re in really uncharted waters. This is the first time I can remember that Congress didn’t act on a farm bill right away to get it passed within the allotted time,” Drennan said.

Drennan says the subject of “Where do we go from Here,” will be addressed by Dana Brooks of the National Milk Producers Federation.

The Heart of America Dairy Expo will be held at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center in Springfield January 25 and 26. Registration is free for dairy farmers and their families. Click here to register.    

For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.