Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Forage expert Jim Gerrish to speak at Mo. symposium Dec. 6

Jim Gerrish

Forage production and animal management are key components to profitability in many livestock operations. According to Garry L. Mathes, chair of the 2014 Missouri Livestock Symposium, producers have benefited from an outstanding year in forage production, coupled with high livestock prices, there hasn’t been a better time to invest in cost-effective improvements and plan for the future. “As a result, our planning committee wanted to address topics aimed at helping producers make smart investments and explore opportunities for the future.” In order to accomplish this objective, a great lineup of nationally acclaimed speakers will be on hand to address these topics and answer questions.

The Missouri Livestock Symposium welcomes back the featured forages expert Jim Gerrish from Patterson, Idaho. Jim will address four topics in the forages section including: “From Row Crops to Grass Farming,” “When Should You Be Calving,” “Making Cost-effective Pasture Improvements” and “Why You Should Be Out of the Haying Business.” Jim’s experience includes over 20 years as a researcher at the University of Missouri Forage Systems Research Center in Linneus, MO, where he co-founded the popular grazing school model still used to educate producers today. 

Jim has authored two very popular forage management books, “Management Intensive Grazing” and “Kick the Hay Habit.” Jim currently dedicates his time operating a private consulting business, American GrazingLands Services, LLC, where his focus is to aid farmers and ranchers to more effectively manage their grazing lands for economic and environmental sustainability.

Also speaking in the forages section will be Mark Kennedy, retired NRCS state grazinglands specialist, addressing the topics of “Extending the Grazing Season” and “Multispecies Grazing-Opportunities and Pitfalls.”

Mathes notes that in addition to the forage programs, there is a full lineup of nationally acclaimed speakers on beef cattle, sheep, meat goats, stock dogs, farm succession, backyard poultry and beekeeping. The Symposium also features a free trade show and two free meals—a beef supper on Friday evening at 6 p.m. and a Governor’s Style Luncheon on Saturday at noon.

The Symposium will run from 4-10 p.m. on Friday, December 5 and from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 6. The event will be held at Kirksville’s William Mathew Middle School, 1515 S. Cottage Grove in Kirksville, MO. No pre-registration is needed and there is no cost to attend. Mathes notes, “If there is a better deal anywhere I want to know about it!”

Additional details about speakers, topics, lodging, meals, trade show and more can be found at the Missouri Livestock Symposium website at or call Garry Mathes at 660-341-6625, the Adair County Extension Center at 660-665-9866 or you can also email Zac Erwin at Please put MLS in the subject line.