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January 2012


Over one hundred livestock producers learned about the MO AgrAbility Program during the Missouri Livestock Symposium, in Kirksville, Missouri. All producers received information and resource materials about the MO AgrAbility Project in their Symposium packets. Bill White, director of the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, talked about the role the lab plays in keeping the livestock industry healthy. Beef cattle producer Steve Radakovich of the Radakovich Cattle Company in Earlham, Iowa, spoke on his operation and chasing the profit gene. An expert panel of beef cattle specialists from the University of Missouri provided the latest information important to beef cattle producers related to feeding, reproduction, and genetics. While Bruce Shanks, Lincoln University, told participants about the top 10 ways producers can cut costs while adding value. As a direct result of this outreach activity, the MO AgrAbility Program has received ten requests for additional AgrAbility information or an onsite farm assessment.

The Missouri Young Farmers/Young Farm Wives executive board members, including representatives from DESE, FBMA, MVATA, and newsletter staff members received the Missouri AgrAbility Welcome Toolbox. An AgrAbility article is being prepared for inclusion in an upcoming Missouri Young Farmers/Young Farm Wives publication.

An estimated 400 young farmers from across the nation traveled to Missouri in early December to attend the 45th National Young Farmer Educational Association Institute. Each young farmer received information and resource materials about the MO AgrAbility Program in their conference packet.

Jackie Allenbrand attended the MERIL Leadership meeting to network and share ideas and resources, and the MERIL Service Coordinator meetings to share AgrAbility and PHARM Dog activities and resources with other service coordinators. She also placed a pup with a Missouri farmer. The farmer received instruction from the trainer, and both will also receive more training after the dog matures.

Our dear friend and colleague Russell Ramsey, who diligently worked and volunteered for the MO AgrAbility Project, suddenly passed away on Saturday, December 10, while working on his farm. He attended the Woodland High School in Marble Hill and was a graduate of the University of Missouri where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in animal science and completed his master's and specialist degrees in education. He taught vocational agriculture and was the advisor for the Fredericktown, Puxico, and Dexter FFA chapters. After he retired from education, he was employed by the University of Missouri Extension in Ellington where he served as an agribusiness specialist. He most recently worked with the Missouri AgrAbility Project. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He attended the Puxico First General Baptist Church and had served on the Puxico School Board. An AgrAbility team in Missouri is working with the Ramsey family to establish a memorial. Additional information is forthcoming. Please keep the Ramsey family in your thoughts and prayers.

Submitted by Jackie Allenbrand, Willard Downs, Karen Funkenbusch, and Russell Ramsey