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Annual Southwest Cattlemen’s Tour Sept. 21 in Lawrence County

MT. VERNON, Mo. — The Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association will host its annual cattlemen’s tour on Sept. 21.

There are no charges for the tour, but it is requested that attendees call 417-466-3102 before Sept. 18 to help with planning the amount of food needed for dinner.

The tour is a cooperative effort of the Cattlemen and University of Missouri Extension with dinner sponsored by FCS – Financial of Joplin.

The tour begins at 1:30 p.m. at Hillside Angus Ranch/Wide Range Bovine Unlimited, Pierce City. Owners are Rick, Mary Jo, Cody and Jocelyn Washam at 44 Lawrence 2220. From Pierce City take MO 37 northwest to Lawrence 2220 then two miles west.

“The Washam farm has a purebred Angus herd, a fencing business, artificial insemination service, freeze branding, fitting show cattle and cattle marketing consultation. Jocelyn keeps busy with livestock photography and social media efforts under the Rural Route Creations label,” said Edon Cole, field specialist in livestock for University of Missouri Extension.

Next, the tour heads to the Elbert Angus Farm, at the junction of County Road J and Unicorn Road. Kenneth Elbert started the 60-year-old herd as a freshman in FFA. The forages on the farm now include Ky31 with clover, novel fescue, Caucasian bluestem and native prairie hay from the Sarcoxie Prairie.

“At this stop, we will see one of the early adopters of management intensive grazing and hear how he began the practice. His forage program is one of the keys to the success of his 200-cow Angus herd that calves spring and fall,” said Cole.

The next stop is the Marion Farms just south of the Elbert farm. It is a three-generation operation with 200 crossbred cows. They calve both late winter and fall. Calves are backgrounded after weaning, and ten steers have been entered in the Missouri Steer Feedout most years since 2003.

Two-thirds of the hay at Marion Farms is stored in barns. Clearing timber since 2012 has resulted in seeding those cleared areas to novel fescues. One hay barn has solar panels on it to provide power for fencing, lights, corral equipment, and the well pump.

The last stop of the afternoon will be a historic one at Old Ritchey Mill on Shoal Creek. The association’s grillers will have burgers, chips, drinks, and cookies for supper. An added item is music provided by local musicians.