BREAKING: Local MU pasture-based dairy farm closing
Future of operation unclear
The University of Missouri announced today that it will close its pasture-based dairy farm at the Southwest Research Center near Mt. Vernon.
"We are transitioning from milking cows at the Southwest Center to research relevant to dairy producers going into the future," said David Cope, superintendent of the Center. "The Southwest Center has dairy heifers that will continue to be developed at this location. In addition, southwest Missouri has two MU Extension dairy specialists who continue to provide outreach support to producers. There will continue to be a need for forage research as we work to find varieties that do well for dairy and beef cattle in southwest Missouri."
The idea behind establishing the dairy was to show dairy farmers in the area how to use to their benefit the greatest resource in the southwest part of the state - the forage, said Marilyn Calvin, Mt. Vernon dairy farmer. Calvin was chair of the Southwest Research Center Advisory Committee at the time the dairy was established, and is a member of the Dairy Farmers of America Southeast Council and Board of Directors.
"We wanted to show small dairy farmers how to compete with the big dairies," she said. "The growth in the Missouri dairy industry has been in the grazing. We've lost a lot of farmers and production, but grazing has helped stabilize dairy farming in the state of Missouri. The Southwest Center dairy brought in a new way of looking at things; how to run dairies more effectively. I think the dairy has done everything and more than we ever set out for it to do."
This is a developing story. More details will be released as they become available.