The 39th annual Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference is set for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center, 2546 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield.

“As farmers and livestock grazers continue to deal with drought conditions and high input costs, the conference planning committee has themed the 2023 conference ‘Doing More With Less,’” said Patrick Davis, a University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist Patrick Davis and one of the conference organizers.

The keynote speaker is John Coleman Locke, a sixth-generation Brahman cattle seedstock operator and manager of the Locke Division at J.D. Hudgins, a ranching operation on the Texas Gulf Coast.

“Locke will surely have a lot of wisdom to share with conference participants and teach us how to have fun and find financial reward while building a legacy for generations to come,” said Davis. "His life story and farming background has taught him these life lessons, along with his time in becoming a certified instructor with Dave Pratt and the Ranching for Profit Schools. Locke will specifically educate this year’s conference participants on making the best out of what you have and how it is possible to do more with less.”

Breakout sessions include

  • Kentucky 31 fescue management.
  • Managing spring forage flush.
  • Hay production economics as well as the round baler’s effect on the rural economy.
  • Economics of cow size, cow production costs, calving season selection.
  • Level of pasture incorporation of clover.
  • What do cattle buyers want?
  • Cattle corral system design.
  • Importance of P and K in pasture fertility.

These topics will be covered by extension faculty and researchers from Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma as well as local cattle producers and marketers.

“This conference also has sessions specific to small-ruminant producers or people interested in small-ruminant production,” said Davis. Topics include producing sheep adapted to your environment, how to graze sheep year-round, market outlook of sheep and goat production and adding value to sheep and goats through direct marketing to the consumer. The topics will be covered by a local sheep producer and an MU Extension ag business specialist.

At a trade show held in conjunction with the conference, agricultural businesses and organizations will have exhibits and representatives available to discuss their products and services.

If interested in becoming an exhibitor or sponsor, or for any conference questions, contact Jody Wade at the Webster County Soil and Water Conservation District office at 417-468-4176, ext. 3, or

Conference check-in begins at 8 a.m., with sessions running from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A banquet luncheon is included with registration. Register by Feb. 10. For details and registration, go to