7 meetings set to discuss Missouri farm financial stress

Financial issues and stresses in farm country will be discussed in seven meetings across Missouri in July.

“The meetings will gather information rather than tell economic outlooks,” says Scott Brown, University of Missouri economist.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture and MU Extension will join in talks with agricultural stakeholders. Farmers, agribusiness leaders and farm organization members are urged to attend the free meetings, Brown says.

The sessions will be held July 7-14 from the Bootheel to the northwestern corner of the state. Meeting towns are, in order, Mexico, Rock Port, Excelsior Springs, Springfield, Sikeston, St. Peters and Kirksville.

Volatile prices for inputs and commodities vary across the state, organizers say. That can hurt farm income and rural towns.

Information gathered can inform local leaders. Also, results can guide educational and follow-up action.

The meeting agendas open with statements from leaders of the Missouri Department of Agriculture and MU Extension.

The main part of each meeting will be from locally selected panelists from farms, agribusinesses, organizations, and state and federal agencies.

Participants will be asked, “What are the next steps?” Brown says.

Regional weather impacts will be discussed as the season starts hot and dry. Topics include the 2015 prevented-planting acres, lower land values, dropping farm commodity prices and broad-issue impacts on local areas.

Topics vary by region. Each meeting will be led by regional MU Extension farm business specialists.

The overriding issue will be financial stresses in rural economies. Participants will be asked to address risk management help needed.

Each meeting will be organized locally. Organizers ask for advance registration. Call the meeting contacts to enroll.

Meeting town, times, location and contacts:

• Mexico, July 7, noon-3 p.m., Audrain County 4-H Center. Mary Sobba, 573-581-3231, and Karisha Devlin, 660-397-2179.

• Rock Port, July 7, 7-9 p.m., MU Extension Center in Atchison County. Randa Doty, 660-582-8101.

• Excelsior Springs, July 8, 10 a.m.-noon, Flander Hall. Nate Cahill, 660-747-3193.

• Springfield, July 11, 7-9 p.m., Springfield Livestock Marketing Center. Wesley Tucker, 417-326-4916.

• Sikeston, July 12, 9 a.m.-noon, Miner Convention Center. David Reinbott, 573-545-3516.

• St. Peters, July 13, 6:30-9 p.m., MU Extension Center in St. Charles County. Ken Bolte, 636-583-5141, and Rachel Hopkins, 573-438-2671.

• Kirksville, July 14, 9:30 a.m.-noon, Missouri Department of Conservation Northeast Regional Office. Darla Campbell, 660-457-3469, and Joe Koenen, 660-947-2705.

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