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      Dairy farmers learn about changes in the industry during Annual Dairy Days

      Dairy farmers took part of the day off from the farm to learn about trends in the business during the Annual Dairy Day Program in Memphis, Mo.

      The program included four speakers, who discussed the outlook of the dairy industry, forage seeding management, and the changes in milk quality standards.

      Joe Koenen from the MU Extension office said since feed costs have gone up and milk prices are falling, farmers in Northeast Missouri are exploring other ways to feed their cows.

      "Most dairies here are more conventional in that most of the feed that the cow gets is grain mix whereas down in that part of the state, a great majority of it is grass, either hay or pasture," said Joe Koenen. "There's interest up here because it's a lower cost to produce milk."

      The experts said grazing as a primary source of feed is more common right now in Southern Missouri.

      Barry Steevens, a retired professor of milking management at the University of Missouri Extension Office, said the standards for the quality of milk are changing due to more global exports.

      "There's a a new program that has just started requiring our dairy industry to move towards a 400,000 somatic cell level if the milk is exported," said Steevens.

      Steevens said that now, any milk produced or processed for export will have to measure at the 400, 000 somatic cell count level. Currently, 13 percent of national dairy products are being exported worldwide.

      The program also included vendors and a free lunch donated by local businesses.

      Dairy Day was hosted by the University of Missouri Extension Office in Putnam County.