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      Livestock Symposium teaches producers how to increase their profits

      The 12th annual Missouri Livestock Symposium was a main attraction in Kirksville Dec, 2-3. Speakers from across the United States came to educate more than a thousand local producers on how run their farms like a business.

      One of the goals of the symposium was to teach farmers and ranchers how to increase their profits.

      "We wanted to help producers try to remain profitable and in order to do that, keep them up with the latest information in terms of technology and other aspects that are involved in production practices," said Bruce Lane, the Vice President of the Missouri Livestock Committee.

      Throughout the two day event, there were about a dozen speakers on hand conducting seminars on the trends of raising livestock. One of the speakers focused on how to turn a family ranch into a moneymaker.

      "There are only three things that any business can do to increase profit," said David Pratt, of Ranch Management Consultants, out of California. "You can lower the overhead, you can improve the margin per unit or increase turnover. We showed these people how to figure that out today."

      Another speaker talked about swine production practices and the trends in the business.

      "Our exports are exploding worldwide," said Robert Christine, the State Manager for the National Pork Board. "Korea is up 145% this year, Mexico is up, Japan is up. Our exports now constitute over 25% of all the pigs in the US, for the first time, are being shipped overseas."

      In addition to the seminars, attendees also were able to visit the tradeshow, where dozens of agricultural companies showcased their products.

      We talked to one ranch owner who said he'd recommend the event to anyone who wants to become a better businessman. He said the speakers gave him plenty of ideas on how to increase his earnings.

      "Work on the balance sheet, looking at reducing my overhead expenses and maximizing my profits," said Shannon Christopher, of Polo, Missouri.

      The Northeast Missouri Livestock Person of the Year award was given to Robert Perry. Dozens of sponsors helped fund the event. County Singer Becky Blackaby performed Saturday evening.

      For more information, here is the symposium's website.