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Cattlemen Riding High During Good Times

The new director of the Missouri State Department of Agriculture visited a cattleman's association meeting in northwest Missouri Thursday night.
(OSBORN, Mo.)  A meeting of the Quad County Cattlemen's Association in Osborn Thursday night was highlighted by a visit from the state's new director of the Department of Agriculture.

Richard Fordyce spoke to the group of cattlemen from Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess and Dekalb counties.

Fordyce spoke of the currently positive state of the industry.

"You have times like this, this is incredibly rewarding because of all the sacrifice and at times the hardship that goes into agriculture," Fordyce said. "To reap the rewards is very, very fulfilling."

"When the beef prices are good and you look out across the countryside and you've got green grass and corn, things are really looking good," said rancher Ken Keesamen, owner of KK Farms.

The last year has been a roller coaster for farmers and ranchers, especially with the drought of 2013.

"People had to sell cattle because they couldn't find enough water for them. There was no green pastures. The hay fields were burned up," Keesamen said.

Though inconsistent over the past several years, agriculture is still Missouri's number one industry. Fordyce says it has been a crucial component of getting the state through the recession.

"When the rest of the general state of the economy is not peculating at the rate we'd all like to see it, agriculture is here to inject some energy into the economy," Fordyce said.

With beef prices high, consumers are feeling the pinch at the grocery stores. Some question how much higher prices can go before there's a push back.

"It concerns me when that bubble is going to pop when consumers are going to choose a different protein. Right now they're still buying beef," said Mike Deering of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association.
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