Mount Vernon News
 
 
Brett Dixon and Megan Smith herd cattle into a barn Sunday morning at the Dick and Marilyn Litzenberg farm. The cattle have been relocated for the winter as Missouri suffers from extreme drought.
Brett Dixon and Megan Smith herd cattle into a barn Sunday morning at the Dick and Marilyn Litzenberg farm. The cattle have been relocated for the winter as Missouri suffers from extreme drought. (Photo by Virgil Shipley)

By Mount Vernon News
September 2, 2012 7:46 pm PDT

 

MILFORD TOWNSHIP — Western Missouri is seared by drought and farmers are struggling to get enough feed for their livestock as fall and winter approach.

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Knox County, on the other hand, has escaped the ravage of severe drought. Feed is available. It’s also available in Maryland.

As a result, operators of a dairy farm in Missouri are sending 10 of their bred heifers here, where some of their stock originated, and another 10 to Maryland where his mother has a dairy farm.

“It’s farmers helping farmers,” said Dick Litzenberg of Milford Township.

He explained that a couple years ago, when he and his wife, Marilyn, contemplated selling their Ayrshire cattle, a friend in Missouri, Veronica Gatten, told them, “If you’re selling your herd, we want them.”

She died of a heart attack at age 47, and her husband has become involve in a trucking firm, but her daughter and son-in-law, Brett and Jessy Dixon, still run the operation near Conway, Mo., northeast of Springfield, which has more than 60 cattle.

“We have feed and barn space, so they’re sending 10 of their heifers here for the winter,” Litzenberg said. Ten more will go to his mother’s place in Maryland.

The heifers will not “freshen” (have their calves) here, but will be picked up in early March to bear their young.

The heifers were brought in Saturday evening and the truck headed back to Missouri, Sunday, bearing a load of feed for the cattle still in Missouri.

“He’ll keep his milking cows in Missouri,” Litzenberg said, “But I don’t know how many he will try to keep or how many he might have to sell off.”

Some of these heifers are probably offspring of the cattle the Litzenbergs sold. Ayrshire look a lot like Holsteins, but they are red and white instead of black and white.

“There aren’t too many around,” Litzenberg said. He said he had raised them for 57 years as his father started with them back in the 1950s.

They still have a few, at the Noel Alden farm near Danville, and their grandson, Colston Wilson, took supreme all-breed junior champion honors at the Knox County Fair with one this year.

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