Dennis Lynch strives to build a network of farmers who can learn from one another

Dennis Lynch steps out of his truck on this sunny, 20-degree day in Douglas County, with lightness in his gait. The 60-year-old cowboy, as he refers to himself, effortlessly lifts a bag of feed and starts pouring the cubes in a long row on the frozen ground. His audience in this field is a herd of commercial Angus cows and calves. They line up on both sides of the cubes, greeting Dennis with a symphony of moos. After a few minutes pass, Dennis spots a lone solid black cow walking down the hill to join the others for breakfast. “You’re late,” Dennis calls to her with a chuckle. Dennis is on his third hour of feeding cows and breaking ice and he has several more hours to go. Yet, his mood is lighthearted and peaceful. “If it is something that you love, you keep at it,” explained Dennis with a grin.
Dennis, “keeps at it,” as one of M and B Land and Cattle Company’s herdsmen. He cares for part of M and B Land and Cattle Company’s 2,000 head of cattle. On this January day alone, he will feed, cut ice and check herd health on more than 700-head of cattle in Douglas and Wright Counties. On particularly cold days or during calving season, he will examine the herds a couple of times a day. Dennis says during the winter, it’s important to keep a good protein program going for your herd. “Cattle get down if they don’t have enough protein. We use ADM Fat 40 tubs and we keep them out so the cattle can eat it at anytime,” said Dennis. He also keeps detailed records of what, how much and when he feeds the cattle. Dennis carries a notebook in his truck and records the information each day. “Records help you solve problems,” explained Dennis. He can use the information to gauge whether he needs to adjust the amount of hay and feed depending on how the herd is thriving.
In his many years of working cattle Dennis has learned the importance of forging good relationships with neighbors. “Communicate with your neighbors, you are all doing the same thing. You never know when you are going to need them and when they are going to need you,” said Dennis.  
Dennis’ passion for helping other farmers spurred him to start the Douglas-Wright County Cattlemen’s Association. Three years ago, Dennis saw a need to bring farmers together to learn from one another. “I want to keep cattlemen informed of new products, bring in speakers and keep farmers informed,” explained Dennis. The Douglas-Wright County Cattlemen’s Association is part of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. Dennis admits getting the association started proved difficult in the beginning. “The first year I told my wife there were three other people at the meeting besides me. She told me, ‘You are not a quitter,”’ recalled Dennis. So he kept working on new ways to recruit members. Dennis says now there are 60 active members in the Douglas-Wright County Cattlemen’s Association and he plans for the group to continue to grow.
One way the local association helps farmers is by keeping them up-to-date on what is happening at the state capitol. Dennis says it’s imperative farmers know what agriculture legislation is being considered in the state legislature. “In 1911, when the Cattlemen’s Association started, the cattlemen started controlling the cattle rustlers. Now we have a lobbyist keeping us informed in the state. Like with Proposition B, even though it was voted in, the cattlemen got it revised,” said Dennis. And then he added with a laugh, “Rustlers were bad but politicians are worse.”
Day by day, no matter the circumstances, Dennis Lynch hopes to make a positive difference in the world. Whether it’s making sure a lone cow gets a few feed cubes, or an elderly neighbor gets help feeding cows on a cold day or a fellow farmer finds out about a bill that could impact his farm, Dennis says those are some ways he can show others he cares.


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