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Alumni Profile

Not-so-quiet retirement

Mayse

Don Mayse, BS Ag ’70, and wife Marylou, BS HE ’71, raise cattle on 500 acres of farmland south of Columbia.

For Don Mayse and Marylou Turner, retirement was supposed to be picturesque: Give up the busy real estate careers, move to a quiet farm, and live out the peaceful dream they had since they married. But soon five cows turned into 20, those 20 became 130, and before they knew it, Show Me Farms was born.

Their hobby is now a career, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s been a natural evolution,” says Marylou, BS HE ’71. “One that we were not expecting, but one that’s certainly welcome.” Part of that natural evolution is a natural farming process.

The Mayses raise their cattle without growth hormones. Although their beef isn’t certifiably organic, it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids because the cows graze on free-range pastures and dine on flax seed. “We believe in the basic nutritional value of omega-3,” says Don, BS Ag ’70. “And that’s true for humans and cows. Our cows don’t have bad feet, they don’t have runny noses, and they don’t get sick as often with a healthy diet.” That means most of the Show Me Farms cattle don’t need antibiotics.

“We’ve found a niche,” Marylou says. “We’re a local producer. We send our meat to a local packer for sale to local customers.” The cows even eat local corn. Their customers come from all over mid-Missouri to buy Show Me Farms’ Born Tender Beef at the Columbia Farmers Market.

“We were the first to sell meat in the farmers market,” Don says. “And our customers are extremely loyal.” Some long-distance customers even place orders on the farm’s website that get shipped to their homes.

Although Don is a native of Southern California, he put down roots in Columbia after coming to Mizzou to attempt veterinary school in 1965 and meeting Marylou, a fifth-generation Boone Countian. “It’s only been a few decades since we’ve been at the university,” Marylou jokes. “But we’re finally using that great agriculture education we got at MU.” — David Wietlispach