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Loos stands up to those who say agriculture 'stinks'/Annual Houston Mull Cattle Drive is a chance to honor a young man who wanted to make a career of farming

Friday, November 2, 2007

National agriculture activist and radio personality Trent Loos carries a U.S. flag and rides his "pink" mule while leading the first day of the extended Houston E. Mull Memorial FFA Scholarship Cattle Drive. The flag was flown over the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq and donated by Captain Daniel Swanson. The flag will be auctioned off on Saturday, Nov. 3, after the steak fry, to be held at the Mull farm at approximately 5 p.m.
(Marcia Gorrell/Democrat-News)
In 2000, Trent Loos, a sixth generation American farmer, heard a famous actor say he wanted to get rid of animal agriculture in the United States "because it stinks."

"It was just the way that he said that, and me understanding that he is going to continue to say that unless somebody gets more aggressive standing up, telling the real story (of modern agriculture)."

A week later, Loos went into a radio studio in Spearfish, S.D., asking for a radio program. The syndicated radio host laughed, and said, "You and everyone else in America."

But on Jan. 8, 2001, "Loos Tales" aired for the first time on KMZU radio station in Carrollton. Today, Loos produces six radio programs five days a week on his laptop computer, reaching up to 4 million people on any given day. His shows air in 17 states and on 100 radio stations in the United States.

Loos is in Marshall this week taking part in the fourth annual Houston E. Mull Memorial FFA Scholarship Cattle Drive, which started on Thursday, Nov. 1, with an extended two-day cattle drive.

The idea of a cattle drive to honor Houston, a 15-year-old Marshall High School FFA member who was killed in a vehicle accident on July 1, 2004, came from Loos himself.

Loos met Mull in March 2004, when Loos came to the Mull Farm as the keynote speaker at KMMO's annual Ag Day celebration.

Loos said he will never forget the moment when Houston introduced himself, telling him he wanted to be a farmer just like his father and grandfathers.

"He was one of the few young people that even grow up on farms, that showed an obvious pride about wanting to be a farmer," he said, adding that many young people want to hide their agriculture background. "That's why Houston stuck out."

Agriculture, especially animal agriculture, is Loos' passion. Since that initial broadcast he has used that passion to help bridge the gap between consumers and farmers, and to try to educate Americans "on who, where and what produces their food, with a special emphasis on the people in agriculture."

His six radio shows include the original Loos Tales; Rural Route, a one-hour talk show; Loos Travels and Tales, a 13-minute show; Dakota Trails and Tales, 16 minutes; Illinois Truth be Told, 1 minute and Colorado Trails and Tales.

He writes weekly columns for "Feedstuff" magazine and the "High Plains Journal." He does a weekly television show with Rick Wheat on RFD-TV and last year traveled to 34 states on speaking engagements.

With that schedule, time at home is a luxury.

"I joke that I have gone from a rancher to a rancher's husband," said Loos. "I'm the one who gets the attention but it is a team effort from start to finish," said Loos, saying he absolutely could not do what he does without his wife and family's support.

However as long as he is able to keep on making an impact, Loos said he will continue to tell the story of agriculture.

"I'm not a planner. I'm not a goal-oriented person. I wake up every morning and try to figure out what I can do that can make the most impact. If I felt I wasn't making an impact, I'd go home today and ranch," he said.

Loos said he feels that the cattle drive has become the defining event of Loos Tales throughout the course of the year because it celebrates life in rural America.

"That's what this is -- a celebration of life in rural America and a focus on a young man that touched so many lives," he said. "Everything I do is about the human element and the human element here is Houston Mull."

Cattle drive provides opportunity to honor Houston Mull, raise money for cancer center and have fun, too

The Highway Patrol shut down the highway temporarily as approximately 40 Longhorn steers crossed the road during the extended part of the Houston E. Mull Memorial FFA Scholarship Cattle Drive on Thursday, Nov. 1.
(Marcia Gorrell/Democrat-News)
In September 2004, Loos and Houston's father, Robin, stood in the middle of a pasture full of Mull's cows, taping a segment of Loos Tales in which Robin thanked the community for their support during a difficult summer.

Loos asked Mull how he planned to get the cows to the home farm for the winter. He said would haul the cows in cattle trailers before deer season.

"I said what if we organize and invite people to come help trail them home, like an old time cattle drive? Robin's initial response was, ‘Sounds like a Trent Loos deal to me.'" Loos said.

Six weeks later, people in the community and the Mull family had organized the first annual event in which 120 riders took part in the 20-mile drive.

Every year since then the cattle drive has grown and in the past three years over $20,000 in scholarship money has been given to FFA members to help them pursue careers in agriculture.

The main event this year will be a 12-mile cattle drive on Saturday, Nov. 3, which weather permitting, is planned to go from the Mull farm and travel through the town of Malta Bend.

To get to the Mull Farm, from Marshall take Highway 20 West. Go roughly 10 miles to EE and turn right. Go over the railroad tracks and take the first gravel road to the left. For your convenience, the route will be clearly marked off of Highway 20.

The evening will cap off with a steak fry and auction at the Mull Farm at approximately 5 p.m. Saturday. Among the items to be auctioned off will be a United States flag, which recently flew above the U.S. embassy in Iraq.

Loos is carrying the flag during the cattle drives and riding a "pink" mule in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.

The flag will be auctioned off on Saturday evening, with half the proceeds going towards the Fitzgibbon Hospital Cancer Center and the other half going towards the scholarship fund.

Contact Marcia Gorrell at


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