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Join us on the Virtual Road Trip to the Kansas Farmers Union State Convention

STOP THREE: THURSDAY SESSIONS

Join us for a series of interactive, education sessions leading up to convention.

Moving state convention online has necessitated changes, including offering a typical breakout sessions as stand alone events.
Please RSVP below.

This meeting will be conducted via Zoom.
If unfamiliar with Zoom, a Call In option is also available.
After registering, a confirmation will be sent with Zoom link and call in #.


Farmers Union: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Due to requests from newer members about learning some of the history and legacy of the Kansas Farmers Union and the difference KFU has made in history for the Kansas Farmer we decided to bring back the “Tom & Donn” show to open up the road to state convention. Tom Giessel is a farmer from Pawnee county and the official amateur historian of National Farmers Union, and Donn is the KFU president.

This virtual seminar revisits the presentation put together for the 2007 Kansas Farmers Union centennial celebration and highlights the rich and dramatic history of Kansas Farmers Union and the differences FU has made in American history.

Reflect with us on the rising from the ashes of the Farmers Alliance, the beginning of Kansas Farmers Union. Learn of the rise of the basically fraternal organization with secret handshakes, rites of passage, secret help signals, and burial rituals, to becoming the juggernaut of economic cooperation in American agriculture. So important a force that it scared the bejiggins out of the federal government and even resulted in a visit to the KFU state convention by President Woodrow Wilson.

Follow us as we explore how a handful of Kansas Farmers created a farm organization that grew to over a 100,000 members in Kansas and a weekly newspaper distribution of 42,000. One that grew to be the largest cooperative in America. One that has championed causes over the years that weren’t popular at the time – Green Thumb, civil rights, fighting corporate agriculture and market concentration, and on and on.

All with the goal of keeping our family farmers a thriving critical cog in what makes up rural Kansas.

Presenters: Tom Giessel and Donn Teske

Tom Giessel is a farmer in Pawnee County near Larned, Kansas. He raises wheat, corn, and milo. Tom has been active in Farmers Union all of his life, serving as vice president of the Kansas Farmers Union for nearly two decades. He has also served Farmers Union on a national level as chairman of the policy committee, testified at congressional hearings, and participated in the American Farm Project. He currently serves as Amateur Historian for the National Farmers Union and President of the Pawnee County Farmers Union. Tom is active in his community and local church; he serves on the Advisory Board for Ogallala Commons, which is a community resource development organization. In 1974, Tom graduated from Fort Hays State University with a B.S. on Geology. He and his wife, Sheryl, have three grown children and four grandchildren.

Donn Teske was first elected president of Kansas Farmers Union in 2001 and served as National Farmers Union Vice President from 2014 to 2018. He owns and operates a farm near Wheaton in Pottawatomie County as a 5th generation farmer. Teske’s farm is approximately 2/3 grass and 1/3 crops. Prior to his time at KFU, Donn worked for the Kansas Rural Center and for Kansas State University Agricultural Economics Department as a farm financial analyst. In 2010 he worked with the village of Keur Ali Gueye in Senegal Africa on their millet production; it was a life-changing experience for him. He serves on the board of some dozen state, regional, and national boards concerning agriculture and the environment.

Please join in! You don’t have to leave home and the chores, the price is right, and it will be really good to network with each other.


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