Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunities Meeting Scheduled for Nov 20th

All beginning farmers and ranchers are invited to a Beginning Farmer & Rancher Opportunities meeting at Cloud County Community College in Concordia, KS, Thursday, November 20, from 4:00 to 9:00 PM, hosted by Kansas Farmers Union and the Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition. The meeting’s featured speaker is Dan Hromas, owner and operator of Prairie Pride Poultry, a small pastured chicken operation located on the northeast edge of York, Nebraska. Hromas started the farm in 2013 in order to support the growing local food movement by providing healthy, farm fresh eggs to area consumers.

“At the farm, we pride ourselves on the humane treatment of the flock of heritage Rhode Island Red chickens,” Hromas says. “The farm’s standards and practices are conducive to a happy and healthy flock.” Coops are moved around the acreage, each one having plenty of floor area, roosting space, and nesting boxes. The flock’s pasture diet is supplemented with feed that does not contain any chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, or animal byproducts. The feed also comes from a local cooperative that recently achieved HACCP Certification, the highest level of accreditation for food safety in the United States.

In addition to providing the local community with farm fresh eggs, Prairie Pride Poultry also assists in educating consumers and potential farmers about the “Incredible Edible Egg” by sharing interesting facts and information about the widely used and versatile protein source, as well as fostering an environment where everyone can feel welcome and connected to the farm. “I’ve engaged local communities through the York Chamber of Commerce, establishing a great working relationship with Grand Central Grocery in York and participating in the Center for Rural Affairs “Farm to School” initiative by selling eggs to York Public Schools, setting up at local farmer’s markets, and raising awareness about importance of a healthy diet that can include eggs,” Hromas says.

Before working on the farm, Hromas served in the U.S. military in Iraq. He also served as a Captain in the Nebraska Army National Guard as a Transportation Corps Officer. Hromas notes, “I am fortunate enough to have had my hard work receive national recognition through the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s national marketing campaign, “Homegrown by Heroes.” I have utilized services from the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, Center for Rural Affairs, and the Farmer Veteran Coalition as a platform for outreach to other fellow disabled military veterans so that they know a future exists for them in the field of agriculture.”

Hromas was recently honored by the White House as a Disability Employment Champion of Change. Disability Employment Champions of Change have done extraordinary work to make workplaces more accessible, and to create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. “I am honored to receive this Champions of Change award. I hope that other veterans with disabilities will similarly find their own entrepreneurship opportunities, gaining meaningful employment and contributing to their local communities,” he said.

Featured North Central Kansas producer panelists include Dan Kuhn, produce and pumpkin grower of “The Depot Market” near Courtland; Warren Sutton, green bean and pumpkin grower near Norway; Chris and Christi Janssen, high tunnel produce growers and CSA distributors in Scandia; Dan Stehlik, sheep producer near Concordia, plus a number of other specialty crop and livestock producers from the surrounding area. Republic County Farm Service Agency executive director Tamie Buckley will discuss the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and USDA FSA farm loan manager Emily Allen will be discuss recent changes to the Beginning Farmer microloan program. Linda Sutton from the NCK Small Business Development Center will also be on hand discuss business planning and management tools provided by her office.

The only cost to attendees is the evening meal, which will be less than $10.00 per person, and can be paid as you go through the meal line.  The meeting will be held in Room 257 of the President’s Addition, and attendees are asked to park in the lower level parking lot on the east side of the college. For more information and registration, go to kansasfarmersunion.org/events or contact Nick at 785.527.0941 or kfu.nick@gmail.com by November 15.