Spring 2016 2017-07-21T12:23:34+00:00
Spring 2016 Kontact Cover

The cover photo featuring Kansas Farmers Union board member David Heiens was taken by Tom Parker at the Iwig Family Dairy in Tecumseh, during the Kansas Beginning Farmer Bus Tour.  The dairy had been in business since 1910, but in 2004 owners Tim and Laurel Iwig took the farm to the next level by adding a dairy bottling and retail service that supplied fresh milk to local grocery stores. Recently the Iwigs shifted their marketing strategy by increasing direct sales of its products to consumers at three retail locations.

Photo credit: Tom Parker

View the Spring 2016 Kontact on ISSUU.
Download a PDF of the Spring 2016 Kontact (2.1 MB)

May 2016

This is a melancholy presidents report. Callie is moving on to a wonderful opportunity. Through my many years with Kansas Farmers Union I have had the great privilege of working with 3 truly talented and capable office managers, Marylyn, Debbie, and Callie. Each time one moved on we wondered how in the world we could keep the wheels from falling off of the organization and each time the successor has [...]

Grass, Soil, and Hope: Managing carbon for a sustainable planet

By Tom Parker Courtney White and Gail Fuller were talking the same talk but they were coming at it from different backgrounds and different geographical directions, so it was understandable that there should be some minor differences of opinion. That it centered on the sequential order of three little words was all the more remarkable considering the enormous scope of their discussions—the sustainability of the human race from both local [...]

Change the World by Asking “Why?”

By Tom Parker As an opening act for a discussion on cultivating healthy rural communities, Rosanna Bauman’s stunt with a big pitcher of water and a small drinking glass were hard to beat. As members of the Kansas Farmers Union kept one eye on Bauman and the other on their lunch, the crisp clatter of forks and knives on dinner plates faded to a stunned silence punctuated by nervous laughter [...]

Handling Cattle Without Getting Handled

Bad cows are bad influences, smart cows never forget and other insights into handling cattle for women By Tom Parker Cows are big and beefy and muscular and most women aren’t, so for the latter to manage the former it helps to not only understand how cows think and socialize, but also how cows remember their past, how cows perceive their place in the cosmos and, perhaps less intuitively but [...]

Budget Issues Preoccupy Legislature in 2016

Kansas Farmers Union Tracks Agriculture and Food Bills One good thing about the budget crisis in Kansas is that it pretty well focuses our legislature on paying the bills while we have much less income coming into state coffers. It doesn’t give them as much time to mess with our lives on the farm that way… So far, so good for county government option rights in regard to corporate hogs…. [...]

Best Advice: “Get started and learn your way”

By Tom Parker It’s one thing to sit inside a heated conference room for two days listening to experts, visionaries, politicians and entrepreneurs discuss new farm policies that boost entitlements and profits to big corporate farms while lessening support for family farms, the state’s tempestuous budget and how rural Kansas will bear the brunt, global trade agreements skewed toward making the rich richer and the poor poorer, and, [...]