Winter 2016 2017-07-21T12:23:00+00:00
Kansas Kontact Winter 2016 Cover

On The Cover

The cover photo, captured by a drone, is of a farm in East Central Kansas which has a solar photovoltaic system installed by Cromwell Solar, Lawrence. The 13 kW sized system has an estimated production of 16,000 kWh a year.
While electrical prices have gone up, the cost to install solar has dropped. Solar photovoltaic systems had an average installation cost of $10 per watt in 2000, and they are now around $3 per watt.
Tax credits, as well as grants and loans through the USDA RD REAP Program, are available.
Photo credit: Cromwell Solar

February 2016

Been a lot going on... Amazing Grazing Mary Howell has just finished up a marathon 17 Amazing Grazing III events through this past year! State Convention We had our annual state convention in Topeka that had an all-star cast of speakers who were educational, hilarious and motivating. Our two keynote presentations were truly amazing and are now available for viewing on our website and we will have the rest of [...]

Supporting KFU: Consider NAU crop insurance in 2016

I was approached by NAU to ask me to encourage more Farmers Union members to consider NAU crop insurance in 2016. I don’t like to mess in members personal business and feel that I owe you a more thorough explanation of why I am agreeing to do this than what the accompanying promo letter gets into. The long and the short of it, from my perspective, is the Use of [...]

AMAZING GRAZING: Three Years, Three Grants with 40 Educational Opportunities!

By Mary Howell The Amazing Grazing project has concluded. Forty different events over the last three years were held for farmers, ranchers and professionals. This series brought together industry experts and producers to enhance the ranching and grazing skills of hundreds of Kansans. “We have had the greatest time delivering this program; I am sad to see it end. I have met the most wonderful group of ranchers. The networking [...]

Open the Sky: KFU Convention focuses on cultivating healthy rural communities

By Tom Parker When Rosanna Bauman took the stage at the annual Kansas Farmers Union State Convention in Topeka, she wordlessly held up an empty drinking glass and a saucer, placed them before her in a tray and began pouring water into the glass. Within seconds the water spilled over the rim and spread across the bottom of the tray like a rising tide. Despite uneasy laughs from the audience [...]

Levendofsky Receives 2015 Ruth Hirsh Award

Nick Levendofsky was selected to receive the 2015 Ruth Hirsh Award. Nick has steadily grown and re-activated Republic County FU. He has gone from knowing little of KFU to becoming a member, representing us at NFU Fly-In’s, becoming Republic Co. president and a KFU staffer. It would not be appropriate to award Nick this prestigious KFU award when employed by us, but that is no longer an issue. Now Nick [...]

KFU Foundation Auction Raises over $2,100

Stephanie Teske displays the autographed Bill Snyder football donated by Midwest Agency agent Zach Teske. The football, won by Jeff Kindle, was the top item during the annual Kansas Farmers Union Foundation Auction. A close second was the John Deere quilt donated by Becky Craig and won by Jackie Eyer. Symphony in the Flint Hills tickets, donated by Christy Davis, Executive Director of Symphony in the Flint Hills, Inc, and [...]

Legislation from Washington, D.C. “an attack on rural America,” NFU’s Driscoll says

By Tom Parker Climate change, country-of-origin labeling, foreign trade, trade deficits, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, biofuels, sequestration, incentive bills for young farmers, education programs and the Food Safety Modernization Act were among the blizzard of legislative discussions coming out of Washington, D.C., National Farmers Union Government Relations Representative Tom Driscoll told members of the Kansas Farmers Union during their annual state convention held last December in Topeka. While some of the [...]

State’s Fiscal Crisis Will Hit Rural Kansas Hardest

By Tom Parker Kansas governor Sam Brownback’s fiscal experiment has brought so many unprecedented changes and impacts to the state budget that it’s earned its own designation among other states—even conservative states—seeking similar tax-cutting proposals: “the Kansas Effect.” It is not an endearing term, said Duane Goossen. “As other states are considering different kinds of tax policies, they ask how they compare to Kansas,” he said. “They then take very [...]

New Technology and REAP Program

Making solar energy more efficient, affordable and easier to install By Tom Parker The last thing Cheri Harper wanted to do was to stand in front of a group of semi-strangers and talk about renewable solar energy. It wasn’t due to any lack of knowledge or experience or technical proficiency, or passion, for that matter, because she practically vibrated with intensity when rattling off prices and tax credits and kilowatt [...]

Is Your Farm a Candidate for Solar Electricity?

By Bill Wood, Cromwell Solar Project Developer Farmers have been harvesting the power of the sun to grow crops and forages for food since the beginning of time. With the increasing cost of electricity and the dropping prices of solar systems, more people are finding that solar photovoltaic (electricity-producing) systems make both economic and environmental sense today in Kansas. Is your farm, home, or business a candidate for a solar [...]

USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program

Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants USDA RD’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers, in rural or non-rural areas, with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations can apply. Funds may be used for the [...]

State needs to expand and support local food movement, task force recommends to legislature

By Tom Parker Ron Brown, Chairman of the Kansas Local Food and Farm Task Force, opened his statements to members of the Kansas Farmers Union during their annual convention in mid-December with a pun that was so hackneyed and so clichéd that it almost obscured what came immediately after. Almost, but not quite. For while his pun drew its intended smattering of laughter and groans, his statistics were nevertheless a [...]

2016 Kansas Farmers Union Policy Statement

Adopted by Kansas Farmers Union Delegates to the KFU State Convention on December 11, 2015 Preamble The Kansas Farmers Union represents its members who are engaged in various farming and ranching pursuits through cooperation, legislation, and education. The Kansas Farmers Union takes pride in defining our policy. We believe policy should address the needs of people. The moral and ethical decisions made by individuals and governments have an impact on [...]