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  • Rosanna Bauman

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 and collective gasps. “In case you couldn’t see, I overfilled [...]

  • Tom Driscoll, Government Relations Representative with NFU, works on environmental, conservation, energy and climate issues on behalf of family farmers with National Farmers Union.

New 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 discussions and pending legislation show promise for agriculture and rural [...]

  • Solar session presenters.
  • Patty Clark addresses convention participants.

New technology and REAP program make solar energy more efficient, affordable and easy 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 hours and returns on investment, but more that she was used to the doing-of-things rather than the telling-of-things. And yet [...]

  • Kansas Health Institute's Tatiana Lin

Changes to Kansas corporate farming law pose potential health impacts, study finds

By Tom Parker In 2013, Kansas lawmakers considered amending the current Kansas Corporate Farming Law with two bills, one for each legislative branch, that would have removed restrictions for agribusinesses with certain forms of ownership structure—corporate, in other words—to operate within the state. Among other changes, the Kansas Agriculture Growth and Rural Investment Initiative, as it was known, would have allowed any out-of-state agribusiness to operate anywhere in the state while simultaneously repealing provisions that allow counties to permit or [...]

  • Hawk and Brown present to KFU members.
  • Ron Brown and Tom Hawk

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 sobering analysis of the decline of food distribution throughout rural [...]

  • Duane Goossen

State’s Fiscal Crisis Will Hit Rural Kansas Hardest, Goossen Warns

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 deliberate steps to not do what Kansas did.” As if [...]

From Boom to Bust, Writer Explores Water in Kansas

By Tom Parker To the average Kansas resident living in a metropolitan area, water is a given. Turn on the tap and water flows out. The water is clear, free of impurities and, apparently, infinite in supply. It’s more complicated in rural Kansas. Turn on the tap and water flows out, but it isn’t always clear and it isn’t always pure and it certainly isn’t infinite in supply. In fact, as writer Sarah Green discovered when she toured the state [...]

  • 2015 Convention Attendees
  • Robert Gipe
  • Rosanna Bauman
  • Duane Goossen

Open the Sky: Kansas Farmers Union 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 she continued to pour from the pitcher, while behind her [...]

  • 2015 KFU State Convention

2015 Kansas Farmers Union State Convention to Highlight Rural Revitalization

Kansas Farmers Union, the state’s oldest active general farm organization, will hold its annual convention at the Ramada Downtown Hotel and Convention Center, Topeka, December 10-11, 2015. The general public is encouraged to attend. This year’s theme is Cultivating Healthy Rural Communities. In addition to rural revitalization through arts, culture and entrepreneurship, conference sessions will focus on building resilient local food systems in our communities as well as renewable energy opportunities for farm and home. Registration for convention is available [...]

  • Beginning Farmer Bus Tour

Hop on the Bus, Get Schooled on Local Food and Value-Added Production & Processing

Farmers of all experience levels are invited to hop on the bus and gain a better grasp of the opportunities and challenges of our local food systems. The Kansas Beginning Farmer Bus Tour follows convention and a special beginning farmer rate is available thanks to the Midwest Regional Agency. Learn more and register at Since 1910, the Iwig family has been raising cows and producing milk for Kansas families. In 2004, Tim and Laurel took the farm to the [...]

See the Schedule

2015 Convention Tractor

Day One: Thursday

Join the Kansas Farmers Union Board of Directors as it holds its quarterly meeting and reviews proposed bylaw changes prior to the General Session. During the General Session, members nominate board candidates and national convention delegates, receive a report on organization finances, and begin drafting 2015 KFU Policy. KFU has a rich history of working to protect and promote the interests of family farmers and ranchers by taking a leadership role in advocating for farming, ranching and agricultural interests across the state. Each year, members review past policy, propose and debate new issues, and adopt policy for the coming year. Following dinner, evening activities include a presentation on the Kansas State Budget by Duane Goossen, Senior Fellow for the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, as well as an early KFU history lesson with National Farmers Union Honorary Historian Tom Giessel.  See the details!

2015 Convention Tractor

Day Two: Friday

Friday morning sessions highlights water issues while providing updates from Washington D.C. and news on grain marketing opportunities. Rosanna Bauman gives the keynote during lunch. Renewable energy for farm and home as well as developments with farmer veterans in Kansas are on tap for early afternoon before the election polls open. An interactive session answers questions and advances the dialogue around health and potential changes to the Kansas corporate ag law. The Kansas Local Food and Farm Task Force Report is previewed and the Food and Farm Council initiative is discussed. Cover crop research is shared by a SARE grantee before the final general session and the adjournment of convention. Following the banquet, keynote presenter Robert Gipe shares his insights on rural revitalization and connection through arts and culture and the KFU Foundation Action is held. View the agenda!

2015 Convention Bus Tour

Day Three: Saturday

Hop on the Bus, Get Schooled on Local Food and Value-Added Production and Processing! Farmers of all experience levels are invited to hop on the bus and gain a better grasp of the opportunities and challenges of our local food systems. The Kansas Beginning Farmer Bus Tour leaves from the Topeka Ramada and winds southward to Parker, KS. Our first stop is Iwig Family Dairy in Tecumseh. They bottle milk and produce butter and ice cream on the farm which they sell at their three retail stops. Next up, we visit the famous Lawrence Farmers Market’s Holiday Market before heading to Ottawa to tour the Bauman’s Butcher Block. The (local) lunch bell rings for us at Princeton’s Brand N Iron. Down in Garnett, we’ll stop in at Cedar Valley Farms’ ANCO Processing and the new non-GMO FeedHub. We’ll wrap up the tour in Park by visiting Synergistic Acres and Grandview Livestock.  See the stops!

2015 Convention Keynote Speakers

Robert Gipe

Robert Gipe

Robert Gipe is a novelist/playwright and serves as the director of the Appalachian Program at Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky. For more than 25 years, he has helped connect communities to the culture of their region. Gipe will share his insights on rural revitalization and connection through arts and culture during Friday’s convention banquet.

Duane Goosen

Duane Goossen

Duane Goossen is the Kansas Center for Economic Growth’s Senior Fellow. Before joining the Center, Duane was a seven-term member of the Kansas House of Representatives and a budget director for 12 years under three governors. Goossen will provide an update on the Kansas State Budget on Thursday evening.

EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague

Mark Hague

Mark Hague serves as the Administrator for Region 7, which consists of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and nine tribal nations. He is responsible for overseeing the overall operations within the region, and the implementation of federal environmental rules and regulations. As Regional Administrator, Hague serves as a liaison with the public, elected officials, organizations, and others. Hague has served Region 7 in a variety of leadership roles, which have included Deputy Regional Administrator (DRA), Director of the Enforcement Coordination Office (ECO), as well as Acting Assistant Regional Administrator for the Office of Policy and Management.

Rosanna Bauman

Rosanna Bauman

Rosanna Bauman is a farmer and serial ag entrepreneur from Garnett. Together with her parents and five siblings, Bauman has developed businesses that expand opportunities for local food production in eastern Kansas through USDA-inspected poultry and meat processing facilities and a non-GMO feed hub. During Friday’s lunch banquet, Bauman will reflect on how a family without an agricultural background has had a significant impact on expanded opportunities for diversified, family farms and direct marketers.

2015 Convention Sponsors

Midwest Regional Agency logo

Midwest Regional Agency provides insurance protection to individuals, family farms and business of all sizes. Through our agents we strive to build better communities by protecting where you work, where you live, what you own and the ones you love. It is our individual and organizational goal to provide quality products and the highest level of customer service to not just meet our customer’s expectations, but to exceed them! LEARN MORE…

QEB NAU logo

The Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops (KCSAAC) was established by the 2000 State Legislature (K.S.A. 76-4, 103), out of concern for the survival of small farms in Kansas. The Center works with state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, environmental groups and producer organizations to assist family farmers and ranchers to boost farm profitability, protect natural resources, and enhance rural communities. LEARN MORE…

KFU Foundation Auction

  • Be like Jim 2015 KFUF Auction Promo
  • Be like Becky 2015 KFUF Auction Promo
  • Be like Tim 2015 KFUF Auction Promo
  • Be like Ken 2015 KFUF Auction Promo
  • Christy Davis and the Symphony in the Flint Hills
  • 2015 KFUF Auction Promo
KFUF logo

The Kansas Farmers Union Foundation was created in 1997 as a 501(c)(3) organization supporting education on rural and agricultural issues and providing resources for rural economic and cooperative development. Through the KFUF, Kansas Farmers Union brings important educational and networking opportunities to all Kansans.

Examples of this programming include Amazing Grazing,Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition, Food Hubs and Co-ops, and our work with Farm Aid and the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Kansas. Much of the Foundation’s work is funded through grants from organizations and agencies like the CHS Foundation, USDA NIFA, the North Central Extension Risk Management Agency, and Farm Aid.

Contributions to the Foundation allow us to meet immediate needs and more quickly respond to emerging issues.
That’s why we need YOU!
Learn more about donating an item to the annual KFUF auction.
Give a tax-deductible monetary contribution to the Foundation today.