Convention 2018 2018-11-12T12:22:19+00:00
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2018 KFU State Convention logo

Make plans to attend the KFU State Convention, November 29-30, 2018 at the Prairie Band Resort, Mayetta. Special guests for the two-day event are Roger Johnson, Marci Penner, Ron Wilson, & Dale Strickler.

Our theme of Rural Resilience appears many times as we discuss opportunities & challenges facing Kansans: building community wealth through food and farming, making living rural a quality choice, fascinating stories of entrepreneurship, and alternative financing for ag and food projects.
Additional topics include: the future of Farmers Union, single payer healthcare, the new Farm Bill, and what to do when you have more cows than grass.

Register Online at the Early Bird Rate today!
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2018 State Convention to Highlight Opportunities to Enhance Rural Resilience

Rural Resilience: Opportunities and challenges facing rural Kansans is the focus of the 2018 Kansas Farmers Union state convention to be held November 29-30 at the Prairie Band Resort, Mayetta.

In addition to building resilient communities, conference sessions will focus on economic opportunities with food systems development, alternative financing for food and ag projects, healthcare, and grazing. The general public is encouraged to attend.

Conference keynote speakers include Roger Johnson, Marci Penner, and Ron Wilson. Roger Johnson serves as the president of the National Farmers Union. A third-generation family farmer from Turtle Lake, N.D., Johnson previously served as North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner, a position he was first elected to in 1996. He grew up in Farmers Union, participating in the organization’s youth programs, serving as a county president and chairman of the board of a local Farmers Union cooperative. In addition to providing the annual Washington Update, Johnson will share his insights on the future of Farmers Union during Thursday’s convention banquet.

Marci Penner is the executive director of the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation, and author, speaker, promoter and supporter of rural Kansas. Marci and her dad founded the 501c3 non-profit in 1993 after traveling the state to write three guidebooks. Penner will facilitate an interactive session, “Let’s Talk: Making rural a quality choice” on Thursday afternoon.

Ron Wilson is director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University in Manhattan. He has written and produced more than 1,000 features about small town Kansas entrepreneurs and community leaders through his weekly radio program and news column called “Kansas Profile.” During Friday’s lunch, Wilson will share “Tumbleweed Tales of Rural Kansas” focusing on fascinating stories of entrepreneurship that can be found in all corners of rural Kansas.

In May 2018, partners across Kansas hosted the Harvesting Opportunity in Kansas Symposium at the University of Kansas School of Business where 150+ farmers, bankers, economic development professionals, extension professionals, and community development advocates gathered to learn, share, and discuss a key idea: How can we build true community wealth in Kansas through food and farming?

Marlin Bates, executive director of KSRE Douglas County, and Helen Schnoes, Sustainability and Food Systems Planner for Douglas County, will provide insights from the recent Harvesting Opportunity in Kansas Symposium. The daylong event drew professionals and community members passionate about local agriculture, healthy food access, and improving Kansas communities to learn about new tools to advance their work with a focus on economic development.

Slow Money NE Kansas will be the focus of Dr. Karen Willey and Rosanna Bauman’s presentation on alternative financing for food and ag projects. The Slow Money movement is built around local groups, which catalyze local food investing in a variety of ways—peer-to-peer lending, public meetings, pitch fests, and on-farm events. Local Slow Money groups are organized as informal networks and/or investment clubs with a diversity of approaches, including everything from 0% microloans to low-interest loans of a $100,000 or more. Through 27 Slow Money local groups around the country $66 million has been invested in 697 food enterprises.

Dale Strickler, known as the Cover Crop Guru of Kansas, will address having more cows than grass in his Friday morning session. Strickler’s goal is to create a pasture system where he can graze year round with vegetation that would outcompete weeds, never need fertilizer and produce excellent tonnage. More information about Strickler’s system can be found in his new book, “The Drought Resilient Farm.”

Grassroots policy development will be Thursday morning’s focus. Kansas Farmers Union 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.

See the Schedule

2018 Kansas Farmers Union Convention: Day One Box
2018 Kansas Farmers Union Convention: Day Two

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 2019 KFU Policy. Each year, members review past policy, propose and debate new issues, and adopt policy for the coming year. Following lunch, Marlin Bates and Helen Schnoes provide insights from the recent Harvesting Opportunity in Kansas Symposium, and Dr. Karen Willey and Rosanna Bauman share information on Slow Money NE Kansas and alternative financing for food and ag projects. Marci Penner facilitates an interactive session, “Let’s Talk: Making rural a quality choice.”  NFU Pres. Johnson shares his insights on the future of Farmers Union during Thursday’s convention banquet and the prestigious 2018 Ruth Hirsh Award is presented. See the details!

Day Two: Friday

Kicking off the morning sessions is an update from Washington D.C. on national farm policy by President Roger Johnson and Aaron Shier, National Farmers Union. Dale Strickler, known as the Cover Crop Guru of Kansas, addresses having more cows than grass in his Friday morning session. Strickler’s goal is to create a pasture system where he can graze year round with vegetation that would out compete weeds, never need fertilizer, and produce excellent tonnage. Dr. Sharon Lee helps us dig into the facts and fallacies of a single payer system of healthcare. During Friday’s lunch, Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University in Manhattan, shares “Tumbleweed Tales of Rural Kansas” focusing on fascinating stories of entrepreneurship that can be found in all corners of rural Kansas.
View the agenda!

2018 CONVENTION KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

PRESIDENT ROGER JOHNSON

Roger Johnson is president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), a grassroots organization that represents more than 200,000 family farmers, ranchers, fisherman and rural communities across the Unites States.

Johnson was elected to lead the family farm organization at NFU’s 107th anniversary convention in 2009. He has since expanded the education department by providing more programs for beginning, college-aged and women farmers, increased the number of Farmers Union state divisions, and developed a strategic plan for the organization. Johnson has also overseen a number of important policy initiatives important to family farmers including: passage of the 2014 Farm Bill; maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and Country-of-Origin Labeling, promoting policies that allow farmers to address the growing threat of climate change; and renewing the nation’s focus on eliminating an overwhelming trade deficit that results in lost jobs and prosperity for rural America.

Prior to leading National Farmers Union, Johnson, a third-generation family farmer from Turtle Lake, N.D., served as North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner, a position he was first elected to in 1996. While Agriculture Commissioner, Johnson served on the State Industrial Commission, the North Dakota Trade Office Advisory Board, and the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education, among many other boards and commissions.

Roger Johnson serves as the president of the National Farmers Union.

MARCI PENNER

Marci Penner is the executive director of the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation, and author, speaker, promoter and supporter of rural Kansas. Marci and her dad founded the 501c3 non-profit in 1993 after traveling the state to write three guidebooks. Addressing two main issues observed on their early travels, the mission is to preserve and sustain rural culture by educating Kansans about Kansas and networking and supporting rural communities.

Some of the better known projects are the Kansas Sampler Festival, the Big Kansas Road Trip, the Kansas Explorers Club, 8 Wonders of Kansas, the PowerUp Movement, the We Kan! conference, the Big Rural Brainstorm, and two editions of the Kansas Guidebook for Explorers. Marci and co-author WenDee Rowe went to every one of the 626 incorporated cities in Kansas to research for their latest guidebook.

Marci Penner is the executive director of the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation, and author, speaker, promoter and supporter of rural Kansas.

RON WILSON

Ron Wilson is director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University in Manhattan. He has a B.S. in Agricultural Education and a Masters in Mass Communications from K-State. He became a legislative assistant to Senator Nancy Kassebaum in Washington D.C., a staff member for the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, and vice president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. In 1985, he returned to Kansas to become a vice president of the Farm Credit Bank of Wichita and in 1990 became director of the Huck Boyd Institute. He lives on the family ranch near Manhattan.

Ron has written and produced more than 1,000 features about small town Kansas entrepreneurs and community leaders through his weekly radio program and news column called “Kansas Profile.” In 2018, he was named by Ingram’s Magazine as one of 50 Kansans You Should Know.

Ron Wilson is director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

2018 Convention Sponsors

Midwest Regional Agency logo
KCSAAC 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…

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

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.

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