2015 Release Archive2018-01-03T16:12:47-06:00
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Kansas Farmers Union: 2015 News Releases

Below are the news releases distributed in 2015. Click on any headline to read the complete release, download the PDF and get links to supporting materials.

December 2015

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 that weren’t bad enough, major news media outlets in the [...]

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 while researching a series of articles on water in Kansas, [...]

Kansas Graziers Association Winter Conference Set for January 16 in Salina

Author and Quivira Coalition co-founder Courtney White to bring a 'different perspective' to Kansas. Ranchers Gail Fuller and Dale Strickler also to present. by Tom Parker At first glance, Courtney White might not seem like the ideal candidate to address the Kansas Graziers Association during their annual winter conference in January. He grew up in the city where the only agriculture was the occasional family garden, and the only wildlife were the neighborhood cats and dogs. His only interaction with livestock was with the horses his family owned for trail-riding. [...]

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 a projector screen flashed a single word: Why? For Bauman, [...]

November 2015

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 online at kansasfarmersunion.org or by calling 620-241-6630. Conference keynote speakers [...]

September 2015

Extend Your Grazing with Cool Season Grass

Eastern Kansas farmers should rethink tall fescue for grazing, agronomist says by Tom Parker Okay, so tall fescue has a bad rap. It has, shall we say, a checkered reputation. And for good reason, too. The cool-season forage could be a livestock producer’s best friend or it could be a killer—literally—depending on circumstances. Sure, it was known to host a toxic endophyte that could introduce summer slump syndrome in cattle, or reduce the conception rate among cows, or even cause colts to be born without hair or the ability to [...]

Jim Gerrish Returns to Kansas for Three Workshops, Six Days, September 21-26

Events to serve audiences from beginning to experienced livestock producers Renowned Grazing Management Specialist Jim Gerrish will cover a wide range of beef production issues during three September Amazing Grazing events across Kansas. Jim Gerrish’s experience includes over 20 years of beef-forage systems research and outreach while on the faculty of the University of Missouri, as well as 20 years of commercial cattle and sheep production on their family farm in northern Missouri. The University of Missouri-Forage Systems Research Center rose to national prominence as a result of his research [...]

August 2015

Looking into the Crystal Ball of the Livestock Industry

Future bleak for beef industry unless changes are made, warns economist by Tom Parker Listening to economist Bill Helming talk forecasts and demographic changes and economic trends and growth rates and market shares and income streams and—above all—fractions and whole numbers and percentages is a lot like getting tossed into a commercial clothes dryer set to permanent press. At first the momentum is dizzying as you tumble and spin and bounce and whirl, but after a while the rhythmic regularity of the rotational force settles down into a disjointed equilibrium [...]

Presentation Explores Cowboy Folksongs

Kansas Farmers Union will host “Singing the Cattle North,” a presentation and discussion by Jim Hoy on Saturday, August 29 at 6:30 P.M. at the Flying W Ranch, 1515 G Rd, Cedar Point, KS. Members of the community are invited to attend the free program. Contact the Kansas Farmers Union at 785-840-6202 or visit kansasfarmersunion.org for more information. The program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council. Hoy’s presentation is part of Adventure Day in the Flint Hills. The day is comprised of tours of Pioneer Bluffs, Cottonwood Falls, [...]

Livestock Water and Fencing Workshop Set for September 8

Mark Green, NRCS Specialist, from Missouri will return to Kansas to offer his popular workshop on electric fencing and livestock watering options September 8, 2015 in Salina, KS. The workshop will be held at the Salina Ambassador Hotel, 1616 W. Crawford Street. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and program lasts until 4:00 p.m.. Water availability is the number one limiting factor for grazing possibilities. The addition of electric fencing will increase grazing options that can in turn benefit range health, the soil, as well as improve production and profitability. At [...]

Carbon, climate, crops and soil: workshop to explore the mycorrhizal connection

by Tom Parker Since the inception of the computing era, a simple acronym evolved to become an icon of visual acuity and perception: WYSIWYG. The concept works for tangible objects as well as for digital data, but not so much for agricultural purposes. What-you-see-is-what-you-get might be fine for digital publishing or Web site creation, but in farming the exact opposite applies—what you can’t see is what you get. That’s because the most critical processes involved in seed germination and plant health lie beneath the surface of the soil, and even [...]

June 2015

Diversifying Farms Through Animal Fiber Niche Marketing

By Tom Parker The booming popularity of goats, alpacas, sheep and other non-traditional species for livestock production has created new markets and avenues of revenue for producers willing to learn how to integrate and innovate into more diversified operations. One lesser-known but potentially lucrative niche market associated with non-traditional animals is the fiber market, where the wool is processed into skeins, rovings or yarns for the textile industry. Breaking into the animal fiber market, determining which animals are right for fiber production, how to pick a processing mill and learning [...]

Pasture walks help producers take stock of ecosystems

By Tom Parker A typical Kansas pasture on a typical Kansas farm or ranch is a highly complex, species-rich ecosystem that can either be beneficial or detrimental to the producer. Differentiating between the two can be tricky, often involving experimentation as much as experience. Knowing what to look for in a pasture, healthy or otherwise, and being able to better manage that pasture is the focus of five upcoming pasture walks scattered strategically around the state. Look and Learn Pasture Walks, sponsored in part by Amazing Grazing III, a collaboration [...]

Rethinking trees in Kansas agriculture

By Tom Parker In the history of Kansas agriculture, trees have something of a checkered past. From initial legislative efforts to expand tree cultivation through the payment of generous bounties to today’s wholesale eradication of windbreaks and hedgerows, the importance, and value, of trees has shifted due to economic, ecological and climatological trends. Those same trends are now putting trees in a new light through the practice of agroforestry, an intensive integration of trees and shrubs into agricultural systems. But for successful—and profitable—integration, landowners must rethink trees as essential components [...]

May 2015

Animal Fiber Production Opportunities to Diversify Small Farms Workshop, May 30th

MCPHERSON, KANSAS (May 8) The Fiber Production Opportunities Workshop that was postponed from February has been rescheduled to Saturday, May 30, 2015 in Phillipsburg, Kansas. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. in the Phillips County Annex, 784 6th Street, Phillipsburg, KS. The workshop will run from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and includes hands on fiber evaluation and an afternoon tour of The Shepherd’s Mill. There is no registration fee for this workshop and lunch will be provided. Please RSVP by May 25, if possible. Sally Brandon, Shepherd’s Mill and [...]

Agroforestry Workshop: Incorporating trees and shrubs into contemporary agricultural systems

Register Online Now Kansas farming and ranching, economic viability, quality of life, conserving our natural resources, and good stewardship. All are subjects to be covered in the Kansas Agroforestry Workshop scheduled for May 20 – 21, in Topeka, Kansas. The workshop features some of the most knowledgeable experts in the field of agroforestry which endeavors to integrate trees and shrubs into agricultural systems while simultaneously maximizing conservation and economic benefits. The goal? Increasing the over-all value of your farming operation! Catering to farmers, ranchers, landowners and natural resource professionals, the [...]

April 2015

“Soil Health for Ranch $uccess” Educational Program Funded

Kansas Farmers Union (KFU) is pleased to announce North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center has awarded funding for Amazing Grazing III – Soil Health for Ranch $uccess. This project offers a wide variety of workshops and tours to improve soil health and profitability on Kansas ranches. “Producers and educators greatly enjoyed the variety of educational events and reported the value of the activities offered in Amazing Grazing I and II. Amazing Grazing III was created based on requests for information needed by producers at past grazing events. We submitted [...]

March 2015

National Farmers Union to convene in Wichita March 14-17

USDA Sec. Vilsack, EPA Administrator McCarthy, animal behavior specialist Temple Grandin, & National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson featured speakers For the first time since 1946, Kansas is hosting National Farmers Union’s annual convention, under the theme “Driving the Future of Agriculture,” which will be held Saturday, March 14 through Tuesday, March 17 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Wichita. NFU Vice President and Kansas Farmers Union President Donn Teske noted, “What makes me proud is the truly grassroots policy development that the annual national event revolves around. This is where [...]

February 2015

Kansas College Students attend 2015 NFU College Conference on Cooperatives

More than 150 attendees from 25 states plus Puerto Rico participated in the 2015 National Farmers Union (NFU) College Conference on Cooperatives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 20-22. Kansas attendees included Cloud County Community College students Lindsay Brown and Ellen Revell, plus Fort Hays State University students Janna Cook, Jason Cowan, Kristina DePriest, Kinsley Kroetsch, and Chelsea Wilkens. Participants learned how cooperative businesses are adapting to changing environments and heard from cooperative experts from across the nation on why member-owned businesses are thriving in industries ranging from senior housing to healthcare. [...]

Know your goats, know your regulations, and above all, plan big, goat dairy producers say

By Tom Parker Charuth van Beuzekom-Loth wanted sheep but opted for goats because of her past experience of raising them as a child. Jacqueline Smith went into the sheep dairy business because she was, in her words, just out of college and a bit naive. Tana McCarter’s decision to raise goats was part defiance, part justification and part retribution. All three launched their businesses with big hopes and high expectations, and all three learned that it takes much more than that to make a successful business. “It’s daunting getting into [...]

Managing lambing, growing the flock and forages for small ruminants are topics for KSU Sheep Day, March 7, 2015 in Manhattan

Small ruminant livestock producers of are invited to attend K-State Sheep Producer Day, March 7, 2015 at the K-State Sheep and Meat Goat Center, 2117 Denison Ave, Manhattan, KS. Workshop topics include: Managing the lambing barn and the creatures inside; Various ways to increase your lambing and weaning percentages; What is the Let’s Grow Program and how to grow your flock; and Using alternative, supplemental, and drip-irrigated forages to improve your operation. The day will feature Mr. Alan Culham, American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) Let’s Grow Coordinator addressing topics related [...]

Unfairly Taxing Kansas Farmland: KFU Opposes SB178

MCPHERSON, KS Feb. 18, 2015 - In last week's Kansas Senate Assessment & Taxation committee, Senate Bill (SB)178 was submitted by State Senator Jeff Melcher of Leawood in Johnson County. SB178 would radically alter the use-value formula, which is used to value Kansas agricultural land for property tax purposes. The bill, if passed and signed by the Governor, would raise average valuations on dryland by 408%, irrigated land by 593%, and grassland by 673%. Responding to the concerns of KFU members, farmers, ranchers, and landowners across the state, KFU president [...]

January 2015

Kansas Farmer Veteran Coalition Formation Exploration Forum to be Held February 10

Subject: Exploration forum to determine and hopefully create the groundwork for a Kansas chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. On Tuesday, Feb 10th at 3:00 p.m. the Kansas Farmers Union, the Kansas Farm Bureau, and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas will host a forum to explore the possibility and interest of forming a Kansas chapter of the National Farmer Veteran Coalition. We feel that there is a need and an opportunity for veterans interested in entering agriculture to form a Kansas chapter and we have set up this [...]

2015 KGA Winter Grazing Conference: Dr. Fred Provenza on How Palates Link Soil, Plants, Herbivores, and People

Dr. Frederick D. Provenza will be the featured speaker at the annual Kansas Graziers Association winter conference on Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Ambassador Hotel in Salina. Dr. Provenza, Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University will present How Palates Link Soil, Plants, Herbivores, and People: Ways to Enable or Inhibit Nourishing Relationships explaining how the interrelationships among soils, plants, animals and people affect the landscape. For more than 30 years, Dr. Provenza produced groundbreaking results on behavior-based livestock research. This [...]