2016 Release Archive2018-01-03T16:14:02-06:00
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Kansas Farmers Union: 2016 News Releases

Below are the news releases distributed in 2016. Click on any headline to read the complete release, download the PDF and get links to supporting materials.

September 2016

Soldiers Return: Veterans reintegrating with society through farming

By Tom Parker After two tours of combat in Iraq, U.S. Army Major Ty Martin was feeling the strain. Though he wasn’t exhibiting clinical symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he was, in his words, “wrapped sort of tight.” This was particularly troubling because his pending retirement from the service gave him qualms about transitioning back into civilian life. Recognizing the symptoms, a close friend, Ron Ward, suggested a hobby to help him relax. Under other circumstances it might have been merely a well-meaning though hackneyed gesture, but [...]

August 2016

CRISIS DEFERRED: Urban farming and second-generation farm diversification promise new models for small farm success

By Tom Parker “You can all hear the roadway, right?” asked Josh Smith, manager of Gibbs Road Farm. “It never stops, day or night. That’s a constant reminder that we live in the city.” Smith had to raise his voice to be heard above the roar of a nearby interstate. His audience, participants in the first of three farm tours sponsored in part by the Kansas Farmers Union and the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Kansas, huddled into a tight knot around him. Behind Smith, two young women [...]

July 2016

Summer Fun Farm Tour Series Kicks-off August 1

Kansas Farmers Union and the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Kansas are offering new and aspiring farmers an opportunity to visit nine Kansas and Missouri farms and learn from educators, producers and other experts about topics ranging from farm food safety to business planning. The Summer Fun Farm Tour Series runs every other Monday in August and includes stops across the northeastern region of the state, a local foods lunch, networking, and an educational session. There is no cost to participate. "Farm tours combined with a workshop topic provide useful information [...]

June 2016

NFU Farm Safety Videos Aim to Reduce Farm Accidents Through Education, Awareness

As farmers busily work on the farm this time of year, National Farmers Union (NFU) hopes to raise awareness about farm safety issues and best practices through a series of 10 educational videos. The videos, available at www.NFU.org/farmsafety, educate farm and ranch families, agriculture workers, consumers who visit a farm, and members of the public about hazards and proper safety procedures to avoid farm-related accidents or casualties. “Understanding the dangers on and around the farm and how to avoid them can make a life-saving difference when operating heavy machinery or [...]

April 2016

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 easily learned, how a cow’s vision impacts its behavior. Such was the message of “Handling Cattle Without Getting Handled,” a [...]

February 2016

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 the water glass,” Bauman said. They saw, all right, and [...]

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 economies, others could have disastrous consequences if implemented, he said. [...]

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 here she was, a slight, soft-spoken 66-year-old social worker holding [...]

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 deny dairy or swine production facilities. The bill didn’t pass. [...]

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 Kansas, and the sniggering was quickly silenced. “Let me give [...]

January 2016

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 and global perspectives. Grass, Soil and Hope: Regenerative Solutions For Changing Times, the theme of the 2016 Winter Grazing Conference [...]