Winter 20182019-09-24T15:40:09-05:00
Kontact Winter 2018

This issue’s cover features one of our favorite Kansans–Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker! Tom Parker captured the Senator’s photo in Emporia at the 2017 State Convention. In the convention keynote, “Thoughts and Reflections on the Farm Crisis of the 1980s, and How We Came Through It,” Senator Kassebaum Baker had a conversation with former KFU V-P Nick Levendofsky about her time in the Senate, her role in the Farm Crisis of the late 70’s and early 80’s, women in politics, and how things have changed since she left office 20 years ago. Check out the Facebook Live video.

Photo credit: Tom Parker

View the Winter 2018 Kontact on ISSUU.
Download a PDF of the Winter 2018 Kontact (1.6 MB)

AMERICA AT THE INTERSECTION OF HOPE AND DOUBT: A politician’s perspective on the 1980s farm crisis

By Tom Parker In February of 1979, thousands of disgruntled farmers flooded the streets of Washington D.C. with an estimated 900 tractors and hundreds of support vehicles. The uniquely American protest was organized by the American Agriculture Movement, whose members felt that government and industry leaders were out of touch with the needs of farmers, and that crop prices should reflect production costs. Though their demands for 100 percent [...]

Senator Kassebaum Baker Receives KFU’s 2017 Ruth Hirsh Award

KFU proudly honors the legacy of Ruth Hirsh through its award in her name which is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to agriculture and the efforts of the Farmers Union. Hirsh was a strong advocate for a viable education program in Farmers Union; not only for the children, but also for the general public. She felt if all Americans recognized the challenges that family farmers [...]

BRIDGES: Making connections in a changing world

By Tom Parker As a member of the planning committee for the 2017 Kansas Farmers Union convention, she was instrumental in combining a diverse assortment of speakers, discussions and forums ranging from policy, personal narrative, history and art into a thematic whole, minus the thematic. “Your convention planning team is philosophically opposed to having a theme for a convention,” she said. “It’s not a theme, it’s a focus, [...]

Holding the Line: Thoughts on drafting a new farm bill

Before getting into the issues of drafting a new farm bill during tough economic times as Congress is expected to do next year, Bill Spiegel offered his guest panelists the opportunity to draw up their own personal list of things they would like to see included, sort of a Christmas wish list whispered into Santa’s ear rather than, as many in the room feared, into the ear of the Grinch [...]


Senate & House Pass Tax Plan with Few Benefits for Family Farmers Just days before its Christmas recess, Congress passed its sweeping plan for tax reform, putting most of its provisions into effect at the top of 2018. Here’s what changed: the top individual tax rate and the corporate tax rate were both lowered, from 39.6 percent to 37 percent and 35 percent to 21 percent respectively, saving the wealthiest [...]

Long Road Ahead: A legislative update from the trenches

By TOM PARKER What might have been a fairly routine update on agricultural legislation and the 2018 farm bill was overshadowed by the U.S. Senate’s promise to ramrod through a tax reform bill that would add an estimated $1.47 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, provide corporate America unprecedented tax cuts, and enrich the wealthiest Americans at the expense of nearly everyone else. Suddenly, tax reform was the [...]