We’ve done a lot in KFU since our last issue of the Kontact. One of our best was an event series I’m pretty darn proud of, we partnered up with the Kansas Farmer Veterans Coalition and a whole host of other supporters and sponsors to conduct the Summer Fun Farm Tour Series, 3 tours in August aimed toward offering veterans considering entering farming and beginning farmers an opportunity to experience all kinds of different kinds of agriculture, from conventional to a sheep dairy. It was a great way for all to learn from the tours and from each other. All were well attended and had great reviews!

We had a great team out in DC at Fly-in and it went really well. We seldom have enough from Kansas attending Fly-In to be spit up into 2 teams, this year there was. Matt Ubel was the team leader of the second team and all reports were that he did great! Proud of the kid. Son Zach had applied to and was accepted into the BFI program (Beginning Farmers Institute) and as such participated in meetings in DC at the same time as my board meetings and then participated in the Fly-In with us. Felt good having him walking into the hill offices covering my back. Last year daughter Steph was in that role, this year Zach.

Another wonderful opportunity that arose immediately following Fly In was to participate in the Farm Aid concert while in DC. Kansas Farmers Union often participates in the farm advocate training and networking that precedes the concert, this year it was just an hour out of DC. Matt Ubel and I stayed for the events and stayed at a friends house. The opening day was Farm Aid day at the USDA auditorium where the premiere viewing of a new Farm Aid sponsored documentary “Homeplace Under Fire” was conducted. Our own state director Linda Hessman is featured prominently in the film as well as good friend and advisor Charlie Griffin, recently retired from KSU, who has done more to address rural mental health here in Kansas than any other Kansan. I had the wonderful experience of working with both of these great people while doing my financial crisis response work before my KFU years.

Linda and Charlie, as well as a whole bunch of us old war horses, that include Forrest Buhler, Char Henton, Ed Reznicek, Mary Fund, Greg Stephens, and others I’m surely forgetting, have been collaborating (scheming really…) together over the past few months attempting to pro-actively address what I call a looming farm crisis that is really already here. We are the old guard, and no longer have the energy this generation is going to need to advocate for our rural neighbors in need as this progresses. How can we help rural Kansas help itself? How can the state & national government help? That’s going to be our mission this winter.

This also brings us up to what’s happening VERY SHORTLY, our state convention. It looks like Farm Aid will be allowing KFU to show the documentary at our convention on December 8th! The whole afternoon will focus around the lessons experienced in the eighties and then dialog around what needs done now and how do we do it? It’s going to be a very good convention in a really comfortable setting, the Hotel Old-town in Wichita Dec 7 & 8th. The information is in this Kontact, deadline for hotel reservations VERY soon. Please advance register, this will help our staff a bunch in planning numbers.

The afternoon of Wednesday, the 7th, will be when we have our annual business meeting and work our policy. We will have a couple of board positions open up this year and needs to be filled. The board of directors are very important for KFU, they give leadership and direction and oversight to the president and staff and have performed remarkably efficiently over the years. We need to maintain that integrity…

National convention will be March 5th through 8th in San Diego… Next year it’s in Kansas City at the Crown Center.

See you in Wichita!