Photos by Tom Parker

2018 KFU State Convention

KFU State Convention was held November 29-30, 2018 at the Prairie Band Resort, Mayetta. Special guests for the two-day event were Roger Johnson, Marci Penner, Ron Wilson, & Dale Strickler.

Our theme of Rural Resilience appeared many times as we discussed 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 included: the future of Farmers Union, single payer healthcare, the new Farm Bill, and what to do when you have more cows than grass.

Dig in to sessions at the following links:
NE Kansas Chapter Launches
CLIMATE CHANGES: NFU president assesses uncertain farm economy
American healthcare getting more expensive, less effective
2019 KFU Policy Statement
PAGES FROM A BOOK: Federal Reserve publication ignites interest in developing food systems
Forrest Buhler and Char Henton Receive KFU’s 2018 RUTH HIRSH AWARD

Photographer Tom Parker captured images from convention. View the photos on FLICKR…

Kansas Sampler Foundation executive director Marci Penner led an energetic interactive session, “Let’s Talk: Making rural a quality choice” on the first day of the Kansas Farmers Union convention.

Let’s Talk: Making rural a quality choice with Marci Penner

Let’s talk. What do you love about living rural? What makes it a great place for people of all ages? What makes it a tough choice? Can young people be attracted to rural? More young people choose rural than you think but how can we step up the game to make it a top choice for more.

Kansas Sampler Foundation executive director Marci Penner led an energetic interactive session, “Let’s Talk: Making rural a quality choice” on the first day of the Kansas Farmers Union convention.

Top left: Ryan, South District BoD member, and Miriam Goertzen-Regier, Harvey County.

Center left: Dr. Karen Willey, Douglas County; and South District board member Rosanna Bauman, Anderson County.

Bottom right: Forrest Buhler, staff attorney for Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services; Kansas State Senator Marci Francisco, Douglas County; and Donn Teske, Kansas Farmers Union president, Pottawatomie County.

Dr. Karen Willey, Douglas County; and South District board member Rosanna Bauman, Anderson County, discuss SlowMoney Northeast Kansas..

Slow Money Northeast Kansas and Alternative Financing with Karen Willey & Rosanna Bauman

Around the country people are talking about Slow Money, and staging conversations about the importance of investing in their local foodsheds. At the national level Slow Money is becoming a powerful force in affordable financing that feeds its citizens healthy, safe, agriculturally-sustainable, locally-grown foods. 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.

Slow Money Northeast Kansas provides the opportunity for regional farmers or food-related businesses to engage with potential investors who share the same core values about sustainable and innovative practices affecting our local and regional food system. The group supports the concept of local investors getting to know those who participate in our local food system and providing monetary support through a low interest loan that both parties find mutually beneficial and agreeable.

Bauman and Willey represent the farmer and investor sides of the Slow Money concept.

Bauman’s Cedar Valley Farm was the winner of the 2014 Slow Money Entrepreneur Showcase at the National Gathering in Louisville, KY. Cedar Valley farm was selected along with 20 other food entrepreneurs were selected from across the country to present their projects for a chance at winning a three-year $60,000 0% loan. Rosanna’s sister Joanna received a 2018 loan to purchase freezers and to pay for marketing and product packaging for Bauman’s Pet Products line of raw pet food and dehydrated liver treats.

Willey has participated in Slow Money Northeast Kansas as an investor, recognizing the value of supporting neighboring farms and regional food systems with low interest loans.

Learn more about Slow Money Northeast Kansas on its website or Facebook Page.

Scenes from the 2018 Convention banquet.

Convention Banquet and KFU Foundation Auction

Ruth Hirsch Award  |  Chartering of the Northeast Kansas Chapter  |  Annual Midwest Regional Agency Report  |   Keynote Address by NFU President Johnson  |  KFUF Auction

The 2018 Ruth Hirsh Award was presented to Char Henton and Forrest Buhler. Both were recognized for the decades they’ve spent supporting farmers in their work with K-State’s Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services (KAMS). Learn more about Char and Forrest, as well as Ruth Hirsh, here.

Kansas Farmers Union chartered its first multi-county chapter in more than a decade this fall. Newly elected NE Kansas Chapter president Jill Elmers received the official charter from KFU President Teske and NFU Historian Tom Giessel. Read more here.

Jeff Downing, general manager of the Midwest Agency LLP, provided his annual Midwest Regional Agency Report. Find a MRA agent in your community here.

Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president, gave the convention keynote address focused on the future of Farmers Union. Johnson was elected to lead the family farm organization 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. 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.

The Kansas Farmers Union Foundation Auction is always a highlight of convention. Businesses, artists, and members donate items – from quilts to gourmet food baskets, from artwork to autographed college athletic gear. Several thousand dollars in generated to support the foundations work. Learn more about the KFU Foundation here.