Kansas Farmers Union Convention - Emporia, Kansas

Friday, December 1, 2017 to Saturday, December 2, 2017

Anna Johnson, policy program associate, and Jim French, consultant with the Center for Rural Affairs, will be featured on a panel discussion, “Bridges to a New Farm Bill," at the Kansas Farmers Union Convention on Dec. 1 to 2.

Kansas Farmers Union, the state’s oldest farm organization, will hold its annual convention at the Best Western, 3021 W Highway 50, Emporia, Kansas, 66801.

Register now by clicking here. The Early Bird discount ends Nov. 20.

Day one

Join the Kansas Farmers Union Board of Directors as it holds its quarterly meeting and reviews proposed bylaw changes prior to the General Session.

During the General Session, members nominate board candidates and national convention delegates, receive a report on organization finances, and begin drafting 2018 Kansas Farmers Union Policy. Kansas Farmers Union has a rich history of working to protect and promote the interests of family farmers and ranchers by taking a leadership role in advocating for farming, ranching, and agricultural interests across the state. Each year, members review past policy, propose and debate new issues, and adopt policy for the coming year.

Following lunch, Sarah Green introduces the theme of Farmers, Bridges, and Kansas, and Jason Schmidt shares ways he has built bridges between idealism and practicality. Kurt and Andi Dale dive into how they’ve worked across generations on their family farm in southwest Kansas. Matt Perdue, National Farmers Union, delivers an update from Washington D.C. about national farm policy and how the organization is building its own bridges. Wrapping up the day, Erika Nelson presents Make Art, Not War exploring a rich array of protest art – art made to draw attention to a topic of great concern in hope of eliciting change or expanding the conversation.

Day two

Saturday morning sessions will be located at the American Legion Post.

Barbara Patterson, National Farmers Union, explains the “Food Safety Modernization Act: A Bridge We Must Cross.” 

A panel discussion “Bridges to a New Farm Bill” is moderated by Bill Spiegel, editor of High Plains Journal. Panelists are Lisa French, Cheney Lake Watershed Inc.; Jim French, Center for Rural Affairs; Sandy Proctor, Kansas State Research and Extension; and Sharon Karr, Kansas Farm Service Agency committee member.

In the convention keynote, “Thoughts and Reflections on the Farm Crisis of the 1980s, and How We Came Through It,” Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker has a conversation with Nick Levendofsky about her time in the Senate, her role during the Farm Crisis of the late 70s and early 80s, women in politics, and how things have changed since she left office 20 years ago.

The annual convention banquet will be at the Best Western, with the presentation of prestigious 2017 Ruth Hirsh Award.

Beginning farmer bus tour

Saturday afternoon showcases several area farms with a bus tour for beginning farmers and other interested members.

The tour highlights three local farms near Madison: Our Seven Acres has a small-scale family vegetable and fruit operation incorporating hoop houses, small livestock, and a CSA. Hear from Mandy about how she connects with consumers, supports her community, and inspires young farmers.

Preston Beeman, is a transitioning farmer south of Madison, who rents his farm from his mother and siblings. After joining Gail Fuller on a tour of Gabe Brown’s farm in South Dakota, he discovered cover crops can be profitable when grazed. Preston has changed his farming practices and now plants cover crops on his farm and custom grazes yearlings.

Jacob Knobloch is a young farmer who took over his grandpa’s farm in 2005. He did conventional cropping for the first three years, followed by two years of strip till. Jacob took advantage of some cost share opportunities to try no-till and is slowly making a move to drastically reduce commercial inputs.

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