Tag Archives: Kansas

The 2020 Ogallala Aquifer Summit will take place in Amarillo, Texas, from March 31 to April 1, bringing together water management leaders from all eight Ogallala region states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, South Dakota and Wyoming. The dynamic, interactive event will focus on encouraging exchange among participants about innovative programs and effective approaches being implemented to address the region’s significant water-related challenges.

“Tackling Tough Questions,” is the theme of the event. Workshops and speakers share and compare responses to questions such as: “What is the value of groundwater to current and future generations” and “how do locally-led actions aimed at addressing water challenges have larger-scale impact?”

“The summit provides a unique opportunity to strengthen collaborations among a diverse range of water-focused stakeholders,” said summit co-chair Meagan Schipanski, an associate professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at CSU. “Exploring where we have common vision and identifying innovative concepts or practices already being implemented can catalyze additional actions with potential to benefit the aquifer and Ogallala region communities over the short- and long-term.”

Schipanski co-directs the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project (CAP) with Colorado Water Center director and summit co-chair Reagan Waskom, who is also a faculty member in Soil and Crop Sciences. The Ogallala Water CAP, supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, has a multi-disciplinary team of 70 people based at 10 institutions in 6 Ogallala-region states, engaged in collaborative research and outreach aimed at sustaining agriculture and ecosystems in the region.

Some Ogallala Water CAP research and outreach results will be shared at the 2020 Ogallala Summit. The Ogallala Water CAP has led the coordination of this event, in partnership with colleagues at Texas A&M AgriLife, the Kansas Water Office, and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service-funded Ogallala Aquifer Program, with additional support provided by many other individuals and organizations from the eight Ogallala states.

The 2020 Summit will highlight several activities and outcomes inspired by or expanded as a result of the 2018 Ogallala Summit. Participants will include producers, irrigation company and commodity group representatives, students and academics, local and state policy makers, groundwater management district leaders, crop consultants, agricultural lenders, state and federal agency staff, and others, including new and returning summit participants.

“Water conservation technologies are helpful, and we need more of them, but human decision-making is the real key to conserving the Ogallala,” said Brent Auvermann, Center Director at Texas A&M AgriLife Research – Amarillo. “The emergence of voluntary associations among agricultural water users to reduce ground water use is an encouraging step, and we need to learn from those associations’ experiences with regard to what works, and what doesn’t, and what possibilities exist that don’t require expanding the regulatory state.”

The summit will take place over two half-days, starting at 11:00 a.m. Central Time on Tuesday, March 31 and concluding the next day on Wednesday, April 1 at 2:30 p.m. The event includes a casual evening social on the evening of March 31 that will feature screening of a portion of the film “Rising Water,” by Nebraska filmmaker Becky McMillen, followed by a panel discussion on effective agricultural water-related communications.

Kansas Corn is partnering with Renew Kansas to host the Kansas Corn-Fed Ethanol Seminar. Happening on March 4 at American Ag Credit, 4105 N. Ridge Rd., Wichita, this seminar will provide attendees with updates and learning opportunities covering a broad view of the ethanol industry.

 

“With nearly one-third of Kansas corn going directly into ethanol production,” said Kansas Corn Director of Industry Relations Stacy Mayo-Martinez. “It is important for those in the corn and agriculture industry to understand the market, the opportunities and the hurdles to better grasp how it affects Kansas corn prices. This is a unique learning opportunity and we are proud to partner with Renew Kansas.”

 

The seminar will explore ethanol export opportunities; barriers to increased ethanol use and connecting consumers with ethanol blends. A fuel retailer panel and an expert panel on economic impact and plant innovation will round out the seminar.

 

Kansas is a significant ethanol producing state producing about 500 million gallons of ethanol per year and represents a significant market for corn producers. About one-third of Kansas corn is used to make ethanol and DDGS feed, the co-product of ethanol production.

 

Those interested in the event can find more information and register online at https://kscorn.com/cornfedethanol/.

 

Kansas Corn represents corn farmers in Kansas, while Renew Kansas represents the state’s ethanol industry. For more information, visit kscorn.com and renewkansas.com

 

MANHATTAN, Kan. — A program that has its roots in helping Kansas farmers through the 1980s farm crisis and which has helped thousands of farmers since then is in transition.

Forrest Buhler, the staff attorney for Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services, has retired after 32 years of service to the state’s farmers. Buhler’s last official day was Jan. 31.

He is being replaced by Erin Strathe, a recent graduate of K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine who also has earned a law degree from the University of Kansas.

“Our program began as the Farmers Assistance Counseling and Training Service (FACTS) in 1985,” Buhler said. “It was intended to serve farmers who were experiencing difficulties during the 1980s farm crisis. FACTS provided financial, legal, employment training, and family needs for producers, lenders and rural communities needing assistance.”

The Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services (KAMS) is part of a national program funded by Congress beginning in 1988 to use mediation as a tool to work with producers and lenders to resolve financial difficulties short of bankruptcy or foreclosure.

“KAMS worked with FACTS using those resources to help parties prepare for mediation with financial and legal options,” Buhler said. “Preparation has been a big part of the success of KAMS.”

“Forrest and the KAMS team, and the groups we partner with, have built a really great program. I’m excited to be joining the team,” said Strathe, whose first day on the job was Jan. 27. “I’m passionate about helping people, especially Kansas farmers and producers. I’m excited to continue the program’s legacy of helping people in times of need and whenever our services may benefit them.”

Strathe noted that KAMS works with financial analysts from the K-State Research and Extension Farm Analyst Program, Kansas Legal Services attorneys and mediators to better aid the Kansas agricultural community.

Buhler said KAMS is designed to be a safe and confidential place for farmers and ranchers to call to receive assistance and be proactive in addressing their needs. He said the program’s staff serves as an unbiased party that can align people with resources to help them make a good decision.

“Over the last three to four years, the farm economy has been very difficult, and our calls have increased,” Buhler said. “Our requests for services from farm analysts have increased. Lenders want to work with producers. It helps if we can offer farmers some objective, neutral services to meet the needs of both lenders and producers.”

Buhler said that a typical request involves several people, including creditors, bankers, producers and family members. Over 32 years, he has worked with “thousands of people” in helping to resolve challenges on Kansas’ farms.

“There is a real need out there for this type of program,” Buhler said. “People are making important decisions: ‘Should I restructure my debt or am I in a spot where I need to liquidate? How can I transition the operation?’ There are difficult decisions to be made because of the consistent and chronic nature of this poor cycle we have been in.”

“Giving producers options and information to be able to make good business decisions for their families and everyone else based on objective information really is a good service at this point.”

Buhler noted that KAMS’ success during his tenure is a result of the work by his office staff and numerous partners, including K-State Research and Extension and its agents across the state; and Kansas State University.

For more information on KAMS, call 1-800-321-FARM or visit ksre.ksu.edu/kams.

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has proclaimed Feb. 3-7, 2020, as Wildfire Awareness Week in partnership with the Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council and multiple state agencies.

 “Each year, wildfires endanger our firefighters, neighbors, and landscapes,” said Mick McGuire, the current chair of the Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council and lead meteorologist of the National Weather Service in Wichita. “Wildfire Awareness Week reminds us that we all have a part to play in preventing wildfires and protecting our communities.”

 Preliminary data from the Office of the State Fire Marshall indicates that reported vegetation fires were down to 2,502 fires burning 27,907 acres in 2019 as compared to 6,316 fires that burned 185,610 acres in 2018.

 While reported wildfires were lower in 2019 due to above normal precipitation amounts, cooperating agencies within KIWC caution Kansans to not become complacent when it comes to doing their part to reduce the risk of and prepare for wildfires. Nearly 95% of all wildfires result from the activity of people, indicating there is still room for improvement.

 “While some wildland fires can’t be prevented because they spring from lightning strikes or other natural causes, many are avoidable by carefully observing basic precautions when using fires outdoors,” Gov. Kelly said.

 McGuire said that every Kansan can implement the tips and best practices highlighted during Wildfire Awareness Week to prevent dangerous wildfires.

 “I urge everyone to take simple, precautionary steps like pruning trees and shrubs around homes and removing old debris from yards. Kansas experiences it’s heaviest wildfire activity during the early spring months, but fires occur during all seasons of the year, including winter,” he said.

 The Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council and partner agencies suggest the following to mitigate the risk of wildfire and reduce potential impacts if a wildfire does occur:

 Create defensible space around homes by removing leaves and other plant debris and flammable material that could catch embers. Replace or repair loose or missing shingles. Provide adequate space between the home and trees or other landscaping.

  • Establish a community or neighborhood group to participate in or be a part of creating a wildfire mitigation and response plan.
  • Prevent wildfires from starting by avoiding activities that can spark fires near buildings and potential fuel sources.
  • Write and follow your burn plan for prescribed fire including checking the weather forecast, and continue to monitor the burn area to make sure it hasn’t reignited.
  • Consider volunteering with your local fire department. Quick responses by local fire departments prevent what could become a devastating wildfire.

Throughout the 2020 Wildfire Awareness Week, the Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council and partner agencies including the National Weather Service Office, Kansas Division of Emergency Management, Office of the State Fire Marshal, the Kansas Forest Service, and others will remind Kansans of the dangers posed by wildfires and easy to implement practices to prevent and mitigate the risk of wildfires.

 Follow the hashtag #WildfireKS on social media during Wildfire Awareness Week to engage in the conservation. Be sure to like and follow @WildfireKS on Twitter and @KSKIWC on Facebook to see the latest information on wildfires in Kansas year-round.

Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill to restrict how producers of meat alternatives could market their products in the state. The bill lists 22 meat-related terms that producers of alternative foods won’t be able to use, such as jerky or burger, unless they label their products as “imitation” or add a phrase that the product does not contain meat. The bill is being pushed by the Kansas livestock industry, which argues it would eliminate consumer confusion about which products contain meat. Opponents say the proposal violates free speech rights by restricting how plant-based and other alternative products can be marketed. Lawmakers had a hearing on the bill Thursday.