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The Rural Papers

The Kansas Rural Center publishes a newsletter, Rural Papers, five to six times a year. Contributors to KRC receive the newsletter at no cost. Subscriptions are available for $25/year. The newsletter offers practical information on sustainable agricultural practices and profiles of Kansas farmers. It includes timely coverage of farm policy and environmental issues from a state and a national perspective. The newsletter also offers analysis and commentary on developments in industrial agriculture, such as biotechnology and genetic engineering, corporate concentration, and factory livestock production. The editor is Mary Fund. Contact the KRC office for a complimentary copy or a subscription by email at ksrc@rainbowtel.net or call 785/873-3431.

The Rural Papers became available online in pdf format beginning Fall 2006. 
Highlights from the current issue are below.

Back issues may be found here.


November - December 2012 Rural Papers Highlights 

1) Conference Focuses on Multiple Issues Impacting Food, Farming and Health
by Tracey Graham
2) From the Executive Director: Why KRC is Needed Now More than Ever
by Julie Mettenburg
3) “Plowed Under” Report Documents Loss of Habitat and Grassland
4) Keep Up With the State Legislature and More in 2013
5) Kansas Graziers Association Winter Conference Set for January 19, 2013
6) Kansas Rural Center Transfers Local Food Program to Kansas Department of Agriculture
7) Niche Marketing Guide Available for Kansas Farms
8) Organic Farming Opportunities and Benefits Highlighted at Forum
9) Local Food Connections Workshop Draws Farms, Food Businesses, Locavores
by Natalie Fullerton
10) Rural Brainstorm Sparks Discussion in NE Kansas
by Jamie Dysart
11) Small Farmer Commentary: Drought Year Ponderings
by Mary Fund
12) Report on Coexistence of GMO’s and Organic Sharply Criticized

Click on the image to download a pdf copy of this issue!

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1) Conference Focuses on Multiple Issues Impacting Food, Farming and Health
by Tracey Graham

“How does the way we grow our food affect our environment? the nutrient value of our food? our ability to provide access to food for all? and the health of our food and farm workers?” These were the questions posed by Julie Mettenburg, Executive Director of the Kansas Rural Center, as she framed the day’s discussion at the beginning of the recent Agriculture and Health Summit held in Topeka, Kansas.

More than 80 people attended the “Healthy Farms, Healthy People” conference on November 16. The topic of the day was “Exploring Kansas Perspectives on the Connections Between Farms, Our Food System, and the Health of Our Population”.

Mettenburg challenged attendees to consider not just community action for change, but also public policy solutions to help support and drive that change. She also challenged them to open their minds to complex problems and solutions, and to set aside preconceived notions, such as that subsidies alone are the cause of food price inequities, or the common statement that Kansas farmers feed the world. “Are we even feeding our own state’s population?” she asked. “You will learn later today that we are not.”

Keynote speaker Robert Martin, policy analyst for Center for a Livable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, shared the results of the Pew Commission on Farm Animal Production, a two-year study he led along with former Kansas Governor John Carlin.

In 2008, the 16-member commission provided 24 recommendations for industrial animal agriculture, including the elimination of non-therapeutic use of antibiotics, a common protocol in confinement feeding operations.

Martin reported that some efforts at reducing antibiotics are being discussed by the FDA and that anticipated water quality policy changes in the Chesapeake Bay region may become a model. Martin said he expects the Pew Commission to release a 5-year anniversary update this coming April.

As for action that Kansans could take to improve agriculture for public health outcomes, Martin recommended contacting senators and representatives to demand a more democratic food policy. Also, ask questions at the meat counter, such as “How is this meat raised?” and don’t take “I don’t know” for an answer. He also suggested that HHS head Kathleen Sebelius might be receptive to Kansans requesting that the FDA address antibiotics in animal production.

Recent studies on the eating habits of Kansans, as well as issues of access, nutrition, food safety and environ-mental impact, and health impact on farmers and farm workers was the topic of speaker Barbara LaClair, policy analyst for the Kansas Health Institute.

LaClair distinguished between food deserts, rural regions and urban pockets where there is little or no access to healthy foods, and Food Swamps, where unhealthy food options are overabundant. Nearly half of Kansas counties contain USDA-designated “food desert” communities, with some western counties having no grocery store at all.

She said that KHI recommendations to improve the food environment include changes to farm policy to align food production more closely with dietary recommendations, emphasizing nutrient value and transparency in labeling, and making the healthy choices the easiest and most attractive choices.

“We’re all consumers and can vote with our food dollars. Ask the questions, force industry to respond,” LaClair stated. “ If industry can’t sell GMOs and antibiotic-filled meats, they’ll stop.”

Speakers Rhonda Janke, Ph.D., of Kansas State Research and Extension, and Paul Johnson, public policy analyst for the Kansas Rural Center, provided an assessment of the Kansas food and farming system.

Dr. Janke critiqued the recent controversial Stanford analysis of 230 research studies on organically grown foods, citing several areas of flawed methodology and the exclusion of numerous research projects with organic-favorable results.

Both speakers pointed to data that shows that Kansas farmers produce only a small fraction of the fruits and vegetables that we consume -- a total market value of $767 million. Janke said that to feed ourselves the fruits and vegetables that can and do grow well here, we would need 121,000 acres of farmland near our population centers.

Johnson shared policy programs that are making a difference in other states, citing Michigan’s Good Food Charter, North Carolina’s Farm To Fork campaign, and Iowa’s Local Farm and Food Plan.

Both Janke and Johnson called for citizen and corporate action in Kansas, to change food and farming policy. Janke pointed out that only one food-related bill was proposed in Kansas this last session, and it was defeated.

“Kansas state senators and representatives need to learn what we know, and need to know we care.” Johnson also said, “Kansas needs a more comprehensive Food and Farm Policy, with emphasis on diet and health outcomes.”

Donn Teske, president of the Kansas Farmers Union, shared the history, status, and prospects for the Farm Bill and the agriculture committees in Washington. He questioned the claim that industrial agriculture is needed to feed the world. “Peasants still feed at least 70 percent of the world population.”

With an eye toward finding community food and farming solutions, attendees participated in a series of round table discussions, facilitated by Marci Penner of the Kansas Sampler Foundation. Topics included Local Food Policy Councils, Farm to School, Food Cost vs. Food Quality; Work Place Wellness, Local Food Business Development, Food Hubs and Infrastructure (Aggregation/ Distribution), Farmers Markets, Rural Groceries, Organics, and food assistance programs.

Participants were asked to make action commitments, which they recorded on postcards that will be mailed back to them in several months as reminders to check their progress. They were also asked, who was not at the summit that should be included? And what policy ideas could drive change? Their answers will be considered by the organizing team and funders as they consider follow-up activities from the summit.

In addition to KRC, organizers of the summit included the Kansas Health Institute, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Farmers Union, and Bon Appétit Harvest Café, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control through the National Network of Public Health Institutes, and additional support by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation.

Jennifer Billig, of Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, and liaison for the national organizing team, explained that the summit was one of seven being held across the country to start conversations about the intersection of food, farming, health and public health.

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2) From the Executive Director: Why KRC is Needed Now More than Ever
by Julie Mettenburg

This month, I celebrate my first year as Executive Director of the Kansas Rural Center. It doesn’t seem possible that a whole year has passed! We have been busy laying the foundation for a future that’s worthy of all the hard work that has come before.

You will read about many of the year’s accomplishments in this issue. We have achieved an unprecedented amount of quality programming for Kansas farmers and ranchers, from new publications to conferences to farm tours and work days. We helped galvanize the formation of new food and farming coalitions in communities around the state. And we engaged the public health community and others concerned about our agricultural system’s impact on our health -- a gratifying fulfillment of one of my first goals as Executive Director.

Organizationally, the board and staff have renovated the budget process at KRC and developed a new funding model to help build grassroots support. And we examined, clarified and re-dedicated to KRC’s mission to promote a food and farming system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just.

Thus, KRC is poised to move forward to continue to provide a needed vision and voice for a sustainable Kansas agriculture and food system. And we are serious about strengthening that voice, in the face of well-funded opposition as well as the eternal funding challenges that all nonprofits face.

KRC- A Strong Voice and Vision.

Although I personally believe we may be reaching a tipping point in the larger food and farm movement, many days it is hard to see much progress.

  • In the latest issue of Farm Journal, more than 25 percent of the advertising pages promoted powerful chemicals and “systems” to help farmers combat tougher weeds. But you and I both know why those weeds are tougher these days!
  • At our “Healthy Farms, Healthy People” Agriculture & Health summit, we learned about the risk that non-therapeutic antibiotic use in animal production poses to our citizens’ health. Eliminating this practice for the good of our environment and our people will prove a tall order, considering the size and importance of the animal agriculture industry to our state, and its reliance on confinement feeding systems.
  • This year’s presidential race virtually ignored climate change, while we Kansas farmers are experiencing the effects of extreme weather every day.
  • In California, despite early and overwhelming support by the public, the measure to implement GMO labeling -- Proposition 37 -- was defeated in the wake of a deluge of negative messaging financed by Big Food.
  • Meanwhile, here in Kansas, Big Oil is developing the controversial practice of horizontal drilling, with its accompanying environmental concerns, such as its competition for our water resources, and what to do with the wells’ salt-laden sludge.
  • Early this year, our legislature relaxed rules on swine CAFO’s, making it more difficult for citizens to protest large corporate swine facility permits, despite our vocal opposition.
  • And all of this occurs in the midst of implementation of our state’s new tax structure, expected to bring about a budgetary squeeze that is all but certain to further decimate the watchdog agencies.

Building a Bridge to the Future

And yet there is good news. More people are gaining interest in these issues, as grassroots energies swell in communities across the state. Citizens are joining with farmers to work on solutions: organizing healthy food coalitions, farmers markets, environmental action groups, and new businesses to replace our dying rural groceries. Producers have reported that they are overwhelmed by the demand for their local and organic foods.

These farmers, citizens and grassroots groups are asking for our help -- but we need YOUR help to provide it.

KRC offers alternatives, whether helping established farms transition to organic, helping grow new vegetable producers, helping farms access new markets, or helping graziers or crop farmers implement more drought-resilient options. And farmers are interested: at our all-day organic forum at Salina in November, more than 70 farmers turned out -- double the number we expected. Other workshops to raise hoophouses or learn new grazing management strategies were also full of farmers and ranchers keen to learn about new opportunities and strategies.

In addition to the practical information, our Weekly E-Updates in our Policy Watch Project provide a unique, and much needed perspective on state legislative decisions, including the budget’s impact on education and rural schools, and on our most vulnerable citizens. In addition, the Updates keep readers up to date on the Farm Bill action or inaction.

As always, KRC is looking toward the future, and asking a critical question: Where are we most needed?

Given the pressures of extended drought, extreme heat, those “tough weeds” and increasing fossil fuel-based input costs, the challenges that farmers and ranchers face are immense. Some will focus only on the short-term view that sees seductive record corn prices along with a growing land price “bubble.” But others are seeking alternatives, a path that cultivates resilience in the face of changed environment.

The next few years will be critical investment years for KRC—and for your farms and ranches and our future as Kansans. Your financial and volunteer support will help KRC build a bridge to a better future for our state.

Just as the board, staff and volunteers of the Kansas Rural Center have re-dedicated ourselves to the mission of an ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just agriculture in Kansas, we hope you will, too.

Best Wishes for the New Year from all of us at KRC!

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3) “Plowed Under” Report Documents Loss of Habitat and Grassland

Between 2008 and 2011, more than 23 million acres of grassland, shrub-land and wetlands were plowed under in order to plant commodity crops, according to a recently released report by the Environmental Working Group and Defenders of Wildlife. The plow down is in response to high crop prices and unlimited crop insurance, according to EWG, and signals a need for public policy such as payment limits on crop insurance premiums and requiring conservation practices.

The analysis uses U.S. Department of Agriculture satellite data to produce the most accurate estimate currently available of the rate of habitat conversion in the farm belt. It shows that more than 8.4 million acres were converted to plant corn, more than 5.6 million to raise soybeans and nearly 5.2 million to grow winter wheat. Most of the destroyed habitat was in states in the Great Plains and Upper Midwest.

The report contains maps showing grassland, shrub land and wetlands converted to crops including counties in Kansas. To view the report go to: http://static.ewg.org/pdf/plowed_under.pdf

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4) Keep Up With the State Legislature and More in 2013

Will Kansas try once again to ease rules on important issues, as they did last year on CAFO’s and fracking? How will our tax system changes shape up and potentially impact our state’s services and rural communities? When will we get a Farm Bill out of Washington -- and when we do, will it support sustainable agriculture, diversified farms and rural communities?

Once again in 2013, the Kansas Rural Center will send our policy analyst, Paul Johnson, to Topeka to report every week from the State Legislature about issues and action that are important to our rural communities, our environment, and our food and farming system. Plus, we’ll be monitoring activity in Washington through our participation in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. And we’ll be sending those reports out to you, in our weekly “Policy Watch E-Update” electronic newsletter, direct to your in-box.

Make sure you’re on KRC’s list to receive this important e-News. You won’t want to miss any of this info, much of which is not covered any-where else -- and certainly not with our level of depth and perspective.

If you’ve donated to our 2013 Annual Giving Campaign -- with a donation since November 1, 2012 -- you’re automatically on the list (if we have your updated e-mail address!)

If you have not already donated, please consider doing so. We are asking for a minimum $35 donation to help us support Kansas farmers in sustainable agriculture and a sustainable food system for all Kansans.

As our thanks to you, we’ll provide both the Rural Papers and Policy Watch Weekly E-Updates.

To ensure that you receive the electronic Weekly Updates from our Policy Watch Project, send in your contribution to KRC, and sign- up today providing us your e-mail address using the insert coupon to this newsletter.

Back issues of the Weekly E-Updates are available on our website at www.kansasruralcenter.org/Policy.

For more information Contact Mary Fund at ksrc@rainbowtel.net  or 785-873-3431.

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5) Kansas Graziers Association Winter Conference Set for January 19, 2013

The Kansas Graziers Association (KGA) Winter Conference will be held Saturday, January 19, 2013, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Courtyard Mariott Hotel in Salina, Ks. “Back to the Basics of Grazing Management” is the theme for this year’s conference.

“With so many new people interested in grazing management or wanting information on how to manage drought stressed pastures, we thought a full day of state experts on a number of critical topics was the best idea,” stated KGA secretary Mary Howell.

Speakers will include David Kraft, and Dwayne Rice, Kansas based USDA NRCS Rangeland Management Specialists. Kraft will address drought management, and Rice will compare conventional grazing to MIG (management intensive grazing) and mob grazing. Gary Kilgore, retired KSU grass and forages specialist, will discuss soil health and fertility in grazing systems, and Dale Strickler, rancher educator, will cover plant physiology, forage options, and extending the grazing season. Rancher Ted Alexander will also lead a rancher/farmer panel on drought planning and general questions on grazing.

Registration fees are $50 for the first person per ranch, and $35 for a second person. Student registration is $25. The Courtyard Mariott is located at 3020 Riffel Drive, Salina, Ks., at the Schilling Road Exit from I-135.

Check the KRC website for registration forms and information, or contact Mary Howell at marshallcofair@gmail.com or 785-562-8726 or call the KRC office at 785-873-3431.

KGA is sponsoring a social at the conference headquarters starting at 7 p.m. Friday night for those coming to Salina the night before. Everyone is welcome.

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6) Kansas Rural Center Transfers Local Food Program to Kansas Department of Agriculture

In mid-December, the Kansas Rural Center (KRC) and the Kansas Department of Agriculture announced that the state agency will take over administration of “Our Local Food,” a project developed by the Kansas Rural Center.

“After several hard years of work establishing the need for and user platforms for this brand, we are thrilled to see the program taken up by our state agriculture agency,” said Julie Mettenburg, executive director of the Kansas Rural Center. “This will be an important next step in growing our local foods infrastructure in Kansas, as farmers, consumers and food businesses receive more support in growing their local food economies and businesses.”

Mettenburg said that KRC will continue to work in local foods issues, such as its current role as a partner in Kansas State University’s Rural Grocery Initiative and in sponsoring other producer education and outreach opportunities.

“We will continue to promote the OLF program, while seeking to work on the next important needs in local food systems development in our state,” she said.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, KDA will take over ownership and administration of the OLF brandmark, promotional materials and website, www.ourlocalfoodks.org. In addition, KDA will assume ownership and responsibility for www.ksfarmersmarkets.org. These programs have been purchased by KDA from the KRC through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant, to promote growth in the production, consumption and sales of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Our Local Food program will join the state trademark program for Kansas products and will specifically promote Kansas-grown fresh fruits and vegetables.

“The Our Local Food program will give us additional options for promoting, assisting and supporting producers, food businesses and consumers across the state,” said Sarah Green, local foods and rural outreach coordinator for KDA. “The Kansas Department of Agriculture is committed to supporting the entire spectrum of Kansas agriculture, which is our state’s largest industry.”

The centerpiece of Our Local Food is the website www.ourlocalfoodks.org, which serves as an online “food hub” for Kansans looking to sell or purchase locally grown produce and other farm goods. KRC launched the program in 2010 in several counties in northeast Kansas; in 2011 it expanded into three regions — the Kaw River Valley, or Lawrence-Kansas City region, the Twin Rivers, or Emporia region, and the South Central, or Wichita-Hutchinson region. In 2012, it expanded statewide, including to counties in the Southeast region.

The regional chapters will be phased out of the program, and attention turned to recruiting producers across the state. Interested consumers, producers or food businesses may sign-up for the program by visiting www.ourlocalfoodks.org

Mettenburg said the transfer of the OLF program and websites was a testament to KRC’s long history of work in local food systems.

“KRC has served as a pioneer in the agricultural community, listening to the needs of our farmers and rural Kansans and initiating important conversations,” she says. “Our work in local food goes back to our early days, and includes our leadership of the Kansas Food Policy Council. KDA’s further promotion of this program is a major indicator of just how important local foods will be in the future to our state economy and rural community development.”

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7) Niche Marketing Guide Available for Kansas Farms

Farm producers interested in selling their goods into local, niche and direct markets will have a new resource this month when the Kansas Rural Center’s “Finding Your Niche: A Marketing Guide for Kansas Farms” rolls off the press.

Packed with more than 150 pages of information, tips, resources, links and profiles, the guide has been a labor of love for KRC’s Our Local Food program team. Funding for the project was provided by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant through the Kansas Department of Agriculture and by the USDA Risk Management Agency.

The Guide provides information for farms producing a wide range of products, from specialty crops to livestock products, honey, aquaculture and more. Topics include how to set prices, develop a wholesale business with restaurants and institutions, set-up online marketing, and more. The Guide also includes a special section for beginning farmers.

Cole Cottin, OLF-Kaw River Valley coordinator for KRC this year, served as editor of the guide, and said it is intended for experienced farmers and aspiring farmers alike. “If you are interested in selling farm products of any kind to local or regional markets, this guide is for you!"

The guide will be available at the Kansas Rural Center web site. Or, you may order a print copy while supplies last by e-mailing your full contact information -- including address and phone number -- to ddysart@rainbowtel.net  or call 785-873-3431. A donation to KRC to help cover shipping and handling costs, and to help continue our work with Kansas farmers in sustainable agriculture, is appreciated.

The guide is in production now and expected to be printed by Dec. 31.

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8) Organic Farming Opportunities and Benefits Highlighted at Forum

“Dollars for organic research exist because of all of you,” Dr. Michel Cavigelli, USDA ARS lead scientist for the Farming Systems Program told the crowd at a recent forum on organic farming in Salina, Ks.

About 70 organic farmers, transitional or beginning farmers and a number of conventional farmers and non-farming landowners gathered to listen to Cavigelli’s overview of organic research across the country, as well as to learn more about organic cropping systems, certification, marketing opportunities, and USDA NRCS resources for organic.

Cavigelli was referring to the growing farmer interest and consumer demand for organic products, and to the funds included in the past couple of farm bills dedicated to organic research needs. Organic production is one of the fastest growing sectors within agriculture averaging about 18 to 20% per year the past 15 years. While research funds have not grown proportionately, forum participants learned that USDA and a few universities around the country have still been able to establish some important long- term studies and begin collecting base data.

Cavigelli and others spoke at the daylong forum organized by the Kansas Rural Center, and cosponsored by the Kansas Organic Producers Marketing Association, and Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops.

All farming systems manage ecological processes to provide ecosystem services, Cavigelli explained. These services include food production, regulating of water quality, pests, and climate, and supporting soil retention and nutrient cycling. Soil organic matter is the new buzzword in agronomy and conservation circles, largely due to concerns about soil health and carbon sequestration.

Soil organic matter, stated Cavigelli, provides ecosystems services of increasing fertility, stabilizing soils to prevent erosion, helping control some pests, increasing carbon sequestration, and building system resilience in all agricultural systems. But organic farming, he explained, does all this without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms. “Improving organic matter and soil health have long been the foundation of organic farming systems.”

“Organic farming systems have a mean carbon sequestration rate similar to no till systems,” he stated. While quick to acknowledge that more research is needed because the sites were not set up for one-to one comparison, organic systems fixed carbon in the soil at rates equal or higher than no till, especially at lower soil profiles at five long term agriculture research sites (LIARS). In addition to the carbon benefits, organic systems also can have erosion or loss rates comparable to no till despite the tillage used in organic, although reduced tillage or no till within organic systems had better results than organic with tillage.

As for yields, organic yields are on average lower than conventional systems—about 85 to 90% of conventional yields on average in all of the LIAR sites. But a closer look at the research has shown that the longer rotation systems (i.e. a six year rotation such as a corn followed by a fall rye cover crop, then soybeans, followed by wheat and then 3 years of alfalfa) brought crop yields closer to conventional averages. The longer term rotations also showed better weed control and lower soil erosion.

Cavigelli pointed to organic farming’s research needs and challenges: improve manure management, integrate cover crops and perennial forages, and reducing tillage. “We have learned, “ stated Cavigelli, “ that you must pay as much attention to the cover crop as to the cash crop.”

Crop rotations and soil building legume's and manure management practices were emphasized by Ed Reznicek, organic farmer and General Manager of the Kansas Organic Producers Association, as he outlined the challenges and opportunities in organic field crop production. Ib Hagsten, independent certified organic inspector, laid out the basics of organic certification. If you are averse to record keeping, then organic farming is probably not for you, he advised.

“Demand for organic crops surpasses the available supply,” stated Rodger Schneider, Kansas Organic Producers Association Marketing Director. “About 60% of the organic soybeans processed in this country are imported from China or India. That is opportunity for Kansas farmers.” While conventional crop prices are at all time highs, premiums for organic crops have climbed too. “We need more organic farmers to meet the product demand.”

USDA official numbers for certified organic farmers nationally was under 12,000 with 400 million in sales in 2002. By 2011, the number was nearly 13,000 with $3.5 billion in sales. The official numbers for organic farmers certified in Kansas ranges from 83 to 167, depending on which set of data you are looking at and which definitions of organic farmer they used. Numbers for surrounding states such as Iowa and Nebraska are much higher (Iowa 677 and Nebraska 211), according to USDA.

Lyle Frees, Resource Conservationist, with the USDA NRCS office in Salina described how the EQIP Organic Initiative can help transitioning or existing organic farmers. The NRCS program is there to provide cost-share assistance to transitioning organic farmers in adopting conservation practices (such as crop rotations, cover crops, nutrient management, grazing management, etc.) to facilitate the transition, and to help existing organic farmers in adopting needed conservation measures. Each county should have a staff person who participated in the organic training workshops coordinated by the Kansas Rural Center and State NRCS office in 2010 and 2011.

A range of farmers attended the meeting coming from all parts of the state and some from Nebraska and Northwest Missouri.

At the beginning of the day forum organizer Mary Fund told the group, “This is exactly what we wanted to see today—a broad spectrum of experienced organic farmers and transitional or beginning farmers or just curious conventional farmers. I don’t want to downplay what you will learn from the speakers today, but what you’ll learn from each other will be just as important.”

About a third of those attending were currently certified organic farmers, another third were land-owners or non-organic farmers interested in learning more, and about a quarter were beginning or transitional organic farmers. Following the forum, Fund said, “98 percent of those responding to our forum evaluation asked for additional regional or local education and information meetings. KRC is going to see what we can do to help make that happen.”

Presentations from the forum are posted on KRC’s website.

The Forum was partly funded by a grant from the National Center for Appropriate Technology via a USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant.

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9) Local Food Connections Workshop Draws Farms, Food Businesses, Locavores
by Natalie Fullerton

Fifty-six people attended the November 10 “Local Food Connections Workshop” held in Wichita, Kansas. The workshop focused on networking, marketing, and locating local food in south central Kansas. Those in attendance included farms, food businesses, and locavores looking to start or expand marketing and purchasing locally sourced food.

Breakout sessions, comprised of ten different presentations, brought in speakers ranging from a chef Michael Beard, owner of 715 Restaurant in Lawrence, KS using a nose-to-tail meat use approach in his restaurant to Paula Miller, a dietitian offering advice on how to find and use local food in Kansas.

Other speakers included: Rebecca McMahon, Sedgwick Count Extension Agent who presented on “Planning Crops for Consistent Yields;” Brady Krueger, Krueger Insurance, “Liability Insurance for Market Farms;” Pam Paulsen, Reno County Extension Agent, “Post-Harvest Handling for Produce;” Brian Phillips, Store Operations Manager for The Merc in Lawrence, “Local Food as a Marketing Tool”; Cherie Schenker, owner of Schenker Family Farms “Regulations of Buying & Selling Animal Products” and “Niche Livestock Marketing;” and Tracey Graham, Our Local Food-Twin Rivers Coordinator “Eating by the Calendar in Kansas” and “Preserving the Harvest.”

A local food buyers and sellers panel shared their experiences. Challenges to buying and selling local food and how to overcome them, how far in advance connections with farms or businesses need to be made, important regulations and resources were a few of the topics addressed.

The workshop concluded with keynote speaker, Diana Endicott, founder and president of Good Natured Family Farms (GNFF). The company is a pioneering alliance of over 160 family farms within a 200-mile radius of the Kansas City metro area. Endicott manages the company’s many facets including sales to area grocery stores, a workplace wellness CSA which services employees at companies in the Kansas City community, a partnership with Bistro Kids to bring a farm to school program in eight Kansas City metro YMCA Head Starts, and Good Natured Market at Harvest Learning Center, a non-profit grocery store in Kansas City’s Ivanhoe neighborhood. Endicott discussed her current and future endeavors with the company and filled the room with excitement about the opportunities local food can provide for small farms and businesses.

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10) Rural Brainstorm Sparks Discussion in NE Kansas
by Jamie Dysart

One woman is taking the initiative to sustain rural communities, while letting the younger rural generation who are “rural by choice” have an active voice in their communities.

Marci Penner, the director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation and the author of “8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook”, was the facilitator of the Northeast Kansas Big Rural Brain-storm (BRB), which was held November 12 at the Holton Evangel United Methodist Church.

The BRB brought local citizens of Northeast Kansas together to discuss issues of living rural and how to solve their concerns, in hopes to have “collective brilliance”.

“If we are all the same, we will always have the same thoughts,” said Penner. Penner explained the “power up movement”, which includes six divisions of agriculturists. These groups include the “power ups” who are people between the ages of 21-39 who are rural by choice and struggle with the connotation that “rural isn’t cool,” Penner said, while “sparks” are people under 21 who add good energy to community spirit.

“Power Ons” are ages 40 and older who are passionate about rural living, she said. Citizens 80 years and older, Penner said, who are still offering positive input in the community are known as “super powers”.

She said, “power generators” include those who live in bigger cities, but work to better rural communities, while “rural enthusiasts” are comprised of people who live anywhere and are supportive of rural Kansas.

When Penner traveled Kansas to do research for her book she went to all 626 incorporated towns. She said half of those towns had less than 400 citizens. Those 313 towns only thrived when they accepted the voice of young people, Penner said, “Those were the towns that had the most ‘explorer value’.”

Discussion groups were asked to answer the question of how well northeast Kansas is connected, and how can we communicate better? “Before we can communicate in a region, you must communicate in your town,” Penner said.

Penner introduced the “We Kan! Bank” to the BRB group. This is a system that matches community needs with those who can donate services, labor or money, she said. Everyone participated in the exercise of posting their accounts of service and their towns accounts of needs, and later could look at these to find out if they could help someone or if a services would be beneficial to a community need.

Teresa McAnerney, a facilitator at the Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation, said she is surprised at the amount of resources there is in a community and the willingness of people to work together. Courtney Schmelzie, Seneca Chamber of Commerce, said she is excited about the community involvement especially in the “power ups”. With almost 60 people in attendance at the northeast Kansas BRB only eight people were “power ups”. Penner said that the results of other BRBs are a lot different when there are more “power ups” in attendance.

At the end of the BRB everyone wrote down how they can help sustain rural northeast Kansas on their “This is my Rural Action” card, and was encouraged keep working on it when they went home.

“We need to fight for what we need, “said Penner, “if we don’t say what we need, it will not get done.”

(Jamie Dysart is a senior in agriculture communications at Kansas State University)

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11) Small Farmer Commentary: Drought Year Ponderings
by Mary Fund

Late one Sunday afternoon in early December, we saw billowing clouds of smoke on the southern horizon of our farm. Given how incredibly dry it has been, we were alarmed, and jumped into the truck to race around the section to see what was going on. Surely no one would be crazy enough to set a fire on purpose.

And yet that is what we found.

The local fire department was burning an 80 acre field of former CRP ground so that the farmer could work the ground yet this fall, and plant it to corn or soybeans next spring.

It was a warm calm day, so there was not much danger of the fire escaping the field, but it still deeply disturbed me.

By all official reports, 2013 will see more of the same here in Kansas as far as drought goes. And yet, farmers are willing to gamble on the likelihood of rain in order to cash in on high grain prices.

Or is it just rain they rely on?

While in the above instance, I do not claim to know the specific farmer’s plan (and he is but one of many doing the same thing; see article on page 3); I am told that crop insurance plays a big role. I’ve heard stories about farmers buying poorer quality land in grass or brush, tearing these out to plant high priced corn or soybeans, and buying federally subsidized crop insurance which guarantees them a payment if they lose that crop due to drought or flood etc.

Sounds like poor public policy to me-- especially in a drought year or cycle. Subsidized crop insurance is intended to protect farmers from routine risks. But instead it appears to be encouraging many to take risks they might not otherwise take-- risks that will expose more than just the individual to loss.

In mid-November, not long before we saw the billowing smoke, Ken Burn’s documentary “The Dust Bowl” was aired on PBS. I am amazed at the number of old and young alike who were shocked at how bad the drought was in western and southwest Kansas and throughout the Plains. “We never knew it was so bad!”, they claimed. “So hard on young and old. So totally destructive! It can’t happen again, can it?”

While the topic of another Dust Bowl happening is fodder for a future article, I fear that the actions of those who tear out grassland to plant crops for short term profit reflects that same lack of historical memory. “Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.”

My father was a storyteller. So while growing up, I heard lots about the Dirty Thirties and the Depression and yes, the drought. When my son was home from college over Thanksgiving, he unearthed a copy of an interview he’d done for high school with his Grandmother about the Dust Bowl. Ken Burns documentary- impressive. Personal interview- priceless.

This holiday season as families, friends and neighbors gather, take the opportunity to ask about the Dust Bowl. Ask your grandparents, older aunts and uncles, and older neighbors about the 1930’s and what they experienced. Learn from history.

And, oh yes, talk to your Congressman about conservation compliance for subsidized crop insurance, and putting caps on those insurance subsidies.

(Mary Fund, editor of Rural Papers, farms with her husband in Nemaha County.)

12) Report on Coexistence of GMO’s and Organic Sharply Criticized

In mid-November, the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) released its recommendations regarding transgenic contamination of organic and non-genetically engineered crops. The Committee was charged by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack with developing practical recommendations strengthening coexistence among different agricultural production methods.

The National Organic Coalition, a national alliance of organizations representing organic farmers, environmentalists and organic industry, sharply condemned the recommendations. Of particular concern in the report is the recommendation that organic and non-GE conventional farmers pay for crop insurance or self-insure themselves against unwanted GE contamination.

NOC strongly asserts that this proposal allows USDA and the agricultural biotechnology industry to abdicate responsibility for preventing GE contamination while making the victim of GE pollution pay for damages resulting from transgenic contamination. “The AC21 report takes responsibility for GE contamination prevention out of the hands of USDA and the biotech industry where it belongs and puts it squarely on the backs of organic and non-GE farmers,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety and a NOC member. “This ill-conceived solution of penalizing the victim is fundamentally unjust and fails to address the root cause of the problem – transgenic contamination.”

The underlying assumption of USDA’s work plan for the committee was that as long as farmers are adequately compensated, GE contamination is a permissible and acceptable cost of doing business for organic and non-GE farmers. NOC has rejected this assumption, as did several members of the AC21. According to NOC, the committee’s final report failed to make a single recommendation holding the patent holders of genetic engineering technologies responsible and liable for damages caused by its use.

The report can be viewed at: http://www.usda.gov/documents/ac21_report-enhancing-coexistence.pdf

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Back Issues

September - October 2012 Rural Papers Highlights 

1) Organic Farming Forum Set for November 13, 2012, Salina, Ks.
2) Agriculture and Health Summit Planned for November 16
3) Small Farmer Commentary: Consideration of the Wild Cards

by Mary Fund
4) Farm Bill Future Uncertain
By Mary Fund
5) Workshop Focuses on Water and Fencing as Drought Intensifies
by Tom Parker
6) Marketing Workshop Draws Enthusiastic Crowd
by Tracey Graham
7) Community Organizes Around Healthy Food: Brown County Hosts FEAST Event
by Chhaya Kolavilli & Cole Cottin
8) School Covers MIG Benefits to Livestock, Plant and soil Health and Bottomline
by Jason Schmidt
9) Briefs:
 - More Weed Resistance, More Pesticides Used
 - Crop Insurance May Cost Taxpayers
 - Stanford Organic Study Criticized by Scientists
 - Study Finds GM Organic Corn and Roundup Cause Tumors and Organ Damage

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June - August 2012 Rural Papers Highlights 

1) Gerrish Grazing Workshops Set for Topeka and Hays
2) Small Farmer Commentary: Drought and Cultivating
    Resilience
   
by Mary Fund
3) GMO Myths and Truths Report Released
4) House Ag Committee Voted a New Farm Bill; Waiting on
    Full House Action

    by Mary Fund
5) Beware of Blue Green Algae Threat for Farm Ponds
    by Mary Fund
6) Eastern Ks. September 12=13 Grazing School Taking
    Registrations
7) Niche Marketing in Kansas Guide and Workshop Due This
     Fall

     by Joanna Voight
8) Savor the Season Helps Promote Specialty Crops
     by Tracey Graham
9) Mobile Food Prep Unit Helps Garnett Farmers Market
    Promote Products

    by Tom King
10) Clean Water Project Wraps Up Its Work; KRC to Explore Emerging Resource Issues
11) Future of the State Budget: The Big Gamble Begins
       by Paul Johnson
12) Does Your Cover Fit?
       by Lyle Kohlmeier

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April - May 2012 Rural Papers Highlights 

1) High Tunnel Workshops Showcase Opportunities in NE Kansas
  
by Joanna Voigt
2) Small Farmer Commentary: Women, Farming and Conservation: A Mother’s Day Salute to A Differing Viewpoint
  
by Mary Fund
3) KRC News: Thanks to Outgoing Board Members and Welcome to New; Thanks and Best Wishes to Mercedes Taylor-Puckett
4) Senate Agriculture Committee Marks Up 2012 Farm Bill
   by Mary Fund
5) State Veto Session Begins
   by Paul Johnson
6) Women Caring for The Land: Education Program Launched for Women Landowners
   by Mary Fund
7) Meet Brandi Swiler: New Southeast OLF Chapter Coordinator
8) Savor the Season Cost-Shares and Mini-Grants Announced
9) Our Local Food New Website Breaks Ground
10)The Circle of Farming: Cover Crops a Good Step Toward Soil Health
   
by Tom Parker

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January-February 2012 Rural Papers Highlights 

1) State Legislature: Multiple Issues to Impact Rural Communities,
     Family Farms and the Environment
   
by Paul Johnson and Mary Fund
2) Planning Can Mitigate Drought Effect
    
by Mark Parker
3) “Rural Brainstorm” Taps Energy and Talents for Building
    Communities
4) Small Farmer Commentary:
    Lessons form the Statehouse and Beyond
   
by Julie Mettenburg
5) White House Budget Disappointing for Natural Resources and
    Small Farmers
6) Meet Cole Cottin- New OLF Kaw River Valley Coordinator
7) 2012 Savor the Season Launched
8) Women Caring for the Land Meetings Underway
9) High Tunnel Workshop and Farm Tour Set for
     March 13 in Lawrence
10) High Tunnel Construction Workshop Scheduled for March 24
11) Livestock Producer Management Practices Workshops Planned for April 2

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December 2011 Rural Papers Highlights  Click here for the pdf version

1) Meet KRC’s New Executive Director: Why I’m Working for the Kansas Rural Center
By Julie Mettenburg, Executive Director
2) Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch-- KGA 2012 Conference Set for January 21
3) Rethinking Food Production with an Eye to the Future
by Mark Parker
4) Small Farmer Commentary: The Fundamental Questions Don’t Change
by Mary Fund
5) Farm Bill Rebooted
by Mary Fund
6) SE Chapter Hosts Farmers Market Workshop
7) Conference Panel Takes Aim at the Food System
by Mark Parker
8) Conservation is An On-going Effort: Stuenkel Tour Highlights Multiple Practices and Projects
by Tom Parker
9) Great Plains Growers Conference Set for January 5-7 in St. Joseph, MO
10) NRCS Ranking Dates Announced for Organic and Seasonal High Tunnel Initiatives
11) KRC Legislative Weekly E-Updates Available

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September-November 2011 Rural Papers Highlights  Click here for the pdf version

1) KRC 2011 Sustainable Agriculture Conference Set for Nov. 19
2) KRC Receives Two New Regional Food System Grants
3) Small Farmer Commentary: A Different Kind of Harvest
4) News Bulletin: KRC Hires New Executive Director
5) Fast Farm Bill for a Fast Food Nation
6) Grazing Cattle Best for Pastures, Water Quality and Calf Health
7) “Manhattan Project” Demonstrates Power of Grassroots in Local Food
8) KRC Hosts 2011 NRCS Organic Farming Trainings
9) SC Chapter Studies Economic Impact of Farmers Markets
10) Douglas County Food System Report Released

 

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June-August 2011 Rural Papers Highlights  Click here for the pdf version

1) Nagengast Steps Down as KRC Director
2) Small Farm Commentary: Of Goodbyes and Meeting New Challenges
3) In Memory: Robert Mulch May 22, 1941-June 24, 2011
4) Cuts to Conservation Programs Protested
5) Seminar at KDA Highlights Local Foods and the Kansas Economy
6) Our Local Food Chapters Spark Local Production and Marketing Networks
7) Met Julie Mettenburg- Kaw Valley Our Local Food Coordinator
8) Farmers markets Accepting Food Stamps Expand
9) A New Kind of Barn-Raising- Hooophouse 101
10) Jim Gerrish to Speak at Series of Workshops Across Kansas In August
11) Eastern Ks. Grazing School Set for September 7-8 in Holton
12) Cows, Creek and Cold Cash- $100,00 in Tuttle Creek WRAPS Cost-Share Available
13) KRC Notes
     Schmidt Leaves KRC to Return to Farm
     Lyle Kohlmeier Joins KRC Staff
     KRC Elects New Officers and Welcomes New Members
14) Farm Aid Comes to Kansas City, Kansas August 13!

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January-March 2011 Rural Papers Highlights Click here for the pdf version

1) GE Alfalfa Deregulation Defies Common Sense
   
by Mary Fund
2) Small Farmer Commentary: Building Resilience at the Grassroots
   
by Mary Fund
3) Congressional Budget Cuts Target Farm Programs
4) Improving Winter Management Can Improve Herd and Calf Health Clean Calving Environment Directly Linked to Calf Health
     
by Mary Howell
5) Open Letter to the New Governor of Kansas: Looking for
     Economic Opportunities
    
by Paul Johnson
6)  Research Shows Problems Emerging with Roundup
7) Our Local Food Program to Expand In Kansas
    
by Mercedes Taylor-Puckett
8) Meet Natalie Fullerton, S.C. Chapter OLF Coordinator
9) Meet Tracey Graham, Twin Rivers OLF Coordinator
10) Energy Opportunities Offered in Kansas
     
by Dan Nagengast

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November-December 2010 Rural Papers Highlights Click here for the pdf version

1) Season’s Greetings! ...and Thanks to Our Supporters!
2) Small Farmer Commentary: A Tale of Two Christmas’s
     by Mary Fund
3) Sign Up for KRC’s Legislative and Policy Alerts
4) Cover Crop Workshop Draws Lively Discussion
     by Jason Schmidt
5) KGA winter Conference Scheduled for January 15, 2011
6) Rejuvenating Landscapes Through Managing Livestock 
    Behavior; Animal Behavior Specialist Provides Tips

    by Jason Schmidt
7) Back to the Drawing Board for Omnibus Bill; Food Safety Bill
     Passes

8) Adapting to Climate Change Important for Kansas Farmers and
    Ranchers

    by Mark Parker

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September-October 2010 Rural Papers Highlights Click here for the pdf version

1) “Connecting Cows, Carrots and Carbon: Making Sense of Our
    Food Future” Conference Set for November 20

    by Mary Fund
2) Small Farmer Commentary: Food Movement is a Farmer
     Movement, Too

    by Mary Fund
3) Farm To School Lunch Prompts Excitement Among the Kids
   Introduction by Dan Nagengast
   Cordley Elementary Farm-to-School Lunch:
   A Learning Experience

    by Linda Cottin
4) KRC Receives Specialty Crop Grants
5) Governor Elevates State Food Security Task Force
6) Delaware Watershed Tour Showcases Practices to Protect
    Water Quality

    by Connie Pantle
7) Exodus of Rural Youth Puts Communities in Jeopardy
    by Mark Parker
8) Organic Training for USDA NRCS Held in September
    by Mary Fund
9) Nature Provides Pasture Strategy Worth Copying
    by Mark Parker
10) Grazing School Delivers Profit-enhancing Lessons
    by Mark Parker

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April-June 2010 Rural Papers Highlights

1) So You Want to Put Up a Hoophouse?  Click here for the pdf version
by Harriet Behar and Angie Sullivan, Reprint from Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES).
2) Graziers Organize to Share Information
3) Relationships Important to Direct Marketing
by Connie Pantle
4) Small Farmer Commentary: Sustaining the Food System: What Will It Take?
by Mary Fund
5) Rural Grocery Initiative at KSU Wins Award
6) Battling World Hunger by Increasing Global Production”?
by Darryl Ray, University of Tennessee, Director of UT’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC). - Reprint.
7) Farmers Urged to Talk Over Options for Expiring CRP Ground
by Connie Pantle and Mary Fund
8) Proper Management of Riparian Areas Provides Multiple Functions
by Jason Schmidt
9) Increasing Herd Performance and Health Helps Bottom Line and Environment
by Connie Pantle

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January-March 2010 Rural Papers Highlights Click here for the pdf version

1) USDA EQIP Organic Initiative: Funds Available for Kansas Farmers for Organic Transition Practices
by Mary Fund
2) KGA 2010 Conference: Pharo Steers Graziers Away from Sacred Cows
by Mark Parker
3) Small Farmer Commentary: Working Upside Down With Water Concerns
by Dale Kirkham
4) First DOJ Hearing on Competition Set for Iowa
5) Protecting Water Has Livestock Benefits

by Mark Parker
6) CWFP Profile: Improving Pasture and Watering Sites Make the Difference for South Central Rancher
by Connie Pantle
7) Farmers Markets Offer A Growing Opportunity
by Mark Parker
8) Improving Livestock Production Workshop Set for April 13 in Frankfort

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October-December 2009 Rural Papers Highlights  Click here for the pdf version

1) N.C. Kansas Farm Tour Showcases Diversity & Business Options
by Mary Howell and Mary Fund
2) KGA Winter Conference Set for January 23, 2010
3) Small Farmer Commentary: Of Rickety Ladders, Fear, and the Spirit of Christmas
by Mary Fund
4) In Memory- Jan Garton 1949-2009
by Mary Fund
5) Delaware Watershed Tour Highlights Practices & Projects
by Connie Pantle
6) KRC Receives KDA Specialty Crop Grant
7) Munsch Featured Speaker at Jan. 9 Growing Your Profits Workshop
8) Commentary: Agriculture and Energy- Say Goodbye to Business as Usual
by Dan Nagengast
9) Senate Passes Food Safety Act
10) NRCS Hoop House Initiative Coming Soon

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August-September 2009 Rural Papers Highlights  Click here for the pdf version

1) Intensive Management Techniques Can Benefit Livestock Operations
by Connie Pantle
2) New CSP Launched
by Mary Fund
3) Small Farmer Commentary: Rural America Needs Health Care Reform
by Mary Fund
4) Management and Alternative Marketing Options Bus Tour Set for Oct. 8
5) No Till Whirlwind Expo Showcases Cover Crops

by Connie Pantle
6) “Coop-etition” and Working With Others Is Key to Success on Bauman Farm
by Connie Pantle
7) KRC News: NRCS Training on Organic Farming; and NSAC Visits Kansas for Summer Meeting
8) Study Predicts Greatest Climate Change in Kansas
9) Journal Criticizes Biotech Companies for Blocking Research

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  File Size =  7.4 megs 

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June-July 2009 Rural Papers Highlights Click here for the pdf version

1) EQIP Initiative Offers Opportunities For Organic Farming
by Mary Fund
2) Kansas Farmers’ Markets Go High Tech
by Mercedes Taylor-Puckett
3) Small Farmer Commentary: Health Care Lessons
by Mary Fund
4) rBGH Bill Vetoed in Kansas
5) Eagle Creek WRAPS Tour Highlights Riparian Protection
by Jason Schmidt
6) Grazing Workshop with Jim Gerrish Set for August 15
7) On-farm Demonstrations Approved in Six Watersheds
by Mary Fund
8) Schools Selected for Wind Energy Project
by Dan Nagengast
9) Nagengast and Miller Receive Wind Energy Award
10) Logan County Students Find There is No Place Like Home
by Connie Pantle
11) Commentary: Global Partners for Local Organic Food- First Exchanges
by Dan Nagengast

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  File Size =  2.8 megs 

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March-April 2009 Rural Papers Highlights Click here for the pdf version

1) Focus on the Fourth “F”: Feed, Fuel, Fertilizer... and Forages
by Dale Kirkham
2) Small Farmer Commentary:
Panic on the Internet; Small Farmers Fears Unfounded
by Mary Fund
3) Battle Over rBGH Awaits Governor’s Decision; But Questions Will Remain
4) Overbrook Grazing Workshop Encourages Optimizing Grazing Systems
by Jason Schmidt
5) CWFP Profile: Love of Place Drives Landowner’s Conservation Work
by Connie Pantle
6) KS Farmers Market Website to Launch in May
by Mercedes Taylor-Puckett
7) Global Partners for Local Organic Foods Website is On-Line
8) KRC Announces 2009 Market Farmer Educators
9) Market Managers and Board Members Attend Training Workshops

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  File Size =  4.6 megs 

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January-February 2009 Rural Papers Highlights Click here for the pdf version

1) Sustainable Grazing Systems Benefit Environment and Producer Profits
by Mark Parker
2) New EQIP Includes Organic Transition
by Mary Fund
3) Small Farmer Commentary: “Are We Going to Have to Raise a Garden?”
by Mary Fund
4) Dairy Labeling Hearing Scheduled
5) Food Security Task Force Issues Recommendations
6) Optimizing 4-Legged Harvesters Covered at Alta Vista Workshop
7) Protected Pond Offers Multiple Benefits

by Connie Pantle
8) Rescue Package for your Pond
by Dale Kirkham
9) KRC Joins Blue Green Alliance of Farm, Environmental and Labor Groups
10) KRC Receives Energy Funds

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December 2008 Rural Papers Highlights: Click here for the pdf version.

 

1) KRC Sustainable Agriculture Conference: Fundamental Shift from Industrial to Ecological Economy Needed to Meet Future Challenges
by Mary Fund
2) Small Farmer Commentary: Carve Out Time to Think
by Mary Fund
3) Dairy Labeling Law Criticized at Hearing
4) Grazing Management Benefits Resources and Bottom-Line
by Mark Parker
5) KRC Welcomes New Staff Member
6) Kansas Grazers Association Winter Conference Set for January 17

 

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  File Size =  2.1 megs 

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October/November 2008 Rural Papers Highlights: Click here for the pdf version.

1) KRC Sustainable Agriculture Conference: Meeting Agriculture's Challenges in A Rapidly Changing World
by Mary Fund
2) Small Farmer Commentary: Making Sense of It All
by Mary Fund
3) Organic Practices Offer Conservation and Economic Benefits
by Mary Fund
4) CWFP Profile: Non-Confined Backgrounding Operation Featured on Tour
by Connie Pantle
5) Tours Help Producers Make Decisions
by Connie Pantle
6) KRC Welcomes New Staff Member
7) 2008 Wind for Schools Selected
by Dan Nagengast

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  File Size =  3.4 megs 

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July/August/September 2008 Rural Papers Highlights Click here for this issue.

1) Wind Energy Added to KRC Website
2) Cropping Systems Workshop and Farm Tour Set for October 2
3) Small Farmer Commentary: Who is Chilling Whom?
by Dan Nagengast
4) No NBAF in Kansas Group Organizes
5) Lawsuits Filed Over rBGH Rules in Ohio
6) Improved Grazing Management is a Natural Response to High Priced Grain
by Jerry Jost
7) Cheney Lake WRAPS Field Day Scheduled Sept. 16
8) CWFP Profile: Butler County Rancher Says Conservation a Necessity
by Connie Pantle
9) Clean Water Farm-River Friendly Farm Project Secures Funding
by Mary Fund
10) Monsanto Sells Artificial Hormone Business
11) Assessments Serve Vital Role in WRAPS Process
by Connie Pantle
12) Leave Critical Areas of Expired CRP in Grass
by Troy Schroeder
13) O'Brien Tour to Feature "Calm Cattle, Cow Chips, and Clean Water"
14) KRC News: An Ending and a Beginning

by Jerry Jost

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  File Size =  2.2 megs 

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April/May/June 2008 Rural Papers HighlightsClick here to download this issue of Rural Papers

1) Local Food Future Discussed
by Mary Fund
2) Final Farm Bill Holds Wins and Losses for Sustainable Agriculture
by Mary Fund
3) rBGH Issue in Hands of KSDA
by Mary Fund
4) Wallace Genetics Foundation Funds Business Planning Project
by Jerry Jost
5) Grazing Management Education Funded
by Jerry Jost
6) CWFP Profile: She Always Wanted to be A Cowgirl
by Connie Pantle
7) CWFP Profile "There's Always Somebody Downstream"
by Connie Pantle
8) What is a Green TAg (REC) and How Can It Contribute to Renewable Energy in Kansas?
by Sarah Hill-Nelson
9) Wind Turbines Going Up at Schools
10) Wind Summits Draw Crowds in Western Ks.
11) CRP-How Much Will Survive $5 and Up Corn?
by Troy Schroeder
12) "Farming in the Dark'" Book Available
13) Small Farmer Commentary: Signs of Hope
by Mary Fund

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  File Size =  4.7 megs 

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January/February/March 2008 Rural Papers Highlights: Click here to download this issue of Rural Papers

1) Energy Bills Drop Renewable Pretenses: More Coal Plants
by Dan Nagengast
2) State Labeling Bill Threatens Consumers and Producers
by Mary Fund
3) The Small Farmer Commentary: “Sound Science” or Whose Science?
by Mary Fund
4) Extending the Grazing Season Featured at Conference
by Jerry Jost
5) CWFP Profile: Removing Abandoned Waste Tanks Protects Water Quality
by Connie Pantle
6) Dealing with Dissolved Oxygen
by Dale Kirkham
7) Wind for Schools Announces Deadline for Applications
8) Schools Selected for Wind Energy Project First Round
9) Peace Corps: Volunteering is Not Just for Kids
by Harry Bennett

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  File Size = 1,621K 

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December 2007 Rural Papers Highlights: Click here to download this issue of Rural Papers

1) Pharma Crops: Agricultural Salvation or Pandora's Box?
 by Mary Fund
2) KGA Conference Set for January 19
3) Small Farm Commentary: Time Out of Time, or The 2007 Ice Storm
by Mary Fund
4) Senate Passes A Farm Bill; Big Gains, Big Losses
5) Winter Feeding-- Routine or Requirement 
by Dale Kirkham
6) CWFP Profile: Water Quality Improved in All Directions on This Farm 
by Connie Pantle
7) Ken Meter to be Featured at Regional Food System Workshop

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  File Size = 4,500K 

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October/November 2007 Rural Papers Highlights: Click here to download this issue of Rural Papers

1) Passion for the Prairie Drives Flint Hills Ranchers
by Jim French
2) Small Farmer Commentary: The Big Lacuna: How Did CO2 Regulation Surprise the Coal Industry?
by Dan Nagengast
3) Farmers Study Lessons from Konza Prairie
by Jerry Jost
4) CWFP Profile" Letting the Cattle Do the Work- Forages and Management Make the Difference
by Connie Pantle
5) Twin Lakes Water Festival Elevates Kids' Water Awareness
by Connie Pantle
6) In Memory Careful With Words and Land: Jim Scharplaz 1951-2007
by Scott Bontz
7) Bus Tour Looks at Value-Added Farms
by Jerry Jost
8) Farmers' Market Project Wraps Up
by Jerry Jost
9) KRC Receives Energy Award

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  File Size = 6,300K 

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August/September 2007 Rural Papers Highlights: Click here to download this issue of Rural Papers

1) Rain Can't Dampen Enthusiasm for Grazing Tour
by Connie Pantle
2) Farm Bill Debate Enters Final Final Push
by Mary Fund
3) Small Farmer Commentary: Wind Energy in Kansas-Asking the Right Questions
by Mary Fund
4) Organic Farming Beats No-Till
5) Grazing Tour Features Sedgwick County Farms
by Jerry Jost
6) Love for Grassland Drives Farmer's Practices
by Connie Pantle
7) Farmers' Market Opens Avenue for Entrepreneur
8) Board Profile: Meet Mark Nightengale
by Connie Pantle
9) Greenhouse Gas Policy Will Not Go to The Kansas Legislature

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  File Size = 5,000K 

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June/July 2007 Rural Papers Highlights Click here to download this issue of Rural Papers

1) Farm Bill Draft Misses Opportunity
by Mary Fund
2) Tapping Into the Energy of the Flint Hills: One Ranch's Answer
by Jim French
3) The Small Farmer Commentary: A Farm Bill for Everyone
by Dan Nagengast
4) KGA and CWFP Summer Farm Tours Announced
5) CWFP Profile: Whole Farm Planning Sparks Changes on Dickinson County Farm
by Connie Pantle
6) Commentary: A 2007 Farm Bill for Dighton and Djidian
by Jim French
7) KRC Announces Wind Turbines for Schools Initiative
8) Tour Highlights WRAPS Related Projects

by Connie Pantle

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  File Size = 1,728K 

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March/April/May 2007 Rural Papers HighlightsClick here to download the issue.

1) Drugs in Rice Not Approved by FDA; Food Contamination Likely
2) Small Farmer Commentary: Rice With Human Genetics Comes to Kansas: The Questions We Should Be Asking
by Dan Nagengast
3) Teleconference Calls Bridge Farmers' Markets
by Mercedes Taylor-Puckett
4) CWFP Profile: Addressing Farm Priorities One Step at a Time
by Connie Pantle
5) Report Says CSP Drives Conservation
6) 2007 Farm Bill: Hearings, Budgets, and Reports Update
by Mary Fund
7) KRC Launches New Policy Webpage
8) Extension Agents Partner to Offer Farm Planning Workshops
by Connie Pantle

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  File size = 369K 

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January/February 2007 Rural Papers Highlights

1) Seeking Balance in U.S. Farm and Food PolicyClick here to download the issue.
2) The Small Farmer Commentary: "He Always Wanted A John Deere"

by Mary Fund
3) Low Stress Cattle Handling Explained At Grazing Conference
by Jerry Jost
4) Homemade "Bud Box" Saves Money And Reduces Cattle Stress
by Dale Kirkham
5) CWFP Profile: Small Changes Protect Water Quality
by Connie Pantle
6) New Priorities Ahead for Farm Bill
by Mary Fund
7) Managing With Less Energy
by Fred Kirschenmann (Reprinted with permission)
8) Cows, Creeks, and Clean Water; Simple Management Changes Matter
by Dale Kirkham
9) CWFP Announces March 31 Cost-Share Deadline

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   (With color photos!)  
   File size = 2,346K  

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November/December 2006 Rural Papers Highlights Click here to download the issue.

1) Coalition Calls for Reform in 2007 Farm Bill
2) Sustainable Agriculture Conference Tackles Rural Well-being
3) Alternative Voices Relay Potential for Agriculture's Future to Moran
by Mary Fund
4) KGA Announces Winter Grazing Conference
5) Long on Philosophy, But High on Profits
by Connie Pantle
6) Douglas County Ranch Tour Features Multiple Ranch Goals
by Connie Pantle
7) Community Wind Advocate Ask "Why Not Kansas?"
by Dan Nagengast

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   File size = 351K 

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August-October 2006 Rural Papers HighlightsClick here to download the issue.

1) Community Wind Energy Spotlight of October 31 Workshop
2) KRC Distributes Energy "Quiz"

3) The Small Farmer Commentary: Ag Subsidies Carry Global Harm
by Charlie Melander
4) Bus Tour Showcases Alternative Enterprises
by Jerry Jost
5) CWFP Farmer Profile
Preservation and Conservation Lie at the Heart of Farm Enterprises
by Connie Pantle
6) Environmental Assessment Prompts Changes Even Without Cost-Share
by Connie Pantle

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  File size = 394K 

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