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Mission Statement

The Kansas Rural Center, Inc. (KRC) is a non-profit organization that promotes the long-term health of the land and its people through research, education, and advocacy. The KRC cultivates grassroots support for public policies that encourage family farming and stewardship of soil and water. KRC is committed to economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially sustainable rural culture.

Since 1979, the Kansas Rural Center (KRC) has worked to strengthen independent family farms and rural communities. By promoting sustainable farming methods, KRC strives to help farmers and rural communities find information and develop ideas that will lead to an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable agriculture.

KRC envisions a future of family farms, revitalized communities, a healthy environment, a safe regional food system, and people pursuing meaningful livelihoods. For those who want a future in farming, who care about the environment, and who care about the source of their food, KRC offers practical how-to information, and most importantly, hope for a sustainable future.

KRC, a non-profit, private organization, is headquartered in Whiting, Kansas, a small rural community in northeast Kansas. The governing board is currently composed of 17 directors drawn from across the state. Approximately half of the board members are farmers or ranchers. The others are business people, educators or community leaders. The full board meets twice a year. An Executive Committee meets quarterly to develop policy, direct financial decisions and provide staff oversight. Eleven staff members and three contract employees carry out board policy and the work of the Center.

The Kansas Rural Center is supported by grants from private foundations, churches, public agencies and institutions, in addition to individual contributions, subscriptions and sales of publications.

How Do I Get Involved?

Work with the Kansas Rural Center to promote sustainable agriculture,
rural communities, and a healthy environment:

Make a tax-deductible contribution to help continue our work. We are supported by private foundations, public grants, and individual contributions. Your generous support is appreciated. 

You can donate online using Paypal.

You may also make your donation by dropping us a check in the mail.
Make a check payable to "Kansas Rural Center"
 and send it to:

Kansas Rural Center
304 Pratt
P.O. Box 133
Whiting, KS 66552

Request a free copy of the Rural Papers, our newsletter, published 6 times each year. We will keep you updated on coming events such as farm tours, speakers, and workshops. Regular profiles feature farmers who are successfully integrating a concern for the environment into their farming operations and who are finding new ways to market their products.
Subscriptions are $25 per year
, sent to the address above.
Click here to see highlights from our most recent Newsletter
Click here to request a free copy or call us at

Purchase your own copies of our management guides on a variety of topics including cover crops, marketing pastured poultry products, and management intensive grazing. Check our publications page for prices and ordering information. A number of other publications are also available.
Click here to see a list of our Publications.

Join one of the Heartland Clusters or contact us about starting a cluster with other farmers in your area. Seed money is available for cluster development.
Click here to learn more about the Heartland Network.

Complete an environmental assessment and whole farm plan for your farm or ranch in our Clean Water Farms-River Friendly Farm Project. You may qualify for a $250 incentive payment for completing the RFFP assessment and action plan. And you may be eligible to apply for up to $5000 in cost-share. CWF-RFFP is looking for farmers and ranchers in any high priority watershed and in WRAPS watersheds across the state who are interested in protecting water quality as they adopt sustainable farming practices.  (WRAPS [Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy] is a new state framework for ensuring stakeholder involvement in the assessment and action planning to protect or restore watersheds.)

Dan Nagengast's Letter to KRC Constituents

Read Dan Nagengast's departure letter to KRC Constituents here.

Meet the Kansas Rural Center Staff

Julie Mettenburg is the Executive Director of the Kansas Rural Center.  Julie was raised on a small farm near Princeton, Kansas, in Franklin County, where she is still active in the day-to-day operations of grass-finishing and direct marketing beef and other meats with her parents and siblings. She brings to KRC a background in small business and nonprofit marketing communications and management, plus time spent in ag journalism. She began working with KRC as Kaw River Valley coordinator for Our Local Food in April 2011, taking on the role of KRC executive director December 1.

Julie has a master of arts degree in politics from the City University of New York with a specialty in public policy, and a bachelor of science degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. She lives in Lawrence with her husband, Peter Burns, and their two children, who are already involved in projects as fifth-generation farmers.

Julie Mettenburg - Executive Director - Lawrence

Mary Fund
Mary Fund - Communications Director/
Clean Water Farms Project Coordinator, Whiting
Work: 785-873-3431 or Home: 785-939-2032

Mary Fund is the Project Director for KRC's Clean Water Farm-River Friendly Farm Project, which provides planning assistance and limited cost-share to farmers and ranchers wanting to improve water quality on their farms. She also is the editor of KRC's newsletter, Rural Papers, and handles KRC's communications about farm and rural policy issues.

Mary represents KRC on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and monitors federal farm policy for KRC. She is one of two staff in the Whiting office, and therefore answers general questions and inquiries to KRC and points callers to the right "expert" on or off staff. She and her husband, Ed Reznicek, and their two children, own and operate a 400 acre certified organic farm in Nemaha County as 4th generation family farmers. Mary's personal interests include vegetable gardening, as well as raising flowers, and reading and writing.

As Administrator, Diane Dysart manages KRCís financial resources, budgets and bookkeeping files. She also tracks mailing lists and contribution records. Diane and her husband, Fred have three children, eight horses, and three dogs and live in rural Netawaka.

Diane Dysart
Diane Dysart - Administrator - Whiting
Work: 785-873-3431

Dale Kirkham
Dale Kirkham - Clean Water Farms Field Organizer
Work/Home: 620-583-5247 or Cell: 620-344-0202

Dale Kirkham assists farmers and ranchers in SE and SC Kansas with the Clean Water Farm-River Friendly Farm Project self-assessment and projects that improve water quality and related natural resources on their land. His special interests include livestock and grazing management, protection of native prairies, and wildflower identification. He and his wife Nancy operate a small ranch in the southern Flint Hills where they raise registered Brangus cattle.

Ed Reznicek is a half-time field organizer for the Clean Water Farm-River Friendly Farm Project with emphasis on relocating and redesigning livestock wintering facilities and in planning resource conserving crop rotations. He also operates an organic field crop and beef cattle farm in Nemaha County.

Ed is part-time General Manager of Kansas Organic Producers Marketing Cooperative, and also serves on the local school board.

Ed Reznicek
Ed Reznicek - Clean Water Farms Field Organizer, Goff
Work/Home: 785-939-2032 -

Lyle Kohlmeier
Lyle Kohlmeier

Clean Water Farms Field Organizer, Strong City
620-279-4316 or cell: 620-794-1193

Lyle Kohlmeier is a part time field organizer for KRC working mainly in the central and east central part of Kansas. Lyle and his wife, Lori, live on the edge of the Flint Hills, just outside of Strong City, Kansas. Lyle has dealt with many resource issues across Kansas. Working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service for 34 years, he gained extensive knowledge of the federal, state and local financial and technical assistance programs available to land users. Due to his experience in natural resource planning , he served on a team to develop and deliver training to new NRCS employees from across the nation.

As a KRC field organizer, Lyle provides assistance to individual landowners to develop a whole farm plan of action to help address their long term goals. His interests include grazing lands and cropland management systems.

Jason Schmidt came to KRC in 2009 from graduate school at Clemson University in South Carolina where he was researching forage finished beef production. Jasonís area of expertise is grass and forage based systems. Jason grew up on a family dairy farm near Newton, Kansas, and graduated from Bethel College where he studied international rural development, which exposed him to concepts of environmental and economic sustainability in agriculture. Jason worked as a Field Organizer in the Clean Water Farms Project from 2008 through spring 2011.

Jason and his wife Carol moved to the Newton area in the spring of 2011 to farm with Jasonís parents and start their own operation. Jason continues to work on a limited basis with KRC.

Jason Schmidt
Jason Schmidt - Clean Water Farms Field Organizer, Topeka
Cell: 316-461-3243

Mary Howell
Mary Howell - Clean Water Farms Field Organizer, Frankfort
Work/Home:785-292-4955 or Cell: 785-562-8726  
Mary Howell works is a field organizer for the Clean Water Farm-River Friendly Farm Project. Mary and her husband, Dan, raise cattle. They were early cooperators with this project. Finding this project useful to their own farm, Mary now helps other farmers complete the River Friendly Farm assessment and make plans to improve the water quality on their farms. Mary is very active with the Kansas Graziers Association, 4-H and her local county fair. Mary and Dan have one daughter, Ashley. 

Natalie Fullerton grew up in northeast Nebraska where h r work in the family garden was a great influence on her interests in food and agriculture today. After obtaining a B.S. in Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she jumped into the Masterís program where she worked as a graduate assistant through the Nebraska Rural Initiative. Her graduate project focused on the use of high tunnels and the economics of being able to produce profitably while selling locally. Natalie received her MS in Public Horticulture Administration in May 2010. Natalie joined KRCís Our Local Food Program in early 2011 after moving to Wichita, Ks. with her husband. She is excited to be a part of the local food movement in Kansas.

Natalie Fullerton
Natalie Fullerton,
South Central OLF Regional coordinator or 402-310-0177

Tracey Graham
Tracey Graham, Twin Rivers OLF Regional Coordinator or 620-343-4397
Tracey Graham served on the board of the Emporia Area Local Food Network since its inception in the fall of 2008, and has worked with many other enthusiastic lovers of local foods to promote the production, processing, preservation and consumption of local food. Her involvement with the Emporia Farmers Market evolved from market shopper, to board member, then vendor, then market manager, then back to vendor over the past eleven years. Her love of fresh local food made up for her lack of agricultural background (she grew up in suburban Los Angeles) and lack of preparation of her formal training (PhD in Geology, University of New Mexico). Tracey has also worked in Extension and is an active volunteer with Emporia Main Street and Lyon County Extension Master Gardeners.

Kansas Rural Center Board of Directors, 2012

Kansas Rural Center Board of Directors, August 27, 2011
Back row (left to right): Paul Ingle, Julie Elving, Gary Kilgore, Bob Lominska, Wayne White, Donn Teske and Charlie Griffin.
Seated: Joy Lominska, Marjorie Van Buren, Laura Fortmeyer, Bill Hanlon

Laura Fortmeyer, Fairview & Marjorie Van Buren, Topeka - Co-Presidents
Roger Schneider, Vice-President, Smolan

Wayne White, Treasurer, Oskaloosa  

Executive Committee
 Laura Fortmeyer, Paul Ingle,
Roger Schneider, Donn Teske,
Marjorie Van Buren, Wayne White

Hilary Brown, Lawrence
Ben Champion, Manhattan
David Coltrane, Washington
Charlie Griffin, Manhattan
Paul Ingle, Topeka
William Justice, Salina
Jackie Keller, Topeka
Gary Kilgore
, Chanute
Bob and Joy Lominska, Lawrence
Troy Schroeder, Albert
Dan Stucky and Leia Lawrence, Newton
Donn Teske, Wheaton
Gary Weisenberger, Lebanon

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