Kansas Farm Bureau's 37th Governor's Farm and Ranch Tour included stops in Scott, Lane, Ness and Rush counties as it made a swing through western Kansas on Sept. 18.
The program, which began in 1975, is designed to help the governor, lawmakers, cabinet secretaries and staff have an opportunity to meeting with farmers and ranchers, hear about their concerns and gather their ideas on policy issues facing the state. As the state's largest farm organization, the Kansas Farm Bureau is in a unique position to work with its members to provide the officials with a look at a representative slice of Kansas farm and ranch life.
Lane County, where Gov. Sam Brownback and other officials toured the Farris farm, the benefits of no-till farming were evident. Lane County has been suffering one of the worst droughts in recorded Kansas history and has only recently had the benefit of some rain. Soil samples from no-till farms in the area, including the Farris farm, showed how no-till promotes root growth and moisture retention.
At the Vogel farm in Ness County, the governor's group talked with young producers about the hurdles to getting started in farming. They shared their concerns about taxes, healthcare and schools.
Expanding Kansas agriculture and the impact it could have on rural populations was the top of the discussion at the Brady farm in Rush County. Dairy operation owners and city and county commissioners stressed the need for a positive business climate, reasonable regulations, and assurance of a labor force.
"I can't think of any better way to showcase the true issues of agriculture or highlight what our members deal with on a daily basis than with the Governor's Farm and Ranch Tour," said Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus. "There are no easy solutions to the issues we face, but opening up the dialogue is a definite start, and we appreciate the Governor's willingness to listen and learn."