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Kansas Farmers Headed To DC To Meet With Lawmakers On Economy, Farm Bill

Emily Bell
flickr Creative Commons

Kansas farmers are heading to Washington, D.C., next week to meet with members of Congress and the Department of Agriculture.

The family farmers and ranchers will attend the National Farmers Union's Legislative Fly-In.

Kansas Farmers Union President Donn Teske says the team from Kansas will focus its discussions with lawmakers on several priorities.

"The farm economy is first and foremost," Teske says, "and an appropriate Farm Bill with an adequate safety net, which is what the farm program was designed for."

Teske says the Kansas delegation will also talk about the impact of climate change and trade policies on farming.

The current Farm Bill expires Sept. 30.

Teske says the proposed Farm Bill as it stands now does not fix the farm economy problem, or provide enough help for struggling farmers.

“We need an effective Farm Bill that addresses that,” he says.

Teske owns and operates a farm near Wheaton in Pottawatomie County as a 5th-generation farmer. His farm is about two-thirds grass and one-third crops.

More than 250 farmers, ranchers, fishermen and rural residents from across the U.S. are expected to take part in the fly-in.

They will receive briefings from U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, White House officials, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture leadership and staff.

“I’ve done a lot of fly-ins and taken a lot of teams out there, and I don’t know that I’ve ever heard from anyone that they thought the trip wasn’t worth their effort and that they didn’t learn as much from it as they helped,” Teske says.

Kansas Farmers Union is the state’s oldest active general farm organization working to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. It has about 3,500 members.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.