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Farm Bureau tours western Kansas farms, ranches

Special to The Hays Daily News

MANHATTAN -- Kansas Farm Bureau's 37th Governor's Farm and Ranch Tour featured western Kansas on Wednesday with stops in Scott, Lane, Ness and Rush counties.

Since 1975, the state's largest farm organization has been proud to sponsor the tour. It gives our state's governor, lawmakers, cabinet secretaries and staff a hands-on opportunity to see and experience Kansas agriculture, meet farmers and ranchers on their own operations, and discuss policy issues.

At the Farris farm in Lane County, Gov. Sam Brownback saw demonstrations of the benefits of no-till farming. Until some recent rains, the area has suffered one of the worst droughts in decades, and the benefits of moisture retention and promotion of root growth were evident in soil samples from area no-till farms.

In Ness County, Brownback visited the Vogel farm to talk with young producers about the challenges of entering the profession and hear their concerns about taxes, health care and schools.

The Brady farm in Rush County was the setting for a discussion of opportunities for expansion of Kansas agriculture and how it could impact rural populations. 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."