Agriculture is a staple to the Kansas economy, and endorsements for federal congressional candidates from agricultural organizations help some Kansans decide who to vote for.
Both the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Livestock Association pledged their support for U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, who won the state’s U.S. Senate primary on Aug. 4. Marshall, whose grandparents were farmers in Butler County, served on the agriculture committee in Congress. Before becoming a physician, he worked with cattle.
"Agriculture is the number one industry in Kansas," said Matt Teagarden, CEO of KLA. "It is vitally important that we have members in Congress that understand the importance of agriculture and understand agriculture. Dr. Marshall is both. This enables him to be a better advocate for Kansas, and specifically for Kansas farmers and ranchers."
With more than 87% of the land in Kansas being devoted to agriculture, this industry makes up more than 40% of the Kansas economy.
U.S. House of Representatives
KLA and KFB also endorsed incumbent Rep. Ron Estes in Kansas’ 4th U.S. House District. He represents 17 counties. Estes was involved in farming while growing up in Osage County.
The formal endorsement for KFB came from Kansas Farm Bureau’s Political Action Committee, Voters Organized to Elect Farm Bureau Friends, which is comprised of active farmer/rancher members elected by their peers from each of KFB’s 10 geographic districts.
In addition to Estes, KFB endorsed Tracey Mann, who was raised on a farm in western Kansas and is running for the 1st District Kansas seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing 63 counties, along with Jake LaTurner, who is running for the 2nd District Kansas seat in the U.S. House, representing 25 counties.
Neither KLA nor KFB endorsed a candidate in the 3rd district, but both organizations hope to recommend a candidate before the general election.
"It’s important to preserve the agricultural base that we have in Kansas," said Richard Felts, a Montgomery County farmer who serves as president of Kansas Farm Bureau. "We need to have candidates that want to refrain from burdensome regulations."