Cooperative retires nearly half-million dollars to producers

Farmers Co-op Equity Company returned nearly a half-million dollars to local producers on its 2017 stock retirement program.

The cooperative, located in south-central Kansas with elevators and operations in Barber, Pratt and Kingman counties, has returned to eligible producers who have reached age 66 and age 80 all stock over $500,000. This includes payments made to estates and producers who no longer farm in the trade area.

Charlie Swayze, general manager of the cooperative headquartered in Isabel, announced that total payments are over $5.8 million since the program began in 1977.

Regional Farmers’ Market Workshops set for February

MANHATTAN – The Kansas Department of Agriculture, K-State Research and Extension and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will host five regional workshops in February to assist farmers’ market vendors and managers, including sessions in Great Bend and Wichita.

“Farmers’ markets provide growers a chance to tell their farm’s story, with face-to-face interaction with consumers,” said Londa Nwadike, consumer food safety specialist with K-State Research and Extension and the University of Missouri. “But there are also legal, safety and financial parameters that farmers need to understand before choosing to sell at a farmers’ market.”

The Great Bend workshop will be Feb. 2 at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 2701 24th Street, and the Wichita event Feb. 3 at Sedgwick County Extension Office, 7001 W 21st St. N

Registration forms can found online at or at local extension offices.

Great Bend Onsite registration opens at 8:30 a.m., the workshop begins at 9 a.m. and will conclude by 3 p.m. The Wichita workshop starts 15 minutes earlier and concludes by 4:15 p.m.

Registration is $20 and includes lunch for those who register by Jan. 22.

Workshop topics vary by location, but at Great Bend, will include: Marketing and Pricing Tips; Growing in High Tunnels 101; Regulations on Selling Meat, Eggs and Poultry Direct to Consumer; SNAP Program and Sales Tax for Vendors; Vendor Marketing and Communications; Food Safety Inspection Requirements; and Kansas Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Certified Farmer Training.

KDA’s weights and measures program will also offer free scale testing and certification at the workshop for attendees.

Also, farmers’ market vendors and managers are encouraged to attend the 2018 From the Land of Kansas Annual Meeting and Farmers’ Market Conference on March 1 and 2 in Manhattan. Registration is open at and will close Feb. 19, 2018.

For more information, contact Lexi Wright at 785-564-6755 or

New vice president named at Garden City Co-op

GARDEN CITY – Grain Merchandiser Chris Wagner has been selected Vice President of Grain for the Garden City Co-op, filling the role of former V.P. Ken Jameson, who retired Friday.

Jameson has been with the Garden City Co-op for 45 years – the last 30 as vice president of grain. He succeeded previous V.P, Sherman Baird, who was Wagner’s grandfather. Baird served with the co-op from 1964 to1987.

”We have been blessed as a company to have such a strong leadership and longevity from Ken and Sherman before him,” said GCC GM, John McClelland, noting this is only the third person in the position in 54 years.

Wagner brings a lot of experience in elevator management as well as advanced grain marketing education through FC Stone, not to mention learning from and working side-by-side the past 11 years with Jameson.

Wagner grew up in the Garden City area. He graduated from Chadron State College in Nebraska with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Minor in Finance.

Wagner began his career at the Co-op in 2007 as an elevator manager. His other roles have included grain accountant and Ulysses area manager.

Wagner completed his Master of Agribusiness at Kansas State University in 2013. He also represents the Garden City Co-op on the board of Windriver Grain LLC.

Water Technology Expo Jan. 11

GARDEN CITY – Farmers and ranchers in southwest Kansas who are eager to learn more about improving water management through technology, soil moisture monitoring, crop selection and other tools are invited to attend the Winter Water Technology Expo Jan. 11 in Garden City.

The Expo, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Clarion Inn, 1911 E. Kansas Ave. in Garden City, will feature a wide variety of companies and organizations focused on water technology issues and opportunities.

Attendees will be eligible for door prizes, including two Phytech systems, corn or bean seed from Hefty Seed Company, corn seed and grain sorghum from Allied Genetics, corn and Alta Sorghum seed from Sterling Seed, and corn seed from Hoegemeyer Hybrids.

Heavy hors-d'oeuvres and Kansas beer and distillery beverages will be provided throughout the evening. The Winter Water Technology Expo is free and open to the public, but participants are encouraged to RSVP to to assist in having adequate refreshments.

For more information, go to

KDA to Host Emergency Response Training Workshop in Wichita

MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Agriculture will host a one-day emergency response training workshop Jan. 11 in Wichita for individuals who are interested in participating in the Kansas Agriculture Emergency Response Corps.

The workshop will walk through an emergency response orientation for volunteers who would like to participate in the new response corps program.

The workshop will be at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 7001 W. 21st St. N., from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and lunch will be provided to those who RSVP.

It will include completion of some FEMA training courses related to incident management. There is no cost for the workshop, and it is open to anyone interested in learning more about responding to agricultural incidents; you do not have to be signed up for the volunteer corps already, but participants will receive more detailed information about the program.

The agriculture emergency response corps began in 2017 as a comprehensive volunteer corps to address agriculture emergency response. It is made up of volunteers representing a broad range of skills who will be trained and prepared to respond rapidly and efficiently to an agricultural emergency.

Additional training workshops will be offered in other regions of the state throughout 2018.

For more information visit or contact David Hogg, KDA assistant emergency management coordinator, at 785-564-7468 or

Wichita County 4-H, FFA, and Tyler M. Graff Memorial Park receive donations

LEOTI – Three Wichita County entities – Wichita County 4-H, Wichita County High School FFA, and the Tyler M. Graff Memorial Park – are each recipients of $100 donations as the result of a local fundraiser.

The donations were from proceeds of the “Empower & Encourage” event featuring Chef Ali Winter and Debbie Lyons-Blythe held in October.

The Western Kansas Dietetic Association and the Wichita County Farm Bureau Board, along with Scott County Farm Bureau and their state-level organizations teamed up to organize the event.

The events goal was not only to “empower and encourage farmers, ranchers, and consumers to connect around the dinner table of today,” but also to give back to their local communities who are raising future farm leaders.

Each of the recipients has a commitment to raising youth to be engaged community leaders and a connection to the future of farming.

Senator Roberts applauds Farm Service Agency State Committee appointees

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s appointment of five Kansans to the USDA’s Farm Service Agency State Committee.

State committees are responsible for carrying out FSA’s farm programs within delegated authorities.

The five nominees are: Committee Chair Garrett Love of Gray County, Lexy Goyer of Cowley County, Nick Gutterman of Miami/Johnson County, Michael Jordan of Mitchell County, and Greg McCurry of Sedgwick County.

“I’m proud to have recommended these five individuals to Secretary Perdue, and I know they will serve our farmers and ranchers well in this capacity,” said Roberts.

The State Committee members oversee the activities of the State FSA Agency, including carrying out the state agricultural conservation programs, resolving appeals from the agriculture community, and helping to keep producers informed about FSA programs. State committees are appointed for a one year term, which began Jan. 1. Each state committee has five members, one chairperson and four members.

Grazers call Monday

Join other grazers from across the state of Kansas in a telephone conversation with grazing management experts Dale Kirkham, Gary Kilgore and Keith Harmoney from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Monday.

Hosted by the Kansas Rural Center, these informal discussions cover all aspects of grazing management. The calls, held the second Monday of each month, are an opportunity to learn how to use complementary forages to extend the grazing season, gain management tips and explore ideas to improve profitability while you responsibly manage natural resources.

To participate dial: 1-877-304-5632, enter: 300 346 2424#

The call is toll free. Participants are welcome to leave or join the call at any time.