Mayfield joins Sunflower Electric

Sunflower electric has announced the hiring of Marc Mayfield as a relay technician in Garden City. He joined the company Monday. His duties will include installation, testing, inspection, calibration and repair of all system protection devices, transducers and equipment as related to Sunflowers and the members' electric transmission and distribution system.

Early registration for FSA programs recommended

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency is recommending advance registration for FSA programs this year. Producers are being encouraged to report farm records and business structure changes to a local FSA Service Center before April 15.

Enrollment for the disaster programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will begin by April 15.

"We expect significant interest in these programs," FSA Administrator Juan M. Garcia said. "Early registration should help improve the signup process and allow us to expedite implementation of the programs. I srongly encourage producers to complete their paperwork ahead of time."

Records may be updated during the business hours at FSA Service Centers that administer the county where the farm or ranch is located. producers can contact their local FSA Service Center in advance to find out what paperwork they may need. In addition, bank account information should be supplied or updated if necessary to ensure producers receive payments as quickly as possible through direct deposit.

Any farmer may report farm records and business structure changes, but it is particularly important for producers who suffered livestock, livestock grazing, honeybee, farm-raised fish, or tree/vine losses for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and may thus be eligible or assistance through a disaster program.

IRS seeks taxpayer advocate

The Internal Revenue service is seeking civic-minded volunteers from Kansas, and several other states, to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a federal advisory committee that listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns and makes recommendations for improving IRS services.

TAP provides a forum for taxpayers to raise concerns about IRS service and offer suggestions for improvement. The TAP reports annually to the Secretary of the Treasury, the IRS Commissioenr and the National Taxpayer Advocate. The office of the Taxpayer Advocate is an independent organization within the IRS providing oversight of the TAP.

In addition, the TAP is seeking at least one additional member to represent international taxpyers. For these purposes, "international taxpayers" are broadly defined to inclde U.S. citizens working, living or doing business abroad or in a U.S. territory. The new international member will not be required to attend any face-to-face meetings.

Members of TAP must be U.S. citizens and be current with their federa tax obligations. They must be able to commit 200 to 300 hours during the year, and pass an FBI criminal background check. TAP members will serve a three-year term, starting December 2014.

Applicants chosen as alternates will be considered for any vacancies that open in their areas during the next three years.

The committe is required to have a balanced membership in terms of points of view represented. Candidates from underrepresented grops and non-tax practitioners are encouraged to apply.

Rural opportunities meeting features development

DODGE CITY (AP) The Kansas Department of Commerce is holding a rural opportunities conference next month that will highlight rural business and development topics.

The conference takes place April 9 and 10 at the Magouirk Conference Center in Dodge City. The registration deadline is April 2.

Among the topics for speakers are options for financing local and state government, the state's water supply, and strategies to connect rural youths within communities.

Breakout sessions will also discuss funding diversity, closing the workforce housing gap and the economic impact of water in Kansas. One session focuses on attracting residents, workers and entrepreneurs to rural Kansas.

Union alleges Spirit used health info in firings

WICHITA (AP) The union at Spirit AeroSystems is accusing the Wichita aerospace company of laying off hundreds of workers last year because they were older and either they or a family member had a costly medical condition.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace made the allegations in filings Wednesday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by 10 former employees. The employees claim they were targeted after Spirit became a self-insured company.

The ex-workers also are asking the office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether the company unlawfully obtained their confidential medical information.

Spirit AeroSystems says the allegations are filled with distortions and misstatements. It says in a statement that personal health information is not used to make layoff decisions.