Since 1919, Farm Bureau members in Kansas have shown true commitment to Kansas agriculture by furthering the mission of Kansas Farm Bureau and protecting the livelihood and future of farming through advocacy, education and service.
For its first annual meeting, 38 counties sent delegates to Manhattan to create the organization we know today. Kansas Farm Bureau was founded to promote the development of the most profitable and permanent system of agriculture; the most wholesome and satisfactory living conditions; the highest ideals in home and community life; and a general interest in the farming business and rural life.
It’s been 100 years since that first meeting of Farm Bureau members in Kansas, and we just finished our centennial annual meeting – a prestigious moment that encompasses leadership, strength, resiliency, growth and change.
One of those changes on which we still hang our hat is the success of the constitutional amendment for use-value appraisal. Basing taxes on the income-producing ability of ag land instead of market value protects farmers from tax burdens they would not be able to carry. In turn, we’re protected to continue farming the land. Members of this organization made this positive change happen through advocacy – by forging relationships with our lawmakers and standing together.
And again, in September of 2000, our members stepped up and showed up when Kansas Farm Bureau led an organized opposition to an Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would have regulated more than 1,400 streams on private land. More than 1,600 Kansas farmers and ranchers attended the hearings in Dodge City and Topeka. We are proud of this effort by our members – and it’s a perfect example that, as farmers and ranchers, we are stronger together than we are alone.
In 2017, members who participated in KFB’s Leaders Engaged and Acting in D.C., or the LEADs trip, visited with the Federal Communications Commission. This is where the idea of participating in the Mobility Fund Phase II Challenge emerged. KFB received a waiver from the FCC to participate in the Challenge. The MF-II is a fund of $4.53 billion that supports the establishment and preservation of reliable mobile voice and broadband coverage primarily in rural America. After seeing the coverage maps provided to the FCC by the telecommunications providers themselves, KFB and its members knew we had to engage in this matter to help prove the inaccuracies of these maps by demonstrating the unreliable coverage in Kansas.
More than 400 volunteers engaged and effectively crowdsourced wireless broadband shortcomings in more than 2,000 Kansas locations.
Because of this effort, KFB is recognized as a leader in the state in advocating for better broadband coverage for farmer and rancher members and for rural communities.
Kansas Farm Bureau will continue to stand up for the policies our members want and need. We encourage our members to contact legislators, keep learning, keep thinking about the next generation and to continue the tradition of positive change.
Just as the 100 years before, I know Kansas Farm Bureau will be thriving throughout the next 100 years, making changes our members need in order to continue farming and ranching for generations to come.
Join me in celebrating our centennial celebration throughout the 2019 year with events near you. To see more about our centennial, visit www.kfb100years.com.