Tracey Mann made a stop at a Reno County farm Friday. Speaking to farmers comes naturally to Mann, having grown up on a conventional farm in Quinter.

Farmers from Reno County were eager to hear from Mann on July 24. They asked questions from trade to COVID-19 to education. But most of all, they wanted to hear Mann’s views on agriculture.

The former Kansas Lt. Governor hopes to represent the state’s 1st District in Congress next year. Mann’s roots go back to western Kansas, although he spent the last 12 years in Salina.

Holding a degree in agricultural economics from Kansas State University, with a career in both politics and real estate, Mann said he feels prepared to represent one of the largest congressional districts in the nation.

The current representative of the 1st Congressional District is Republican Roger Marshall, who has entered the race for the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Pat Roberts.

Other candidates in the Republican primary for the Big First district include Bill Clifford, Jerry Molstad and Michael Soetaert. Democratic primary candidates are Kali Barnett and Christy Davis.

The small gathering of farmers and ranchers took place at Reno County Farm Bureau president Cameron Peirce’s farm. The Reno County Farm Bureau, along with other county farm bureaus throughout Kansas, recommended Mann be the endorsed candidate for Congress in District 1.

"I’d like to learn more about the candidates," said former county commissioner James Schlickau of Haven. Schlickau said he had heard that Mann was strong for both agriculture and rural life.

Mann said he always keeps informed about agriculture. His brother has taken over the family farm and several of his relatives are in agriculture.

"I’ve seen firsthand the struggles of family farms and farms across Kansas," Mann told the group. "I’m running because I want to stand up for agriculture and our conservative values."

Mann said one of his top priorities is free trade and commodity prices. He is also focused on access to insurance and broadband service. Origin of meat labeling as a voluntary measure is also a an issue for Mann.

Because of COVID-19, the supply chain is not working at its full capacity, Mann said. More meat is being purchased by consumers, who more frequently use chopped meat, while restaurants purchase higher end cuts.

"We’ve got to open restaurants," Mann said. "Twenty-five percent of beef is processed in the Big First."

Mann said much of the Big First is tied to agriculture, and he wants to make sure the farmers and ranchers in Kansas are represented by a strong advocate in Washington.