Category Archives: Business

Governor recognizes Home Town Health Care as regional Award of Excellence winner

LYNDON, Kan. – The governor has recognized a southeast Kansas business that serves Osage County for helping to keep the state strong.

Home Town Health Care, which has an office in Lyndon, Kan., was recognized by Governor Brownback as one 68 businesses statewide nominated for the 2017 Governor’s Award of Excellence. Companies are nominated in one of four categories, including manufacturing/distribution, service, retail and hospital/non-profit.

Home Town Health Care’s home office is at Fredonia, Kan., with locations in Lyndon, Emporia, Sedan, Oswego and Independence, Kan., serving 27 counties. The company is an in-home service provider offering home care, homemaker services, home health services, and hospice services.

The Governor’s Award of Excellence honors Kansas companies that have positively impacted their communities and local workforce, and recognizes that Kansas businesses continue to be the foundation of the economy, communities, and overall quality of life.

Winners are selected by reviewing employee training and retention programs, expansion projects and capital investments, economic development in the state, woman or minority ownership, leadership program participation, and school and community involvement through volunteer efforts and sponsorship.

Home Town Health Care was one of 19 regional winners, representing southeast Kansas along with Coffey Health System and Systech Environmental Corp.

ORBIS Corporation leads the way in manufacturing excellence

Local packaging company makes investments in equipment, training

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. – ORBIS Corporation, operating a local manufacturing plant in Osage City, Kansas, is the North American leader in plastic reusable packaging. It serves the food, beverage, retail and automotive industries with reusable totes, custom dunnage, pallets and bulk containers. ORBIS is privately owned by Menasha Corporation and has 11 manufacturing plants across North America.

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Portion of new equipment being delivered to ORBIS Corporation’s Osage City plant in April.

ORBIS employs 70 people from the local Osage City area and recently invested in new presses, technology and automation to gain processing efficiency and additional manufacturing flexibility to better serve its customers. At this facility, hand-held totes, trays and bins are manufactured for use in the food, beverage and retail industries.

As the leader in plastic reusable packaging manufacturing, ORBIS offers a variety of technical jobs at the Osage City plant in tooling, press operations, process technicians and quality assurance.

“We also recently upgraded our training program to include extensive, ongoing technical and operational education. I am confident that these programs will provide our employees with growth opportunities,” said Doug Miller, regional manufacturing director for ORBIS.

As part of Menasha Corporation, ORBIS offers very competitive compensation and benefits to attract potential employees from the community.

According to Todd Mathes, vice president of manufacturing for ORBIS, “At all of our plants, employees have the opportunity to bring innovation and new ideas to plant processes and technologies. Our employees want to grow, learn new skills and have an impact on this business.”

Frontier Extension schedules tractor and farm safety class in time for spring planting

fordtractorROP2With Frontier Extension District’s tractor safety class coming up on May 26, 2017, any interested 14 and 15-year-olds are urged to sign up soon. Preregistration is requested by May 19 for the Hazardous Occupation Training, which is required for 14 and 15-year-old youth who want to operate farm tractors on farms other than for their parents.

The class will meet 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, May 26, at the Pomona Community Center, Pomona. The driving and written test will be given off site at a local producer’s farm. Youth will be transported by the instructors to the farm and back to the Pomona Community Center. There will be a small registration fee of $6.00 to cover class materials.

Preregistration is required by calling one of the Frontier Extension District offices, Lyndon at 785-828-4438; Ottawa at 785-229-3520; Garnett at 785-448-6826 or by emailing the agents Rod Schaub, [email protected], Darren Hibdon, [email protected], or Shannon Blocker, [email protected] by Friday, May 19

The only time a 14 or 15-year-old would be exempt from needing this training would be if he or she works for their parents on the family farm. The training is required, however, if the family’s farm is a partnership, incorporated, or the youth is working on a grandparent’s farm. The training is also required if youth are planning to use lawn mowers or tractors larger than 20 horsepower.

Participants are required to pick up tractor safety materials from an Extension office and to have read the materials prior to the start of the class.

Farmwife’s heartfelt era climaxing with sale of Burlingame bridal shop

After 46 years, Audra Wilson is closing her Audra’s Country Bridal, now in Burlingame, after being in three Topeka locations.

This farmer’s wife has fashioned, stitched and sold wedding gowns around the world.

“I always loved to sew, and my bridal business just grew from that, really,” said Audra Wilson.

Eldon and Audra Wilson operated a grade-A dairy at Harveyville, in Wabaunsee County, Kan., for many years. “That’s a long ways from a bridal shop,” she admitted.

“I sewed for my family, made my daughters’ wedding gowns, costumes for programs,” reflected Audra, mother of three girls and two sons.

“I never had any sewing lessons, just learned from my mother and grandmother,” she noted

From meager beginning with this farmwoman’s creative personal touch, Audra’s Country Bridal has thrived. Thousands of brides, entire wedding parties worldwide have appreciated Audra’s loving assistance.

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Well past retirement age for most, Audra Wilson, with a lifelong love for sewing, designing and creating, has remained active in operation of Audra’s Country Bridal. On numerous occasions, brides have come to Audra’s for wedding gowns because their mom and grandmother got dresses there.

After 46 years, Audra’s Country Bridal, now right on the old Santa Fe Trail, in Burlingame, Kan., is closing. An internet auction of all remaining bridal and formal outfits, accessories and fixtures is being conducted by Webb & Associates Auctions & Appraisals.

“It’s difficult, but the time has come,” Audra conceded.

It was while working at Topeka K-Mart, assisting brides with selections and fittings that Audra’s brainchild began.

“The store manager said I needed to open a bridal shop, and it just zoomed,” Audra admitted. “Brides would come in, describe or show a picture of what they wanted. I’d sketch it, and make the gown.”

With Audra’s unique innovations and designs, “The business just mushroomed all over the world,” she humbly recognized. First at Fairlawn Plaza, in Topeka, Audra’s moved to 21st and Gage, then Holiday Square, and has been in Burlingame four years.

Avian influenza confirmed near Mississippi flyway; poultry specialist urges vigilance

By Mary Lou Peter

MANHATTAN, Kan. – With several cases of avian influenza confirmed in four states near the Mississippi flyway, Kansas State University’s Scott Beyer is urging Kansas poultry producers to be vigilant and take precautions.

Avian influenza has been confirmed in poultry flocks in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia, plus on a turkey farm in Wisconsin.

Beyer, a poultry specialist with K-State Research and Extension, said he’s been fielding calls from Kansas producers regarding what to watch for and steps they can take to keep their flocks safe.

No avian flu outbreaks have been reported in Kansas so far this year. The outbreaks in the states affected have resulted in the euthanasia of more than 200,000 birds in efforts to keep the virus from spreading.

Avian influenza outbreaks have occurred in both commercial and backyard poultry flocks, he said, mostly near the Mississippi flyway as wild migratory waterfowl return to summer loafing areas in the north. Commercial flocks have implemented tight biosecurity programs, but there are risks that owners of small flocks should recognize because most are kept free range.

MdCV FFA celebrates National Ag Day with appreciation dinner

Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA members recently offered appreciation to the local agriculture industry by hosting a free dinner at the school.

By Danny Rice
MdCV FFA Adviser

The Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA Chapter hosted its annual Ag Producers Appreciation Dinner Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at the Marais des Cygnes Valley High School. The annual event was co-sponsored by the Osage County Farm Bureau and held in celebration of the National Agriculture Month.

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Fred Diver talks about the KARL program.

The evening began with pulled pork, cheese potatoes and cole slaw with coffee or tea. The meal was provided by the Osage County Farm Bureau, prepared by Santa Fe Trail Meats, Overbrook, and served by MdCV FFA members.

The event also featured speakers Edie Doane, Kansas Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers; Willie Prescott, Osage County policy chair; and Fred Diver, Osage County Farm Bureau board member, speaking on the KARL program.

We should all be appreciative of everyone that is involved in producing, marketing, researching and developing products for our food and fiber industry. This includes the farmer, rancher, agriculture businesses, extension service, research and development, financial institutions, and organizations that support agriculture.

We are looking forward to another event next year and another opportunity to say thank you to those involved in agriculture.

New family salon opens in Lyndon

030917-hair2dye4City officials, friends, family members and well-wishers recently gathered at Hair2Dye4 at Lyndon to celebrate the opening of the new business operated by Jenae Schmidt. The full service salon welcomes men, women and children for haircuts and styling, along with offering a variety of cosmetic and beauty services. The salon is at 511 Topeka Ave., Lyndon. For more information or to make an appointment, call Schmidt at 785-633-1401.

Chamber Chatter: Themes selected for Osage City’s 2017 parades

By Jeanette Swarts, Executive Director
Osage City Chamber of Commerce

Themes have been selected for this year’s parades hosted by the Osage City Chamber of Commerce. The 2017 Osage County Fair Parade, which will be Thursday, June 29, 2017, will have the theme “Summertime Fun”, and the theme for Christmas on Market Street event and lighted parade, on Nov. 25, 2017, will be “Treasured Memories”.

Diane Michael, parade chairman is busy confirming entries for the fair parade. She is creating some new and innovative concepts for the parades this year and is looking forward to having great events for the community to enjoy. A golf cart and ATV class will be continued from the Christmas parade. Diane will provide information regarding the parade, and a parade form will be available soon to submit an entry for the parade. The Chamber of Commerce will be offering $350 in cash prizes for four places of float entries and $60 in cash prizes for three places of golf cart and ATV entries. Contact Michael at 785-608-2277 if you have any questions or comments regarding the event.

Chamber of Commerce membership drive continues

The Chamber’s annual membership drive is continuing and if you have not yet joined, please consider the opportunities to grow your business and connect with the community and send in your membership now. We would also like to encourage existing members to invite potential new members. Membership investment form: For more information about becoming a member or renewing your membership, email [email protected], visit our website www.osagecitychamber.com, or call 785-219-2510.

Health advisory, safety tips issued during Flint Hills burning season

Smoke modeling tool active March 1

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is reminding Kansans that March and April are a time when large areas of the state’s rangeland is burned. These burns help preserve the prairie, control invasive species such as eastern red cedar and sumac, and provide better forage for cattle. Prescribed burning minimizes risk of wildfires and is effective in managing rangeland resources. Smoke from the burns can influence the air quality of downwind areas. The use of smoke management techniques is vital to reduce impacts.

KDHE will activate the Kansas smoke modeling tool on March 1, prior to widespread burning in the Flint Hills. On average there are approximately 2.3 million acres burned in the Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma each year.

For burns to be safe and effective, weather and rangeland conditions must be ideal. Many landowners will burn at the same time when such conditions are met. Air pollutants from the burns can affect persons in the Flint Hills and can be carried long distances to more populated areas.

‘Neutral spring’ weather forecast for planting

Above normal summer moisture possible

Six more weeks of winter were forecast to come after the groundhog saw his shadow on Feb. 2, 2017.

“Will that be winter weather like we had in December, or winter weather like in January?” asked Mary Knapp, assistant state climatologist from Kansas State University.

“I’m not certain, but my accuracy will probably be about as accurate as Phil Sowerby in Pennsylvania,” Knapp said in opening her weather update at a Farm Profit Conference in Hillsboro.

Current drought monitor indicates the state is abnormally dry in southeast Kansas, with moderate drought in southwest Kansas. Eastern Oklahoma is in severe to extreme drought.

Information is gathered from several sources including the National Weather Service, United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere

January precipitation was higher than normal in south central Kansas, but only slightly above normal in the eastern one-third of the state.

There was only a small amount of moisture in the southern one-third of the state, with northeast Kansas receiving about two inches of precipitation. Snow produced between four and eight inches of precipitation in the western one fourth of Kansas.

January temperatures for the south one-third of the state averaged 35 to 40 degrees, while the northwest two-thirds of Kansas were 28 to 34 degrees.

Statewide average January temperatures brought four-inch soil temperatures up to average about 36 degrees, with warmest temperatures in the southeast corner of the state at 43 degrees.

Extension service schedules grazing risk management workshop

Availability of forage and the risk of drought are always in the back of producers’ minds as they consider their grazing and forage plans for the coming year. With 18 million acres devoted to pasture and perennial forages across Kansas, livestock producers take plenty of risks as they aim for both profitability and for maintaining the long‐term productivity of their grazing and haying lands.

In preparation for the 2017 grazing season, K‐State Research and Extension is providing a series of workshops across Kansas to discuss range management concepts and risk management strategies. These events are supported through grant funding provided by USDA’s Risk Management Agency and its Risk Management Education Partnerships Program.

One of these workshops will be held at 7 p.m. March 8, 2017, at the Williamsburg Community Building, 126 W. Williams, Williamsburg, Kan. The program should run about 2 1/2 hours.

Speaking at the program will be Dr. Walter Fick, professor in Kansas State University Department of Agronomy, and specialist in range management. Fick will discuss stocking rates, a variety of grazing configurations, and monitoring rainfall and forage productivity. Understanding the relationships between timing of rainfall, pasture composition (warm‐season vs. cool‐season), and forage output are keys to making grazing management decisions through the season. Fick will also discuss development of a drought plan, culling and stocking adjustments, and other management practices that alleviate the impact of drought on pasture’s long‐run productivity.

Learn current outlook for agriculture at Overbrook farm profit conference

It’s the Holaday and Holiday Show.

Readily that could be the most accurate synopsis for the program at the WIBW Radio Farm Profit Conference set Thursday evening, Feb. 23, at Overbrook. Coordinated by Kelly Lenz, longtime WIBW farm director, the fun educational evening is free to farmers and ranchers throughout the Midwest. In cooperation with the Frontier Extension District, the seminar is set for the Grace Community Church, 310 E. Eighth St., Overbrook.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., so farmers and ranchers can view the nearly two dozen displays of WIBW advertising sponsors for the evening’s sessions.

The complimentary supper serving begins at 6 p.m., and speakers take the podium with their educational presentations at 6:45.

Yep, two of the speakers are quite well-known to WIBW listeners, and difficult to keep spelling of their names straight and accurate. Darrell Holaday is a regular market analyst on the morning Ag Roundup Show, and weatherman Dan Holiday is on the air all day long with the most updated weather forecast.

Finances are essential for agriculture productivity today, and that’ll be the presentation for the third panelist, Clarke Jackman.

January precipitation in Kansas ranked No. 7 in 123 years of records, but state still dry

Abnormally dry to severe drought conditions prevail in many counties

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A winter storm that brought ice and snow to parts of Kansas in mid-January pushed the statewide average precipitation to 1.60 inches, more than double the normal amount for the month, but did little to relieve extremely dry conditions in all but the state’s midsection.

020817-droughtke2The month ranked as the seventh-wettest January in the 123 years statewide records have been kept, said assistant state climatologist Mary Knapp, but the U.S. Drought Monitor, released Jan. 31, 2017, showed the bulk of Kansas counties in abnormally dry to severe drought conditions. That was not unexpected, because January tends to be the driest month of the year. So, even with above-normal precipitation, western Kansas and the state’s more eastern counties saw little relief. The central part of the state received closer-to-normal precipitation during the fall months, which has kept it in better conditions.

Higher than normal temperatures returned in January, with the statewide average at 39.9 degrees F – which is 2 degrees warmer than normal – said Knapp, who is based at the state’s Weather Data Library at Kansas State University. That made it the 35th-warmest since 1896. A total of 23 record-high maximum temperatures were set across the state while 68 record-high minimum temperatures were set during the month. The highest temperature reported was 78 degrees at Pratt, Kan., on Jan. 31, 2017.

Ag agencies offer prescribed burn workshop at Ottawa

030216-range-fire-KDHEBurning of native grasses in our area goes back hundreds of years and is responsible for the development of the grassy Great Plains. A meeting to discuss the reasons to burn, how to plan and conduct a prescribed burn, and how to be safe while burning will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 22, 2017, at Celebration Hall, at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, Ottawa. Reservations are required by Feb. 17. The first 30 people to register will be admitted free of charge, others will be charged $10 for reference materials.

To register, call Keri Harris, Franklin County Conservation District manager, at 785-241-7201, or Rod Schaub, Frontier District Extension agent, at 785-828-4438. A chili lunch will be available; donations to cover meal costs will be accepted. The workshop is hosted by Frontier Extension District and Franklin County Conservation District.

Conservation district recognizes award winners, student artists and poets

A large crowd filled the cafeteria at Osage City High School Monday evening, gathered for the annual meeting of the Osage County Conservation District. As part of the evening’s recognitions, local student poster and limerick contest winners received their awards.

Chamber Chatter: 2016 year in review

By Jeanette Swarts, Executive Director
Osage City Chamber of Commerce

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce had a busy year welcoming new businesses to the community. Ribbon cuttings were held at AG Choice, Keepsake Jewelry, Auburn Pharmacy, Osage City Library’s new addition, Designs by Diane, Higher Power Health and Yoga, McCoy’s Steren Electronics, and That Other Place.

After Hour Mixers

Throughout the year, a few of the Osage City Chamber of Commerce members hosted an After Hours Mixer showcasing their business. Members enjoyed the hospitality of Edward Jones Investments, Lusk Properties, COF Training Services, H and H Appraisal, and Flint Hills Beverage.

Kansas Sampler Festival

The 27th annual Kansas Sampler Festival was held in Winfield on May 7-8, 2016. It was the next to last year that the festival will be in existence with the 28th and final year to be held in Winfield again next year.

Chamber Scholarships

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce were pleased to announce Kailyn Robert and Joseph Schemm were the 2016 recipients of our $250 scholarship. Kailyn, daughter of Michelle and Quintin Robert, will be attending Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, and Joseph, son of Cheryl and Douglas Schemm, will be attending Kansas State University in the fall. The revenue from the $5 that sellers pay to be listed on the maps for the spring and fall garage sales goes directly for these two scholarships.

Osage County Fair

The Osage County Fair Board worked very diligently to have the 2016 Osage County Fair be one of the best fairs so far.

Richmond to serve as Frontier Extension District nutrition, food safety and health agent

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Chelsea Richmond

Chelsea Richmond will begin serving as the Frontier Extension District nutrition, food safety and health agent, effective Jan. 29, 2017.

Working out of Frontier Extension District’s Garnett office, 411 S. Oak, Richmond will provide leadership in Anderson, Franklin and Osage County communities by developing and delivering educational programming to support successful families and the systems that serve them in communities. Programming may include nutrition through the life cycle, nutrition of low-income audiences, food security, food safety, physical activity promotion, and chronic disease prevention.

Richmond most recently worked as the family and consumer sciences Extension agent in the Flint Hills Extension District, where she gave leadership to Walk Kansas, Walk Kansas for Kids, family nutrition, district nutrition and health programs.

She grew up in Osage County where she was actively involved in the 4-H and youth development program before earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in family studies and human services, both from Kansas State University.

Kansas Bankers Award Winners: Badgers work ‘to leave farm ground in better shape’

David and Karen Badger, 2016 Kansas Bankers Award Winners.

By Rod Schaub, Frontier Extension District

This year’s Osage County winner of the Kansas Bankers Soil Conservation Award is David Badger. The award is given annually to a farmer that has made outstanding progress protecting soil in their fields. David and his wife, Karen, farm with David’s brother, Keith and his wife, Martha, in the Carbondale area. Each brother has their own farm ground and ground they farm together. They also partner in their fall calving cow herd and farm machinery purchases.

David started farming at an early age by harvesting his first owned crops in 1972. David learned about the importance of soil conservation while farming with his grandfather, Glen L. Badger.  He remembers Glen telling him, “It’s important to leave the farm ground in better shape than when you started farming it.”

When David was asked what soil conservation meant to him, he replied, “It’s the continuation of the practices started by my grandfather, father and other landowners who have applied soil conserving practices to the land we now farm. It’s the practice of keeping the soil and the lifetime of investments we’ve put into it intact and productive. It also means finding new ways to do even better through technology or agronomic practices we don’t currently use.”

Soil conservation practices have changed over the years, according to David.  In the beginning, practices like building and maintaining terraces and waterways were the main ways of protecting the soil. As time passed, farmers have reduced the use of the plow, and now for the most part have eliminated tillage.  Now they have started leaving more and more residue on soil surface and this has led to less soil leaving the fields through wind or water.  Now, farmers like the Badgers are using options like cover crops, having a grazing plan, using no-till or strip-till, utilizing newer technologies like grid sampling, using variable rate fertilizer and lime applications, and variable rate seeding.

“I have reaped many benefits of the miles and miles of terraces and waterways my dad (Glen E. Badger) and grandfather (Glen L. Badger) built in the 1950s, 60s and 70s,” David said.

Living his dream, young Overbrook farmer earns recognition for his efforts

By Lori Kuykendall, Osage County Conservation District

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Osage County’s 2017 Young Farmer Award winner Erik Finch.

This year’s Osage County Young Farmer Award recipient is Erik Finch. Erik and his wife Amanda were married in 2008 and live north of Overbrook. Amanda is a registered nurse at St. Francis Health Center, in Topeka. She enjoys helping on the farm when she’s able.

Erik is a first generation farmer. Farming was the only career he thought about as a child. He has been fascinated with everything to do with agriculture since his earliest memory.

While in high school Erik had the opportunity to help a neighbor with a small cow calf herd. He started his own farming career with one heifer when he was 16. In the fall of 2007 he rented his first 50 acres and planted his first wheat crop.

His farming operation has expanded since then. He now has a small cow calf herd and grows corn, soybeans and wheat in southeastern Shawnee and northeastern Osage counties. Soil health is important to Erik. He is a no-till farmer and has seen the benefits the last three years with the heavy rainfall. The residue and standing cover help hold the soil. The residue also improves the soil structure which in turn promotes aeration, infiltration and percolation resulting in less runoff.

To improve the soil health even further he is interested in trying some cover crops in the near future. Cover crops not only help prevent soil erosion and improve soil health, they can also help suppress weeds and recycle needed nutrients.

Kid’s fascination with sale barn chant grows to Lyndon auctioneer’s hall of fame induction

Best thing for a dad is when a son follows him into his selected profession. Craig Wischropp, right, works beside dad Wayne Wischropp, who has been inducted into the 2017 Kansas Auctioneers Hall of Fame.

All he really ever wanted to be was an auctioneer.

Wayne Wischropp, of Lyndon, followed his early farm kid intuitive into professional life and is one of the best in the business. Verification came when Wischropp was inducted into the Kansas Auctioneers Hall of Fame Saturday evening, Jan. 21, 2017.

Qualifications and deserving of the recognition presented by the Kansas Auctioneers Association at the convention in Manhattan are obvious.

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Wayne Wischropp has been an auctioneer since before he was a teenager; his success has been acknowledged with induction into the Kansas Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.

But, Wischropp was taken by most apparent and appreciatively pleasant surprise when his childhood photo came on the screen announcing selection from voting by auction profession cohorts. The honor had been kept completely secret from him, and was even more special when two dozen family members came into convention hall joining applause of acknowledgement.

“It goes back to the mid-50s when I went to the Waverly Sale Barn every week with my dad. Somehow I knew then I wanted to be an auctioneer,” Wayne admitted.

Family members can remember Wayne selling dogs and cats to imaginary auction bidders in the backyard.

Osage County Agwire: Kaff elected to FSA county committee

County committee election results tallied

County committee elections are over, the ballots are counted and the results are in: Charles Kaff, of Carbondale, was elected to represent LAA1.

Elected county committee members serve a 3-year term and are responsible for making decisions on Farm Service Agency disaster, conservation, commodity, and price support programs, as well as other federal farm program issues.

County committee members are a valuable asset because they are comprised of local producers who participate in FSA programs themselves and have a direct connection to farmers and ranchers in the community. Recently elected county committee members took office on Jan. 12, 2017, and joined the existing committee.

For more information about county committees and the election process, contact the local FSA office at 785-828-4631, 115 W. 17th St., Lyndon, or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas