Category Archives: Business

FHTC offers new program opportunities for fall

Bret Pope, right, FHTC automotive instructor, assists a student with a repair during a class. Courtesy photo.

Flint Hills Technical College has a new program and extension campus available for the upcoming fall 2019 semester.

The new hospitality dietary management program will be available at the college’s main campus. The program offers a technical certificate option, and will be a combination of culinary basics and management paired with courses in healthcare including nutrition, growth and development, and gerontology.

Also new for 2019, FHTC will have an extension campus in Garnett, Kan., for automotive technology. Students taking the program at Garnett will have a technical certificate option with transferability to complete an associate of applied science degree on the Emporia campus. Bret Pope, current FHTC instructor with 20 years of educating experience, will be the instructor for the Garnett campus.

Income down 60 percent for Kansas farmers

Kansas farm income is one of the hardest hit in the nation. That’s according to David Widmar’s syndicated Agriculture Economic Insight. Those numbers were shared with House of Representative members by Majority Leader Don Hineman, Dighton cattleman serving the 118th District.

“I long for the good old days,” Hineman said.

“After peaking in 2013, U.S. net farm income has trended lower over the last five years,” Widmar said.

While national-level data are important and often cited, impacts of the farm economy slow-down have varied by commodity and geography. These data, however, are often a year behind with the most current state-level data for 2017. State-level net farm income average of 2016 and 2017 was compared to the boom era average of 2011 to 2013.

“At the national level, net farm income has declined 42 percent across these two periods,” Widmar said.

The Corn Belt and Northern Plains states have been hard-hit by falling farm income. Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana have experienced net farm income falling by nearly two-thirds. State-level farm income has fallen by more than 70 percent in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan.

“Kansas farm income was down 60 percent,” Widmar’s numbers showed.

Nebraska farm income was down 64 percent, while it was off 45 percent in Missouri. However, Colorado and Oklahoma each had farm income down 37 percent.

Speaker Pro Tem Finch announces staff for 2019 session

TOPEKA, Kan. – Speaker Pro Tem of the Kansas House Blaine Finch announced his staff for the upcoming legislative session. They include a newcomer to the statehouse and a veteran of several sessions.

Emily Graves, of Franklin County, will serve as chief of staff to the Speaker Pro Tem. Graves is new to the statehouse but not to politics. She is a former city commissioner in Ottawa, Kan., and has worked professionally in health care and most recently at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Graves is a graduate of Emporia State University and holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Baker University.

“Emily is going to be an outstanding addition to the leadership team,” said Finch, “As a former elected official she understands the demands placed on our caucus to have access to good information, to communicate clearly back home, and deliver outstanding service to the people of Kansas. Her skill set and work ethic will make her an invaluable resource to help our members meet those demands.”

Finch has tapped his veteran office assistant, Jane Clouse, to serve as the office manager for the Pro Tem’s Office. Clouse is a former Federal Department of Transportation employee, who has worked with Finch for the last three years.

Limericks and posters make kids dig deep into soil conservation

Winners of the Osage County Conservation District’s poster, essay and limerick contest were honored guests at the district’s annual meeting Jan. 28, 2019, when they received their awards.

Each year the Osage County Conservation District sponsors a poster, essay and limerick contest, with a different theme each year determined by the National Association of Conservation Districts. This year’s theme was “Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper”.

“Congratulations to all the winners,” said Lori Kuykendall, Osage County Conservation District manager. “We appreciate the teachers and students taking time to enter the contest.”

Information about the competition is given to the schools in late October, with entries due before Christmas break. A total of 350 entries were received. There were no essays submitted this year.

This year’s winners are:

Osage County’s 2018 Young Farmer: Balding recognized for hard work on the farm

Jace Balding: Young farmer of the year.

By Lori Kuykendall
Osage County Conservation District

This year’s Osage County Young Farmer awardee is Jace Balding, of rural Osage City. Balding grew up near Reading with his brother and two sisters. He got an early start with farming and ranching, with his father doing custom cattle work and managing grassland. His grandfather had some row crop land that Jace also helped with.

The first job on the farm Balding remembers doing is feeding cattle. “I have fed a lot of cattle!” he said.

Balding also ran the swather and rake as a kid. His dad did all the baling, though. Once, when he was 10 years old, he was allowed to run the combine.

“It was a lot of fun until my mom found out,” Balding said.

Balding was active in 4-H as a kid. The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills through hands on learning projects. Balding’s family had a sheep herd and bottle calves, and learned many life skills by caring for and showing these animals.

In 1999, when he was in high school, he went to work for Ron and Pat Fredrickson on the weekends and during the summer. In 2005, he earned his associate degree from Butler Community College in farm and ranch management. He went to work for the Fredricksons full time after his graduation. The Fredricksons were awarded the 1999 Banker Soil Conservation Award, 2010 Grassland Award, and the 2012 Banker Water Quality Award. Balding helped with a lot of the work that allowed them to receive those awards.

2018 Kansas Bankers Award: Pearson family dedicated to improving land, clean water

The Pearson family: 2018 Kansas Bankers Award winners for Osage County.

By Rod Schaub
Frontier Extension District Agent

Pearson Farms has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Kansas Bankers Association’s Soil Conservation Award, which recognizes farmers and ranchers that have improved their land through conservation practices that conserve their soil.

This year’s winners are Fred and Pat Pearson and their family, of Osage City. The family includes son Clark and his wife, Bobbi, and Max, their son; son Jim and his wife, Dawn, and their children, Paige and Peyton; and son Jeff, who is not involved in the farming operation.

The Pearson family has farmed in the Osage City area for more than 145 years. Fred’s great-grandfather settled northwest of Osage City in 1874. His first job after immigrating from Sweden was working in the coal mines, and soon afterwards he started farming. Paige, a senior at Kansas State University, and brother Peyton, a college freshman, plan to be the sixth generation of Pearsons to farm in Osage County.

Fred was born and raised on a farm near Miller. He attended Kansas State University from 1959 to 1963, where he studied ag education. He met Pat during college. Pat grew up on a farm near Manhattan.

“My father wanted someone in the family to farm, and he was pleased to find out that Fred and I planned to marry,” Pat said. Fred and Pat were married in 1963.

From 1963 to 1968, Fred taught vocational agriculture at Burlingame, and Pat taught grade school at Osage City. Pat retired from teaching to take care of her grandchildren and help as needed around the farm.

The first ground Fred and Pat bought was in 1966. The land was very poor and needed a lot of conservation work and trees and brush controlled. In 1966, Fred and his father, Earl, started the Miller Elevator. The elevator has grown over time and they currently have three locations, Miller, Hartford and Neosho Rapids. The young couple purchased 240 acres and moved to their current home in 1969.

The Pearson Family farm consists of crop farming, mainly corn, soybeans and wheat, the elevator business, and cattle, mainly stockers, and also a cowherd. All this takes coordination of effort and the family divides the work to get the job done. Jim and a hired man plant crops, run the combine, bale the hay, care for the cattle and repair fences. Clark works the elevator, keeps up on crop variety selections, herbicide and insecticide use, and does most of the crop scouting. Bobbi and Dawn have off the farm jobs to help supplement the family income. They both grew up on good family farms, understand farm life, and are a great help around the farm. Fred started slowing down in 2014 and now helps where needed.

Osage County producers elect Burkett to FSA county committee

LYNDON, Kan. – The Osage County USDA Farm Service Agency has announced that Frances Burkett, of Osage City, Kan., was elected to represent her local administrative area during the recent county committee election.

“County committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA,” said Rachel Parker, county executive director. “They help deliver programs at the county level and work to serve the needs of local producers.”

All recently elected county committee members will take office in January 2019 and will be joining the existing committee.

Every FSA office is served to by a county committee made up of local farmers, ranchers and foresters who are elected by local producers. Nearly 7,800 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members, who serve three-year terms of office. County committee members impact the administration of FSA within a community by applying their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, emergency programs and eligibility.

County committee members impact producers through their decision making and help shape the culture of a local FSA office. They also ensure the fair and equitable administration of FSA farm programs in their counties and are accountable to the Secretary of Agriculture. Members conduct hearings and reviews as requested by the state committee, ensure underserved farmers, ranchers and foresters are fairly represented, make recommendations to the state committee on existing programs, monitor changes in farm programs, and inform farmers of the purpose and provisions of FSA programs. They also assist with outreach and inform under served producers such as beginning farmers, ranchers and foresters, about FSA opportunities.

For more information, contact the Osage County FSA office at 785-828-4631.

Agwire: Election underway for the 2018 County Committee

An election for USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s Osage County Committee is underway. Every eligible producer is encouraged to participate in these elections because FSA county committees are a link between the agricultural community and USDA. The 2018 election in Osage County will be conducted for the representative of Local Administrative Area No. 2, the northwest corner of the county west of U.S. Highway 75, and north of 237th Street.

County committee members are a critical component of FSA operations. Committees should be comprised of members who reflect the diversity of producers involved in production agriculture in Osage County. This means that producers representing under served groups or communities should be on the committee to speak on behalf of their constituency.

Under served producers are beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers and land owners or operators who have limited resources. Other minority groups including Native American and Alaska Natives, persons under the poverty level, and persons that have disabilities are also considered under served.

County committee election ballots were to be mailed to eligible voters on Nov. 5, 2018. The last day to return completed ballots to the Osage County USDA service center is Dec. 3, 2018.

Extension schedules beef meeting to discuss winter feeding options, livestock theft

“Options for Feeding the Cowherd” and “Livestock Thefts in Kansas” will be the topics covered at a beef meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 27, 2018, at the Overbrook Livestock Commission Company, 305 W. First St., Overbrook, Kan.

This summer’s drought and the lateness of spring have left many producers short of hay for the winter feeding period. The hay shortage coupled with droughty pasture conditions has led to more corn being cut for silage than any time in the recent past. Questions have come up, like, “What’s the best way for me to feed my cows through the winter?” “Do I limit the time they can eat hay?” “Can I put them on grain?” and “How much silage should I feed?” Jaymelynn Farney, KSU beef systems specialist, will discuss these items and many more.

The second topic of the evening will be “Livestock Theft in Kansas.” Kendal Lothman, special agent with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office assigned to the Livestock and Brands Investigation Unit, will be on hand to discuss his role in livestock theft investigations. He will explain how he becomes involved in an investigation. He will also describe case trends, such as when most thefts are reported and how the cattle market affects his case load. Lothman will also give producers ideas of what they can do to reduce the risk of cattle theft.

Time will be allotted at the end of the presentations for questions. For more information about the meeting, call Rod Schaub, Frontier Extension District agent, at 785-828-4438, or email [email protected].

Meeting to explore potential benefits of local prescribed burn association

A meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 13, 2018, at the community building in Garnett to discuss the benefits that a local prescribed burn association could have in the community. Local producers are encouraged to attend the meeting and discuss the benefits of burning, the challenges of burning, and learn how a prescribed burn association can assist in conducting a safe prescribed burn.

Grasslands constitute significant economic, biological, recreational, and aesthetic resources of statewide importance. Fire is essential to the maintenance and improvement of a large percentage of these acres. There are many benefits to conducting prescribed burns on grasslands every three to five years, including invasive species management, wildlife habitat improvement and improved grassland health. Working together as a prescribed burn association, landowners can achieve more successful and safer burns.

According to the Kansas Prescribed Fire Council, more than 95 percent of burns conducted by trained and cooperating association members stay within designated boundaries and less than 1 percent require fire department assistance.

Prescribed fire is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health, and reduce wildfire risk. No other tool can so effectively remove the hazardous buildup of wild land fuels.

Land and water stewards sought for annual conservation awards

Tallgrass prairie in the Kansas Flint Hills. Photo USFWS.

The Kansas Conservation Awards Program, sponsored by the Kansas Bankers Association, will once again be held in Osage County. The KBA, K-State Research and Extension, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and Tourism have established six award categories, including energy conservation, water quality, water conservation, soil conservation, windbreaks and wildlife habitat.

The purpose of the program is to stimulate a greater interest in the conservation of agricultural and natural resources of Kansas. Each year more than 200 Kansas producers and landowners are recognized through this program. Nominations for these awards can be made by any person in the county. Information about these awards can be picked up at the local Extension office or by visiting the K-State Research and Extension website: www.agronomy.kstate.edu/extension.

Nomination forms are available at the Osage County Conservation District office or the Frontier Extension District office in Lyndon, the Bank of Burlingame or the Bank of Osage City. Or contact the Extension office at 785-828-4438 for a nomination form to be mailed to you. Nomination forms should be completed and returned to the Frontier Extension District, PO Box 400, Lyndon, KS 66451, by Oct. 31, 2018.

Upon receipt of the nomination forms, a committee chaired by Rod Schaub, Frontier Extension District agent, will select this year’s winners. Winners will be recognized at the Osage County Conservation District’s annual meeting.

Chamber Chatter: Beer aficionados invited to Septemberfest

By Jeanette Swarts
Osage City Chamber Executive Director

Osage City Chamber Festival of Beer Sept. 29

Come sample dozens of craft and import beers featuring several brewed right here in Kansas. Enjoy the music of The Bryton Stoll Band while satisfying your hunger from the Saucy Lady BBQ food truck.

There will be a raffle table with drawings for some awesome craft beer related items. Every taster will get a sample glass to take home. Event will be 4-7 p.m. Sept. 29, at the Osage City fairgrounds pavilion. Ticket sales benefit the Osage City Chamber of Commerce, which in turn benefits The Warmth Fund, ECAT, college scholarships for high school seniors, and the July 4 fireworks, among others.

Advance tickets are $25 with tickets at the gate $30. Tickets are available at Jerry’s Thriftway, Stark Car Wash, Bank of Osage City, all in Osage City, or Mulready’s Pub, Emporia, and online at brownpaperticket.com All attendees must be at least 21 years of age.

Chamber selects Shaffers’ lawn as Osage City yard of the month for September

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce has selected Robert and Cheryl Shaffer’s yard as the Osage City’s Yard of the Month for the month of September. With the assistance of Mother Nature providing the area some much needed rain, Robert and Cheryl’s yard in Osage City became green again along with their beautiful and intriguing landscape areas. Their home is located at 849 Romine Ridge, Osage City.

September marks the fourth and final month of the Osage City Chamber of Commerce’s recognition of the “Yard of the Month” for 2018. Recognition is given during the period of June through September.

ECKAN partners with Topeka credit counselors to offer financial class

ECKAN Osage County has partnered with Housing and Credit Counseling Inc. to offer a free informative class on budgeting, emergency funds, savings, handling debt, credit scores, impacts to financial security, and dealing with collections.

This program is open to individuals whose income is under 125 percent of the federal poverty level and space is limited to 25 people, who must qualify to attend. Proof of income prior to attending class is required.

The class will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, at the Osage City Public Library, 515 Main St., Osage City.

Attendees will receive a light meal and Osage City Chamber Bucks for attending.

For more information or to qualify for the program, contact the ECKAN office at 785-528-5184, 530 Holliday St., Osage City, or [email protected].

Edward Jones named one of ‘50 Companies That Care’ and a great place to work

PEOPLE magazine and Great Place to Work have honored Edward Jones as one of People’s “50 Companies That Care,” a ranking based on the firm’s associate feedback about how their workplace makes a difference in their lives and their communities.

Edward Jones offers financial services through advisers at local branch offices throughout the United States and Canada (through its affiliate). Locally, financial adviser Robyn Williams maintains the Edward Jones branch office at 516 Market St., Osage City, Kan. Mandi Potter is the senior branch office administrator, and Jen Koch is the branch office administrator.

PEOPLE magazine’s rankings represent feedback from more than 4.5 million employees across the U.S. The magazine partnered with Great Place to Work, a global people analytics and consulting firm, to analyze employees’ survey feedback and to consider each organization’s benefits, philanthropic and community support. Edward Jones took the No. 5 spot on the list.

Osage County AgWire: Disaster program compensates producers for forage losses

Producers in Osage County are eligible to apply for 2018 Livestock Forage Disaster Program benefits on native pasture, and improved pasture. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who suffer grazing losses for covered livestock due to drought on privately owned or cash leased land, or fire on federally managed land.

County committees can only accept LFP applications after notification is received by the national office of a qualifying drought, or if a federal agency prohibits producers from grazing normal permitted livestock on federally managed lands due to qualifying fire.

Eligible livestock producers must submit appropriate form and required supporting documentation no later than Jan. 30, 2019, for 2018 losses.

Tradition of resident care continues at Osage City’s Peterson Assisted Living

Many have heard about the closing of longtime Osage City business, Peterson Health Care, Inc., which has been a central fixture in Osage City since 1976. Maybe not as well understood, though, is that one family’s legacy of caring for people will continue just across the street at Peterson Assisted Living.

Crystal Peterson owns both businesses, with Peterson Health Care offering nursing home services since 1976, and a sister business, Peterson Assisted Living, beginning in 1996. The recent sale of the nursing home was part of Peterson’s plan for retirement.

“When all of my children graduated from college was when I planned to retire,” Peterson said recently. “The last one graduated in May.”

She explained the sale of the nursing home was the first step for reducing her business involvements, but retirement plans still include continuing her family’s business of caring for people. Peterson noted she first began in the nursing home business when she was a child. Her grandparents offered rooms in their home, caring for the elderly and infirm, starting in the 1950s.

“It started as a little house with four rooms for the people my grandparents took in,” she said.

As Peterson grew up, it was common for her to spend time reading with residents at her grandparents’ home or cranking the player piano for their daily entertainment.

“It was part of my life, going there every day after school,” she remembered.

As an adult, Peterson continued that tradition of caring, eventually operating the nursing center and neighboring assisted living facility in the 600 block of Holliday Street.

“We were dedicated to providing the best experience, whether at the assisted living or across the street,” she said. “And throughout the years, we were committed to this community.”

With the assisted living facility continuing, Peterson said the business will continue to provide the best experience for residents.

Peterson noted that a dedicated staff is in place at the facility, with Tricia Gundy serving as director.

“I’ve worked side by side with Tricia for the last five years,” Peterson said. “I feel very confident in trusting her in that job.”

Gundy previously served as rehabilitation director at Peterson Health Care.

The staff at 20-apartment facility provides the best homelike atmosphere as possible. As an assisted living facility, such things as medication management and meal preparation are included in the cost of living there. While the level of care is different than a nursing home, residents at the assisted living also have access to outside agency assistance, such as for speech therapy or other rehabilitation therapies.

Chamber Chatter: Volunteers, organizations, participants wrap up successful county fair

By Jeanette Swarts
Osage City Chamber of Commerce

The Osage County Fair Association worked hard this year to have this be one of the best fairs so far. Activities from Wednesday, June 27, 2018, through Saturday, June 30, included exhibits, 4-H activities and competition, Chamber of Commerce Parade, live band, family fun night, pie contest, carnival, cooking demonstration, Shootin’ Hoops 3 on 3 basketball tournament, football 7 on 7 tournament, pet shows, antique tractor show and pull, kids pedal tractor pull, barnyard Olympics, 5K “Glow Run Run”, and a dance party.

2018 Osage City Fair Parade celebrates patriotism

The annual fair parade, sponsored by the Osage City Chamber of Commerce, was Thursday, June 28, 2018. The theme for the parade this year was “Hats Off to Red, White and Blue”.

Diane Michael, parade chairman, did a fantastic job coordinating a variety of entries including the Boy Scouts of Osage City starting the parade as flag bearers, emergency vehicles, including the city and county law enforcement, ambulance and fire department, parade marshal Mary Lou Estes and Mr. and Mrs. Osage City Jerry and Marilyn Giesy, floats, golf carts/ATVs, band, politicians, antique tractors, horses, and others. Even though the heat index was very extreme at parade time, the participants were eager to have a great time and the spectators seemed to enjoy the entries.

Osage County sizzles in drought with scant rainfall, high temperatures

With Osage County and portions of Kansas under a state-issued drought emergency declaration, the federal government has authorized emergency grazing of some of the state’s Conservation Reserve Program acres. The governor had earlier authorized use of state lakes for water sources for counties designated in a drought emergency.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency announced today additional authorization of Conservation Reserve Program acres for emergency grazing for 44 counties in Kansas, including Osage County.

Earlier in the month, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer issued a drought declaration for the state, which included all 105 counties in drought emergency, warning or watch status; 50 counties are in emergency status.

The declaration allows individuals and communities in counties in emergency stage to be eligible for use of water from certain state fishing lakes and some federal reservoirs. Anyone needing water from the designated lakes must contact Kansas Water Office for a water supply request prior to any withdrawals.

Likewise, eligible producers interested in emergency grazing of CRP must request approval through their local FSA before grazing eligible acreage, and obtain a modified conservation plan from the NRCS that includes grazing provisions.

The governor’s declaration is in effect until rescinded by executive order; emergency grazing of CRP is authorized through Sept. 30, 2018.

Officials cited livestock water shortages, low flows at some reservoirs, and outlook of persistent drought as reasons for the statewide drought declaration. Some areas of Kansas are behind more than 15 inches in moisture for the year, and outlooks indicate continuing above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.

Ag meeting in Burlingame: Utilizing cover crops as a forage

Does the drought have you wondering how you will feed your livestock this fall and winter? Cover crops can provide additional forage for livestock and improve soil health in crop fields.

Local conservation agencies will host a meeting on utilizing cover crops as forage at 7 p.m. July 24, 2018, at the Masonic Lodge, 106 E. Fremont Ave., Burlingame.

Pomona Lake Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy, K-State Research and Extension and Osage County Conservation District will host the meeting that will also cover electric fence components and installation, USDA programs to help with water supply, and financial assistance.

Carbondale farmer directs community grant to Osage County 4-H Council

David Badger presents a $2,500 grant to Osage County 4-H members. Courtesy photo.

CARBONDALE, Kan. – A local farmer has partnered with the Monsanto Company to give back to his community. David Badger, Carbondale, has directed a $2,500 grant to the Osage County 4-H Council as part of the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.

Grow Communities provides farmers the opportunity to support nonprofit organizations they care about in their local communities by enrolling for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit of their choice.

As part of its mission, the Osage County 4-H Council will use the funds to continue to promote the work the council does in helping with 4-H activities and promoting the great life skills that the 4-H program provides.

“We are so appreciative that David chose the 4-H program to donate the money to,” said Janae McNally, Frontier Extension District 4-H agent. “We are very fortunate to have community supporters like David who want to see the program continue to grow and thrive in Osage County.”

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