Category Archives: Business

Osage County Agwire: Producers to elect county committee members

The 2017 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections began on Nov. 6, when ballots were mailed to eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 4, 2017.

County committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs; conservation programs; incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities; emergency programs and eligibility. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm may also be eligible to vote.

Eligible voters in local administrative area 3 who do not receive a ballot, can obtain one from their local USDA Service Center. Dec. 4, 2017, is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers. Ballots returned by mail must also be postmarked no later than Dec. 4. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2018.

The candidates in this year’s election are:

  • David Combes is nominated in LAA 3, Osage County, to serve as a committee member. Combes has been a lifetime resident of Osage County and produces wheat, soybeans and corn. He and his wife also have a cattle herd, in which they background and finish. Combes is lifetime agriculture producer. He is an active member of the Ottawa Coop board and serves as director; and is a member of the Olivet Township Board, Osage County Conservation board; the Melvern Fire Department, and Farm Bureau.
  • Nina Flax is nominated in LAA 3, Osage County, to serve as a committee member. Flax has been a lifetime resident of Osage County and produces wheat, soybeans, grain sorghum and corn. She is lifetime agriculture producer. She is an active member of the Frontier District Extension board, and Farm Bureau. Flax is a retired educator.

More information on county committees, such as the new 2017 fact sheet, can be found on the FSA website at or at the local USDA Service Center, at 785-828-4631 or 115 W. 17th St., Lyndon.

Osage City opens Christmas season with annual Market Street celebration

Sawyer Serna, daughter of Joe and Tammy Serna, was the honored guest at Osage City’s Christmas on Market Street parade on Saturday evening, Nov. 25, 2017. Sawyer, assisted by Santa Claus, switched on the downtown Christmas lights, signaling the start of the parade and Christmas season in Osage City.

Osage City Chamber of Commerce sponsored the the annual event that opens the Christmas shopping season, with numerous events and activities held downtown during the day.

Parade participants included: Color guard by Boy Scout Troop 106 Osage City; Osage City Police Department; Kansas Highway Patrol; Osage County Fire District No. 2, Osage City, with passengers on one truck including coloring contest winners; Osage County Emergency Medical Services; Twin Lakes Cruisers Car Club; Osage Family Care, second place float; Osage County Girl Scouts; Osage City High School band, cheerleaders and dance team; Flint Hills Beverage; State Farm Insurance; Osage City Public Library, fourth place; Osage City Golf Course; Osage City taxi service; Harmon Dental; Theel’s; Bunting Ranch; J.P. Tree Service, third place float; Willing Workers 4-H Club, first place float; Branded Graphics; Osage City Kiwanis Club; and Santa Claus with special reindeer.

Anonymous Melvern farmer can quit day job; claims $742,354 lottery jackpot

TOPEKA, Kan. – An anonymous Melvern resident has claimed a $742,354 jackpot from one of Kansas’ lottery games in Monday night’s drawing. Kansas Lottery announced an unnamed winner matched all numbers on a $5 quick pick ticket in the Nov. 6, 2017, Super Kansas Cash game. The winning numbers were 05, 09, 13, 15, 31 with a bonus number of 07.

“I didn’t realize I had the winning ticket until yesterday,” said the winner, who wished to remain anonymous. “I scanned the ticket myself, but the machine didn’t show the amount I won, so I asked one of the store clerks I know to check the ticket for me. When she told me I had won the Super Kansas Cash jackpot, I couldn’t believe it.”

The lucky winner said he buys lottery tickets for every drawing and will continue doing so.

“People give me a hard time for playing so much, but if you don’t play you can’t win,” the winner said. “I work hard and I try to help people as much as I can. I’m a firm believer of what comes around goes round. My wife even said she knew something good was going to happen. Maybe I’ll get lucky and win again?”

The Melvern resident said winning a jackpot prize will allow him to take time off work until the first of the year, so he can concentrate on his farm.

“I’ve got a lot of things to do on the farm,” said the winner. “Now I won’t have to worry about my day job. I have a lot of fences to build and fix, plus I’d like to buy a new tractor.”

The jackpot-winning ticket was purchased at Circle L Convenience Store, in Melvern. The store is eligible for a $1,000 selling bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Osage County Agwire: County committee election ballots to be mailed to eligible voters

Elections for the 2017 County Committee

USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee elections are underway in Osage County.  It is important that every eligible producer participate in these elections because FSA county committees are a link between the agricultural community and the USDA. The 2017 election in Osage County will be conducted for the representative Local Administrative Area (LAA) 3, located in the southern half of Osage County.

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 underserved groups or communities should be on the committee to speak on behalf of their constituency.

Underserved 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 underserved.

County committee election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters on Nov. 6, 2017.  The last day to return completed ballots to the Osage County USDA service center is Dec. 4, 2017.

Chamber Chatter: Osage City’s first fall festival celebrates local nature trail

Bikers tank up at a refreshment station set up by the Osage City Chamber during Rush the Rails. Photo by Kareen King.

By Jeanette Swarts, Executive Director
Osage City Chamber of Commerce

October 7, 2017, the Osage City Chamber of Commerce hosted the Flint Hills Nature Trail Fall Fest, which also included the Dirty Kanza Promotions Rush the Rails event. The event ran from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., with more than 100 bicycle riders and eight relay teams, traveling through Osage City during the day.

Three starting locations designated the length of the route chosen by the participants: Osawatomie, full distance, 96 miles; Vassar, 54 miles; Admire, 25 miles; finish line was at Council Grove.

Dave Azwell passes out cookies to rejuvenate bikers and hikers.

The Gilday Gas Station was the designated stopping point for the participants coming through Osage City. Nourishing refreshments, drinks and first aid were provided at the stop. The Osage City Kiwanis Club hosted the refreshment area. Dave Azwell, Kathi Webster and Kareen King were great ambassadors for Osage City as they greeted and served the participants. There were numerous activities taking place throughout the Santa Fe Park, Santa Fe Depot and Theels’s vacant lot. The day included business sidewalk sales, a bouncy house, food vendors, ice cream social, children’s activities, craft show, restorative and stretching sessions, and a fine arts display.

Dirty Kanza Promotions plans to make this an annual event, so the Chamber is looking forward to having a bigger and better event for 2018.

Photos thanks to Kareen King.

True to the word for coffee, community, conversation

Cutting the ribbon for a new Lyndon coffee house, from left, council member Darrel Finch, mayor Steve Morrison, Nathalia, Alexandria, Micah and Marla Bryant, Hailey Boland, Melissa Partain, and council members Katie Shepard and Bill Patterson.

It’s true, you can now get fine brewed coffee at Lyndon. On Oct. 7, 2017, Lyndon’s new coffee house, True Brew, opened its doors to an eager crowd of coffee lovers. Last week, Lyndon city officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony, welcoming Micah and Marla Bryant and their new espresso bar and bistro at 804 Topeka Ave.

Micah Bryant said the coffee house has been months in the making, with the family and friends transforming the former gas station building into a bistro with full espresso bar. The building has served several businesses over the years and was last a gift shop.

Bryant, who also serves as pastor at Mt. Pleasant Community Church, said his love for fine coffee and espresso bars inspired him to open the coffee house in Lyndon.

“I really enjoyed going to coffee shops and hanging out and studying,” Bryant said. “I wanted to open one here to share with my community something I liked to do.”

Now, with a motto of “community, coffee, conversation”, the family-operated business offers a welcoming spot to hang out and enjoy a variety of coffee choices, all served with Micah’s java expertise. Or if you’re not in the mood for coffee, breakfast or lunch is on the bistro’s menu along with fresh baked pastries. And for ice cream lovers, the bistro has a freezer full with a variety of flavors and treats such as shakes and smoothies.

USDA processing pending Conservation Reserve Program continuous enrollment offers

Acceptance of most 2018 offers temporarily suspended

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it will process many pending eligible offers for land enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program, and it will temporarily suspend accepting most new offers until later in the 2018 fiscal year.

“All current, eligible CRP continuous enrollment offers made through Sept. 30, 2017 – except for those made under the Pollinator Habitat Initiative – will be approved,” said Steven J. Peterson, acting Farm Service Agency administrator. “Additionally, we are temporarily suspending acceptance of most offers going forward to provide time to review CRP allocation levels, and to avoid exceeding the statutory cap of 24 million acres.”

Chamber Chatter: Beer festival adds spirits to Chamber’s fall activities

By Jeanette Swarts, Executive Director

Osage City Chamber of Commerce Festival of Beer

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 from 3-6 p.m. Sept. 30 at the 4-H pavilion, fairgrounds. Ticket sales benefit the Osage City Chamber of Commerce, which in turn benefits the Warmth Fund, E.C.A.T., college scholarships for high school seniors and the July 4 fireworks, among others.

Advance tickets are just $25 with tickets at the door $30. Tickets are available at Jerrys Thriftway, Stark Carwash, Bank of Osage City, Mulready’s Pub in Emporia and online at All attendees must be at least 21 years of age.

Annual awards recognize protectors of land, water and wildlife

Nominees from Osage County are being sought for the annual conservation awards program, sponsored by the Kansas Bankers Association. The program recognizes stewards of land and natural resources in Kansas, with more than 200 of the state’s producers and landowners honored statewide each year. This year’s Osage County sponsor is Lyndon State Bank, Lyndon, Kan.

Honorees are named in six award categories: energy conservation, water quality, water conservation, soil conservation, windbreaks and wildlife habitat. Nominations for the awards can be made by any person in the county.

Nomination forms are available at the Osage County Conservation District Office, 115 W. 17th St., Frontier Extension District, 128 W. 15th St., or the Lyndon State Bank, 817 Topeka Ave., all in Lyndon, or call 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. 16, 2017.

A committee chaired by Rod Schaub, Frontier District Extension agent, will select this year’s winners from the nominations received by the deadline. Winners will be recognized at the Osage County Conservation District’s annual meeting next year.

AgWire: Requests open for marketing assistance loans, loan deficiency payments

MAL and LDP undergo minor policy changes

The Agricultural Act of 2014 authorized 2014-2018 crop year Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) and Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs), with a few minor policy changes. Among the changes, farm-stored MAL collateral transferred to warehouse storage will retain the original loan rate, be allowed to transfer only the outstanding farm-stored quantity with no additional quantity allowed and will no longer require producers to have a paid for measurement service when moving or commingling loan collateral.

MALs and LDPs provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, feed grains, soybeans, and other oilseeds, pulse crops, rice, peanuts, cotton, wool and honey. MALs provide producers interim financing after harvest to help them meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows. A producer who is eligible to obtain a loan, but agrees to forgo the loan, may obtain an LDP if such a payment is available. Marketing loan provisions and LDPs are not available for sugar and extra-long staple cotton.

FSA is now accepting requests for 2017 MALs and LDPs for all eligible commodities after harvest. Requests for loans and LDPs shall be made on or before the final availability date for the respective commodities.

Schaub to serve as Frontier Extension District horticulture agent

Ryan Schaub

Ryan Schaub will begin serving as the Frontier Extension District’s horticulture extension agent, effective Aug. 6, 2017. Working out of the district’s office in Garnett, Schaub will provide leadership for programing in Anderson, Franklin and Osage counties. Horticulture agents develop and deliver educational programs such as horticulture crop production, marketing and economics related to the horticulture industry, landscape design maintenance and improvement, conservation of natural resources and pest management.

Schaub earned a Bachelor’s in Animal Sciences and Industry from Kansas State University, and has most recently been serving as the agriculture and natural resources extension agent at Eureka, Kan., in Greenwood County. He grew up on a small farm in Franklin County and was active in the 4-H and youth development program.

King-Orozco to be digital content assistant for sustainability publication company

TOPEKA, Kan. – Queren King-Orozco, originally of Osage City, has accepted a position with Ogden Publications, Topeka, Kan.,  as a digital content assistant.

King-Orozco will work across Ogden’s brands, managing social media accounts, creating e-newsletters and updating websites.

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.


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.


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.


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, 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.

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