Forage and grassland council meetings, like this August one hosted by the Southeast Minnesota Forage Council, allow growers to learn from current University researchers - and from each other.
The newly invigorated Kansas Forage And Grassland Council is putting together its first event in years – looking at national issues such as alfalfa crop insurance and the 2014 Farm Bill.
The event, to be held Sept. 17 nearly 10 miles south of Larned (at Hwy 19 and D road), will start at 10 a.m. with a Farm Bill implementation listening session.
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) has been invited to attend. Either he or a representative from his office will gather input from producers on the possible inclusion of alfalfa in the federal crop insurance program. Moran was instrumental in adding alfalfa crop insurance language to the current Farm Bill.
Although founded in 1988, KFGC have been inactive the past few years. That’s all changing, says Jenni Carr, an ag and natural resources agent with Kansas State University Extension.
“There’s some new energy behind it,” says Carr, who’s recently become the group’s volunteer executive secretary. “We have a good board with some great ideas. Sometimes you just need fresh blood.”
Darrin Unruh, Pretty Prairie, is one of the hay growers helping to re-establish KFGC. He says that the listening session is one of just four being conducted nationwide.
“It’s a fabulous opportunity for producers to have some input on this new program. We have the chance to make our voices heard.”
Carr hopes that growers from Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri will attend and participate in the listening session.
The rest of the day’s tentative schedule includes research-plot tours, pest-control presentations and forage management sessions by Kansas State University experts. Lunch will be provided.
The gathering will kick off KFGC’s future, Carr says.
“We’ve got some great things planned for the next four months,” she adds. The group’s annual conference is set for December 9 at the Kansas Farm Bureau headquarters in Manhattan.
Unruh is also excited about what lies ahead for KFGC.
“Hay and forages are an extremely important crop here in Kansas,” he says. “I hope we can build a network of people who can share information about what’s working and what’s not working. We can help each other out, so it’s a more profitable business for everybody.”
Anyone planning to attend the Sept. 17 meeting should contact Carr at 620-842-5445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more about KFGC or to become a member, visit www.ksfgc.org