Butler County Times Gazette
The Other Side of Farming
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By Katie Stockstill-Sawyer
Dec. 5, 2012 12:01 a.m.



When you think of farmers, visions of tractors, cattle and crops come to mind. But there is another side of farming, one that isn’t quite as glamorous but just as important as planting the seeds and tending to the livestock.

Today my husband and I are attending the Kansas Farm Bureau annual meeting delegate session in Manhattan. Derek is a voting delegate for the county and I am an innocent bystander taking in all of the action. The delegate session is the least glamorous but probably the most important aspect of each KFB annual meeting. During these day-long meetings, representatives from each county gather to update existing Farm Bureau policy and vote on new policy proposals. It’s grass-roots democracy at its best and while it can be tedious, it’s important for the future of the organization and the farming industry as a whole. The policies that are debated and voted upon at these meetings guide the organization’s policy efforts for the next year. Our voting delegates essentially get to tell our legal and policy teams how to approach everyday and emerging issues – think alflatoxins, taxes and property rights.

Issues affecting agriculture and producers are constantly changing and to remain relevant, agriculture must come together to express their needs and concerns. That doesn’t happen without meetings, conferences and time off the farm. My husband and I have become involved in farm policy through the Farm Bureau organization and have seen first-hand the power of farm policy directing legislation at all levels. The meetings are not always fun and do take time away from the farm and family but seeing our hard work pay off and play a part in state and national policy debates makes it all worth it and continues to remind me of why we and others in our industry should continue to take time for the other side of farming.

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