Water Technology Farm Field Days begin
To demonstrate the latest in crop irrigation technology, farmers in several counties are teaming with the Kansas Water Office to present Water Technology Field Days in August and September.
Upcoming field days, with events beginning at 10:30 a.m., unless otherwise noted, include:
• Aug. 20 — Scott City, Circle C and Long Farms
• Aug. 23 — Larned, WaterPACK & ILS Farm
• Sept. 5 — Garden City, The GCC-Roth Family, T&O and Harshberger Farms;
Sept. 5, 5 p.m. — Liberal, Hatcher Land & Cattle Farm.
Five more farm projects were implemented in 2019, bringing total Water Technology Farms to 15 on more than 40 fields throughout the state.
The KWO provides financial assistance to K-State Research and Extension’s efforts to give technical support for some of the technology farms.
For more information, visit: www.kwo.ks.gov or contact Armando Zarco, Water Resource Planner at 620-765-7485.
Hutchinson sees economic impact from Sheep Show
The All-American Jr. Sheep Show, held in Hutchinson over the July 4 weekend, drew more than double the number of registered sheep then when the show was first in Hutchinson in 2014.
Nearly 2,500 head of sheep and 1,100 visitors participated in the three-day show.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism estimated the event generated a $515,000 direct economic impact to the Reno County community.
KDWPT uses a third-party calculator from Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company, to create the economic impact report using information from the Kansas State Fairgrounds, the All-American Jr. Sheep Show coordinators and local hotels.
Visitor-related spending it considered included overnight visitors, hotel rooms utilized, organizer spending on venue rental, food and beverage spending, and other direct spending.
In addition to events at the state fairgrounds, attendees spent Friday night at the Hutchinson Sports Arena for their annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament, which concluded with a pizza party for all participants. The local Papa John’s franchise provided more than 200 pizzas.
Visit Hutch began working with the show organizers in October 2016 on details related to hosting the 2019 show.
“When the All-American Jr. Sheep Show decided to return to Hutchinson, we were excited to welcome them back,” said Holly Leiker, National Sports & Destination Sales Manager for Visit Hutch. We did not know the show was going to grow as much as it did... Having the opportunity to showcase our community to that many new visitors was fantastic.”
Free water testing opportunities available in Western Kansas
More than 15 years ago, the Kansas Geological Survey collected data on the declining quality of groundwater in the Arkansas River region due to naturally occurring sources.
Now, a new two-year study will collect current data in the areas adjacent to the river and surface irrigation canals in Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Gray, and Ford counties, in response to a resolution adopted during the 2019 legislative session, Senate Resolution No. 1729.
As a result, the state is offering the opportunity for domestic well owners in the study area who use their wells for drinking water purposes to have the water tested for free.
Test results will be provided back to the well owner and used in the broader study to determine overall regional groundwater quality.
Since water from public water supply systems is routinely tested, it is not included in the study.
The Kansas Water Office, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Department of Agriculture will be working with KGS and Groundwater Management District No. 3 to do the work.
The state is working with county health departments and conservation districts in those five counties to have water sampling kits available to private well owners.
The effort will be a phased approach, starting with Hamilton County on Aug. 19, followed by Kearny, Finney, Gray and Ford. Participation in this study is voluntary.
For more information visit www.kdheks.gov/mineralization/ or call: 785-296-3185.
Farm Loan technician vacancy open in Reno County
The Kansas Farm Service Agency is seeking qualified candidates for full-time, permanent County Program Technicians in several offices, including in Reno County.
County Program Technicians are responsible for carrying out office activities and functions pertaining to the technical assistance and program support related to FSA farm and farm loan programs.
Basic requirements include general office clerical work, record keeping, computer skills, organizational skills, and good public relations skills.
The County Program Technician position offers benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) plan, paid holidays, vacation and sick leave, and flexible work schedules.
The position vacancy announcements are posted on the USAJOBS website at www.usajobs.gov, through which most federal employment applications must be submitted.
Applications close Tuesday for the post, which is at the South Hutchinson office.
For questions, contact the Kansas State FSA Office at 785-564-4750.
Applications open to support Local Food Initiatives
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an opportunity to apply for technical assistance for communities interested in revitalizing neighborhoods through the development of local food systems.
The assistance will be provided through the Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) program.
Since its launch in 2014, the program has assisted 108 communities across the country to develop local food enterprises, such as farmers markets, community gardens, and cooperative grocery stores.
Local Foods, Local Places supports projects that: create livable, walkable, economically vibrant main streets and mixed-use neighborhoods; boosts economic opportunities for local farmers and main street businesses; and improve access to healthy, local food, especially among disadvantaged populations.
LFLP partner communities work with a team of agricultural, environmental, public health, and regional economic development experts to set goals and identify local assets that can support the local food economy.
Communities also develop an action plan and identify potential resources from the participating federal agencies to support implementation.
Eligible applicants include local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit institutions and organizations proposing to work in a neighborhood, town, or city of any size anywhere in the United States. Communities with projects located in federal designated Opportunity Zones will receive special consideration.
Highest consideration will be given to communities who can identify how the assistance will leverage the Opportunity Zone designation to support the implementation of the resulting action plan.
The deadline for applications is Sept. 30.
To apply for LFLP assistance visit: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places-2019-2020-application
To see a list and map of designated Opportunity Zones, visit https://www.cdfifund.gov/Pages/Opportunity-Zones.aspx.
Area electric cooperatives awarded federal loans
Two area electric cooperatives were among cooperatives in 10 states awarded part of $181 million in low-cost federal loans to upgrade rural electrical systems.
The Ninnescah Rural Electric Cooperative Association was awarded $6.5 million to build and improve 89 miles of line. The loan includes $39,600 in smart grid technologies to improve system efficiencies and security.
Ninnescah serves more than 4,200 customers over 2,129 miles of line in 10 counties in south-central Kansas.
Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative was awarded $13.6 million to build and improve 55 miles of line and invest $3 million in smart grid technologies. The improvements will enhance system resilience and reliability.
Heartland serves more than 11,000 residential and commercial consumers over 3,800 miles of energized line in 12 counties.
USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
Congress appropriated $5.5 billion for USDA’s Electric Loan Program in fiscal year 2019.
KDA announces State Noxious Weed Advisory Committee
MANHATTAN — The Kansas Department of Agriculture announced the members of the State Noxious Weed Advisory Committee.
The committee was established this summer following the passage of HB 2583, which made revising the noxious weed list a regulatory instead of legislative process.
The committee will assist the Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, among other duties, in determining which plant species will be on the list.
The first meeting was in July, and the committee will meet at least once but no more than four times per year. The next meeting will be in August.
Committee members are: Mike Collinge, livestock producer, Greenwood County; Anita Dille, weed specialist, Kansas State University; Sean Fetty, organic agricultural producer, Wichita County; Walt Fick, weed specialist, Kansas State University; Craig Freeman, Kansas Biological Survey; Mike Friesen, Meade County weed supervisor; John Lee, Morris County weed supervisor; Bob Nutt, Kansas Cooperative Council; Ron Ohlde, traditional agricultural producer, Washington County.
Also, Carla Pence, Harper County Commissioner; Johnny Schaben, representing the agricultural industry, Barton County; Stuart Schrag, natural resource professional, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; and Jacob Thomas, nontraditional agricultural producer, Leavenworth County.
Scott Marsh, the state weeds specialist at KDA, will serve as an ex-officio member of the committee.
The committee will serve the state by providing advice and oversight for the KDA noxious and invasive weed program. Read more about noxious weed control in Kansas at agriculture.ks.gov/NoxiousWeeds.