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KARL program applications now open

Kansas Digest: KDA makes new hire; local food workshops set; KSU cattle and swine conferences planned.

Jennifer M. Latzke

January 17, 2024

4 Min Read
Cattle in field
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: There’s plenty to do in February and March across Kansas. From filling out a KARL application to signing up for Kansas State University’s Cattlemen’s Day, you’ll want to mark your calendars. Courtesy of K-State Research and Extension News Service

The Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership program is now accepting applications for Class XVII, which will run from 2024-26. Applications will be accepted through April 1.

KARL is now in its 33rd year and is a two-year leadership training program that consists of in-state seminars and national and international study tours. Jill Zimmerman, KARL president, says new class members will receive more than 400 hours of training over the two years.

But even more importantly, KARL graduates join an alumni network of rural Kansans who have gone on to serve in the state Legislature, and on the boards of farm organizations, agribusinesses, and community government and volunteer organizations.

“This program is for anyone who wants to learn more about our state, country and global entities, especially as they pertain to agriculture and rural communities,” Zimmerman says. “They’ll also learn ways to enhance their communication skills and broaden their circle of friends and business connections.”

Applications close April 1, and a list of finalists will be interviewed by a selection committee in May, with the new class roster announced June 1.

To learn more, contact Zimmerman at 785-532-6300, email [email protected], or visit the KARL website at karlprogram.com

KDA hires executive director

KDA and the State Conservation Commission hired Steve Frost as the executive director for the KDA Division of Conservation. The KDA-DOC manages and implements programs that support water conservation, water quality, land reclamation and watershed management.

Frost has more than 40 years of public service experience at the local and state levels, nearly all in the field of water resources and conservation.

He spent the past 17 years at KDA-DOC focusing on water conservation programs and oversight of conservation districts and watershed districts. He also spent nine years as the executive director of the Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District.

Local food producer workshops

Farmers and small food businesses that are interested in building their direct-to-consumer and local market channels should plan to attend one of four regional workshops in February and March.

Kansas State University’s Local Food System Program, the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and KDA are offering these programs at four different locations to share updated information about the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition program; the Double Up Food Bucks program; state and federal regulations about selling local meat, poultry, eggs and produce; marketing and business development; vegetable production; extending the season; and value-added food sales.

Registration is $20 for the early deadlines per location, or $25 after.

Here are the workshops:

Feb. 9, K-State Olathe (22201 W. Innovation Drive). 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register online, or 913-307-7391. This workshop also will be streamed on Zoom and is available in Spanish. 

Feb. 10, Hutchinson Community College (1300 N. Plum). 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information online, or 620-662-2371.

Feb. 23, Southeast Research-Extension Center at Parsons (25092 Ness Road). 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information online, or 620-421-4826.

March 1, Hays Agriculture Research Center (1232 240th Avenue). 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. More information online, or 785-628-9430. 

K-State Cattlemen’s Day

The Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry will host the 111th annual Cattlemen's Day on March 1 at Weber Hall on the Manhattan campus. K-State President Richard Linton will highlight the event, sharing the university’s strategy for the future, including construction plans for Weber and Call halls.

The program will begin at 10 a.m. and will also include ASI Department head Mike Day to talk about the department’s plans to embrace the past and look to the future, as well as a beef industry economic outlook from K-State agricultural economics professor Glynn Tonsor.

The cost to attend Cattlemen’s Day is $25 by Feb. 23, or $35 at the door. There is no charge for students who register in advance. More information and registration can be found at ksubeef.org.

The 47th annual Legacy Bull and Female Sale will start at 4 p.m. at the Stanley Stout Center. Visit asi.ksu.edu/legacysale for a catalog.

Don’t forget to sign up to attend the Stockmen’s Dinner the night before, Feb. 29, where Galen and Lori Fink will be named Stockman of the Year. Find that separate registration at asi.ksu.edu/stockmensdinner.

Swine Profitability Conference

Kansas State University will host the 2024 Swine Profitability Conference Feb. 6 at the Stanley Stout Center, Manhattan, Kan.

The daylong educational program, which will run from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include the following:

  • Steve Meyer, senior economist with Partners for Production Agriculture, will offer a U.S. pork and meat outlook.

  • Chad Mire, research leader for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Foreign Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Unit, will talk about the laboratory’s capabilities.

  • Marcelo Almeida, clinical assistant professor at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, will share trends in swine health diagnostic cases.

  • Bryan Humphreys, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council, will share a U.S. pork industry update.

  • Dan Gerety, manager and CEO of J-Six Farms, will talk about building generational legacy.

Registration is $25 if completed by Jan. 26. Attendees can also register at the door for $50. More information and online registration is available at the Swine Profitability Conference website.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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