Moving Kansas grain to customers got a boost Aug. 17, when Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced that the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Short Line Rail Improvement Fund Program will award more than $5.2 million to fund 10 short-line rail improvement projects around the state.
Six projects were awarded to shippers, and four projects were awarded to short-line railroads in nine counties across the state. Each project’s funding will be matched by each recipient, to the tune of more than $7.4 million additional funds. Projects range from installing new scales, to siding expansions to increase capacity, to switch and crossing replacements to reduce delays and increase safety.
The Short Line Rail Improvement Fund provides $5 million each year for three years as part of the Kelly administration’s 10-year bipartisan Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program. Learn more at the Short Line Rail Improvement Fund website.
4-H Livestock Sweepstakes
Southwind District 4-H brought home High Individual and Champion Team awards from the 2021 Kansas 4-H Livestock Sweepstakes, held Aug. 21 and 22 in Manhattan, Kan.
Nearly 350 Kansas 4-H’ers traveled to the Kansas State University campus to compete in the state livestock judging contest, meat judging contest, livestock skillathon and livestock quiz bowl.
Individuals who competed in livestock judging, meat judging and the skillathon were entered in the Kansas 4-H Livestock Sweepstakes. Sadie Marchiano from the Southwind District received the High Individual award, and the Southwind District No. 4 team won the Champion Team award for the best combined results in all four competitions.
KARL Program applications
The Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program is recruiting aspiring rural and agriculture leaders to be a part of Class XVI. Applications will be accepted from Jan. 1 to April 1, 2022.
“We are really excited to begin recruiting the next class of aspiring leaders to spark action that will positively impact Kansas agriculture and rural communities,” says KARL President Jill Zimmerman. “Through a two-year leadership program comprised of up to 30 individuals from across Kansas, we challenge changemakers to think differently, while connecting them to the people and resources that can help them transform organizations, communities, our state and our world.”
The online application and program participation details can be found at the KARL application website. Finalist will be interviewed by a selection committee in May. The official class roster will be announced in June.
Attracting rural attorneys
The Kansas Farm Bureau Legal Foundation Rural Law Practice Grant is a $16,500 grant to help defray the educational costs of law school, and to encourage new attorneys to locate their legal practices in rural Kansas.
Up to three grant recipients will be selected each year. The Kansas Farm Bureau Legal Foundation board will be looking for applicants who can demonstrate a strong desire to live and work in rural Kansas; an understanding of the legal issues commonly faced by farmers and ranchers in rural Kansas; high academic achievement; and financial need.
Applications for the grant are accepted on and between Sept. 1 and Nov. 1 of an applicant’s final fall semester before their anticipated graduation date.
To learn more about the program including eligibility and how to apply, visit the Rural Law Practice Grant information website.
Finding farm loans
The USDA Farm Service Agency now offers the Farm Loan Discovery Tool on its website, farmers.gov/fund. The online tool helps farmers find information on USDA farm loans that may best fit their operations, from buying land to financing equipment purchases.
Farmers simply answer a few questions about what they are looking to fund and how much money they need to borrow. They will receive information on farm loans that best fit their specific needs, and a loan application and additional resources to help farmers prepare before they visit with a loan officer at the USDA service center. Guides cover loans to individuals, entities and youth, as well as microloans.