Cover Crop Field Day with Steve Groff

Steve Groff, a cover crop “coach” and one of the developers of the Tillage Radish, will be the featured presenter for a field day on Aug. 21 in Reno County.

Keith Thompson, a farmer from Osage City, will also speak. Sponsors for the day include Cheney Lake Watershed, Inc., the Reno County Conservation District, and Kauffman Seeds.

The field day will begin at Kauffman Seeds’ west facility, 9218 Halstead St., just west of Yoder. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. with cover crop plot tours starting at 8:15. After the plot tours, presentations will continue in the “Journey at Yoder” Activity Center, 3605 E. Longview Road, Haven. A complimentary lunch will be provided courtesy of Kauffman Seeds. The event will conclude by 3:30 pm.

Groff of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is a widely known cover crop pioneer, innovator, and educator. Through his business, Cover Crop Coaching, Groff works with farmers and ag educators to teach them how to make good decisions for cover crop implementation.

Thompson, who farms with his brother, Doug, and his son, Ben, has been planting no-till since 1992 with cover crops introduced after a 1999 trip to Argentina where Keith saw cattle grazing cover crops. At Ben Thompson’s insistence, livestock was eventually reintroduced to the farm to build a more dynamic and resilient system.

There is no cost for the field day, but participants are asked to register by Aug. 17 to guarantee lunch and seating. Register online at You may also call or text Howard Miller at (620) 727-6546.

KDA Announces State Drought Assistance Initiative

MANHATTAN – The Division of Conservation at the Kansas Department of Agriculture announced the availability of funds to reimburse landowners who spent money to mitigate the impact of ongoing drought on livestock before the announcement of a federal drought initiative in July.

The Livestock Water Supply Financial Assistance Initiative will provide financial assistance for livestock water supply wells, pipeline and tanks installed after June 1, but before the announcement of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Drought Initiative by NRCS on July 24.

The State Conservation Commission took action on July 31 to approve the initiative for these qualifying drought mitigation efforts that took place before the NRCS EQIP Drought Initiative. Eligible areas will be the same as for the federal initiative.

Additional program details can be found at

Applications must be made through local conservation districts, and questions should be addressed to local conservation districts as well. Contact information for districts can be found at

USDA encourages rural communities, water districts to apply for loans to improve, rebuild infrastructure

WASHINGTON – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett last week announced a historic commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade and rebuild rural water infrastructure.

Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

For more information, visit

KFB awards grants to new Kansas FFA chapters

MANHATTAN – In its ongoing support of Kansas FFA, Kansas Farm Bureau awarded 13 grants worth a combined $3,900 to new FFA chapters across the state.

The $300 grants provide funding to new FFA chapters chartered during the 2017-2018 school year to help them build a solid foundation for tradition and success.

Chapters in The News coverage area receiving new chapter grants include: Fowler FFA in Meade County; Little River FFA in Rice County; Sublette FFA in Haskell County; Thomas More Prep-Marian FFA and Victoria FFA, both in Ellis County.

These chapters were recognized on stage during the 90th Kansas FFA Convention Wed., May 29 through Fri., June 1 at McCain Auditorium on the Kansas State University campus.

USDA Opens Election Period for Seed Cotton Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that seed cotton producers who want to participate in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2018 crop year, may now submit applications.

The signup period is from now to Dec. 7.

Under changes to ARC and PLC made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, farm owners with generic base acres and recent planting history of covered commodities have a one-time opportunity to allocate all of the generic base acres on their farm.

Farms with generic base acres that were planted or approved as a prevented planted commodity during 2009 through 2016 crop years, are eligible to allocate generic base acres. This includes upland cotton.

Producers have two options to allocate generic base:

Option 1: Allocate generic base acres on a farm to seed cotton base acres equal to the higher of the following: 80 percent of the generic base acres on the farm (the remaining 20 percent goes to unassigned base acres for which there will be no payments); or the average of planted and prevented from planted upland cotton acres on the farm in crop years 2009 through 2012, not to exceed the total generic base acres on the farm.

Option 2: Allocate generic base acres in proportion to the 4-year average acreage planted on the farm and prevented from being planted for each covered commodity, including upland cotton, in crop years 2009 through 2012, to the total acreage planted and considered planted for all covered commodities on the farm.

An increase in total base acres on the farm is not allowed.

For farms without planted or considered planted history of covered commodities, including upland cotton, during 2009 through 2016 crop years, all generic base acres shall be converted to unassigned generic base acres for which no benefits may be available.

If a farm owner is unable to allocate generic base acres during the allocation period, the generic base acres will be deemed to be allocated to seed cotton base under the provisions in Option 1.

Current farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update the farm’s payment yield for seed cotton. Contact your local FSA office for details on formulas.

Visit or the local FSA office for information about FSA and the 2014 Farm Bill programs and programs impacted by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Farmers team with Water Office, K-State to present Water Technology Field Days

Technology keeps evolving to help crop producers make every drop of water count on the fields. Farmers in numerous counties are teaming with the Kansas Water Office and Kansas State University to present Water Technology Field Days in several locations in August to demonstrate the latest in crop irrigation technology.

The field days are designed for producers to see how the newest research and technology is being applied in real-life settings in different areas of the state.

Three more Water Technology Farm projects were implemented in 2018 with a total of 10 Water Technology Farm projects, on more than 35 fields overlying the High Plains Aquifer.

Upcoming field day dates and locations include:

* Aug. 7 – Pawnee County – WaterPACK & ILS Farm – 2 p.m.

* Aug. 15 – Finney County – Garden City Co. & Roth Farm – 10 a.m.

* Aug. 16 – Harvey County – Weber Farm – TBD

* Aug. 16 – Sedgwick County – Jacob Farm – TBD

* Aug. 28 – Finney County – T&O Farms – 10 a.m.

* Aug. 28 – Seward County – Hatcher Land & Cattle – 2 p.m.

* Aug. 30 – Scott County – Circle C Farms – 10 a.m.

* Aug. 30 – Wichita County – Long Water Tech Farm – 5 p.m.

* Aug. 31 – Ford County – Harshberger Farm – 10 a.m.

For the second year, Northwest Kansas Technical College is also participating by providing learning and workforce development training for its students.

KWO provides financial assistance to Kansas State University’s efforts to give technical support to each technology farm. K-State is deeply involved in establishing and monitoring the farms to help answer the producers’ specific questions and concerns about the new technology.

“Each farm is set up slightly different, depending on the primary concern the producer has,” said Jonathan Aguilar, water resource engineer with K-State Research and Extension in Garden City. “For example, one farm has three adjacent spans with different modes of application for comparison purposes. In most fields, soil moisture sensors are installed and tested for accuracy as feedback or its performance in the different soil types.”

For more information visit: or contact Armando Zarco, Water Resource Planner at (620) 276-2901.

Sublette feed yard purchased by Omaha ethanol corporation

OMAHA – Green Plains Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Green Plains Cattle Company, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire two cattle-feeding operations from Bartlett Cattle Company LC for approximately $16 million, plus working capital.

The transaction includes feed yard operations in Sublette and Tulia, Texas with a combined capacity of approximately 97,000 head, increasing Green Plains Cattle’s feeding operations to 355,000 head of capacity.

The company also owns a feedlot in Kismit and grain storage in Cimarron.

“Our success in cattle feeding over the last four years gives us the confidence to continue growing in this area and adding the Bartlett cattle-feeding operations fits seamlessly into our protein growth strategy,” commented Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains, in a news release.

“Expanding our feeding operations by 38 percent strengthens our ability to further supply our internal demand for the distillers grains and corn oil we produce,” Becker said. “This acquisition will be immediately accretive to our earnings in the third quarter and enhances our ability to deliver more stable and consistent earnings to our shareholders.”

The acquisition includes the purchase of working capital, comprised of cattle, grain and other inventories totaling approximately $109 million. The two feedlots consist of roughly 2,100 acres of land, grain storage and excellent water sources.

In conjunction with the close of the transaction, the company will be amending the Green Plains Cattle senior secured revolving credit facility, increasing the maximum commitment from $425 million to $500 million to fund the additional working capital requirements related to the Bartlett acquisition. The amended credit facility includes an accordion feature that enables the credit facility to be increased by up to $100 million with agent approval.

The transaction was expected to close Aug. 1.

Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRE) is a diversified commodity-processing business with operations related to ethanol production, grain handling and storage, cattle feeding, food ingredients, and commodity marketing and logistics services.

The company is one of the leading producers of ethanol in the world and, through its adjacent businesses, is focused on the production of high-protein feed ingredients and export growth opportunities.

For more information about Green Plains, visit