Farmers offer hope to Kansans during Kansas Farm Bureau meeting
The Kansas Farm Bureau kicked off its 102nd annual meeting on Thursday with a message of hope.
Although the group had to meet virtually, it wanted to let farmers across the state know that although this year was tough, many farmers found golden nuggets throughout the journey.
“The work continues even when things are not normal,” said Rich Felts, Kansas Farm Bureau president. “As farmers and ranchers, I would say we are better equipped than most in dealing with things we have no control over.”
Bo Downing, who teaches and farms in Riley County, said this year, everyone, not just farmers, had to rely on blind faith.
“Blind faith in farming is not always that bad,” he said. “Sometimes things work out good.”
Downing realized he had more time to work on projects on his land than usual. His crops produced well and prices increased. But more importantly, he said, COVID has made him reflect more on what’s happened in his life. Downing reconnected with family and friends and renewed his faith.
For Labette County farmer Janet Phillips, slowing down and having faith became the key for her as well. In 2019, she and her husband started selling custom beef, adding to their commercial beef operation. When the virus hit, their sales increased dramatically.
“The consumers really want to know (where their food is coming from),” she said. “They want to reach out.”
Phillips feeds her cattle on GMO corn. She does nothing different in either feeding or raising her animals. But she and her husband raise them on their land; they take care of them and protect them. So when consumers buy her meat, they know they are getting a steer raised on a family farm. Phillips realized she needed to slow down and have faith.
“We are finding those positives on a daily basis,” Phillips said. She urged the group to “try to find those little positives and stay away from those negatives.”
Kim Baldwin, of Baldwin Farms in McPherson County, also learned to look at the silver lining when facing 2020. After spending the spring working full time, taking care of her children, who were doing school at home, and helping her husband with farm tasks, she decided to quit her job and stay home.
“I’ve learned to prioritize, and I’ve learned to say yes with things that matter,” she said. “It was a wonderful blessing and a dumpster fire of a spring.”