Insight: Diving In

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Glenn Brunkow
Pottawatomie County farmer and rancher

How many old westerns have we seen the hero crawling across the desert, desperate to find a drink of water? He turns his canteen upside down and only sand runs out. Or the cattle baron uses unscrupulous methods to gain the water rights of the small ranches.
Water has been the source of conflict since the dawn of mankind. It is the one thing that sustains life, the one thing without which we can’t live. That is one absolute that we cannot change, and conflict over water will only become more serious in the future.
Water is absolutely critical to those of us in agriculture. It is necessary for our crops and livestock. I am not telling you anything you do not know. However, we need to have a serious discussion about water and water rights.
Kansas Farm Bureau’s (KFB) water policy has grown over the years, but it is something we need to take a deep dive into. Maybe the policy we have is good enough, but I suspect we need to make some changes. Those changes might be small tweaks, or they might be major overhauls. It is up to you, the grassroots Farm Bureau member.
That is why we are hosting a series of meetings around the state, and I am imploring you to attend one and add your opinion to the process. This may be the biggest issue we have ever faced and one that will shape agriculture in Kansas for a long time. If we are not at the table, decisions will be made without our input that could have catastrophic consequences.
I don’t know how to make this any clearer or any more urgent. There are parties involved are pulling from every direction: municipal, agricultural and industry. We must make sure any policy adopted allows us to continue to produce food and fiber.
KFB will host a series of 2-hour moderated discussions around the state to gather feedback on possible policy changes. All meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. and are scheduled for the following locations:
June 28, Manhattan
June 29, Hoxie
July 6, Hutchinson
July 7, Dodge City
July 14, Burlington
Participants are encouraged to register at www.kfb.org/advocacy.
We know your time now is precious and this is not an easy time of year to get away, but we must get moving on this now, so we have policy ready to be voted on at KFB’s annual meeting in December.
I cannot emphasize enough how much we need everyone to participate. I would also ask that you do some research and education and become acquainted with water policy from all across the state and not just your own area. Our water issues are many and varied and we must produce a unified policy that will best represent our varied needs. Again, I cannot say strongly enough how important this issue is or how much your ideas and opinions are needed. Please plan to attend one of these meetings.

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