K ra u s e , fo rm e r D a iry M id w e s t R e g io n a l D ire c to r,
Member Family Leads Wildfire Relief Effort
Grassland and Nasonville Drop Producers
Dairy Producers Scramble After Markets Lost By Brad Rach
Labette County, Kansas, FFA participants helped in the relief effort. In March, about a million acres were destroyed by wildfires in Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. Farmsteads were leveled, ranchers tried to herd cattle to safety and seven lives were lost. Teresa Jones, a southeast Kansas National Farmers member with her husband, Kevin, watched the events unfold through her Facebook newsfeed, and wanted to do something to help. Then, the Jones’ teenage daughter, Shyanne, said she felt God was leading her to help. So, Teresa streamlined the effort to solicit donations of hay, fencing supplies and recruit volunteers. Shyanne was right there Shyanne Jones and Megan March catch a with her, inviting her youth group and local FFA to join the relief work. Cloey, Shyanne’s younger sister, volunteered, too. ride on the ranch, with Micah Day as They put out the word through their Cowboy Church, and Bartlett tractor chauffeur. Co-op sold fencing supplies and even work gloves at cost to anyone making donations. Youth group leaders who farm and own a trucking company provided use of their semis and hauled 34 round bales of hay. “I received numerous calls from people wanting to help,”Teresa says. Another person donated a 25–foot trailer of small square hay bales. An 80-year-old man drove a semi-load of the donated fencing supplies. A group of people from school, their youth group and others, home churches and other churches, all became part of the work crew. They piled into vans and trucks, to go help in recovery efforts in Clark County, Kansas. Kansas Emergency Management told the Associated Press, the 625 square miles charred in Clark County is about 85 percent of that county's land. Teresa expressed her amazement at the process when they stopped en route in Protection, Kansas, to deliver some of the hay. “The kids unloaded the square bales in no time at all,” she says. “On Wednesday, when we got there, the kids unloaded two loads of square bales in Ashland,” she says. They stayed at a church camp, which provided meals. The First Christian Church pastor invited them to their youth group, the first gathering after the fires. “They got to offer sympathy to these kids who had lost everything materially,”Teresa says. “It was a neat thing for them to just listen and pray with these kids.” Many in the group Jones organized stayed three days, working at Giles Ranch. Some Labette County FFA members arrived on March 23, and worked for the evening. Owned and operated by Roger and Cathy Giles and their family, the ranch owned 1,100 head of cattle before the wildfire, after 400. Giles Ranch lost the office, barns and outbuildings. They lost their hay supply. Three sisters, children of Roger and Cathy, lost their houses. The group dug through charred remains in sheds to find anything salvageable. “We cleaned up fence, picked up and loaded hedge posts. There were a lot of hedge posts that looked like they just exploded. It just burned really hot,” Teresa says. The wildfires resulted in a lot of orphan calves. “We brought two home for 4-H projects, and we will return them to the Giles Ranch lost a drill owners,” she adds. to the fire, as well. “It was heartbreaking seeing their houses lost,” Teresa says. “These people had lost everything, but they hadn’t lost their families, and they were standing on their feet and they had hope.”
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Photo by Matt Katzenberger
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It is difficult to believe how we have arrived at this point in dairy markets. Grassland and Nasonville, two prominent players in Wisconsin’s dairy industry, are dropping producers. Nearly 100 have been informed they will have no market for their milk. Add to that news Dairy Farmers of America’s recent notice to displace hundreds of Northeast dairy farmers. It is truly a stressful time for dairymen. Grassland’s letter to producers cited a loss of a Canadian market as reasoning for their action. But, really the problem goes much farther. It is not just the loss of a Canadian market, but, also the overarching failure of policy makers to develop a plan to protect U.S. dairymen and women. Apparently, they have determined it is easier to cull farmers than it is to cull cows. So, what really needs to happen? It is the immediate implementation of a growth management plan that protects family farmers. National Farmers has developed a dairy policy proposal that would do just that, by promoting dairy farmer stability, while meeting consumer demand. You can read our policy at nationalfarmers.com. Or ask a National Farmers field representative for a copy. Here are our national dairy policy talking points. A Dairy Policy that Protects Family Farmers • There is a dairy crisis; milk is being disposed of and producers are losing market access • No government help is on the horizon • Supply and demand balance needs to be restored • National Farmers Two-Tier Price Plan helps family farmers • Revitalization of rural schools, business and churches would occur
National Farmers President Paul Olson presents Jennifer Dilley, (left), a 20-year service award. Don Hamm, (right), receives a 15-year award.
National Farmers Organization staffers were recognized for their outstanding service in the home office April 12. Loree Ness, livestock accounting supervisor, has been with the organization five years. Senior Financial Analyst Cindy Pratt earned her award for five years of service. Eileen Thompson is the grain division accountant, and has been with National Farmers 25 years. Mick Jepsen accepted his award for five years as an employee. He is the dairy accounting supervisor. Dairy accountant
Sharon Wurzer, was presented with a five year award. And, Kris Tillo accepted her award for 15 years of service in the Dairy Division. Jeff Rose earned recognition for 15 years representing livestock producers as a risk manager for Nexus Ag Marketing.
Pictured left to right are Loree Ness, Cindy Pratt, Eileen Thompson, Mick Jepsen, Sharon Wurzer and Kris Tillo.
Published on May 1, 2017
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