KFB’s Investment in Public Policy

(Jamie) We’re back! Let’s join Kyle and Ryan and learn the many ways Kansas Farm Bureau represents grassroots members.
(Kyle) Hi this Kyle Bauer with Ryan Flickner with Kansas Farm Bureau. Ryan, you’re involved with public policy. Farm Bureau is highly involved with public policy. But tell us some of the details of how Farm Bureau…the investment that Farm Bureau’s made in public policy. (Ryan) Thanks Kyle. That’s a great question. If you look back even to the early 1900’s there were a group of farmers and ranchers that believed a unified voice was stronger and was more able to interact with their elected officials than those same individuals operating individually. So, that is really how Farm Bureau started and ever since then we’ve really been based and our corner stone is on the advocacy and the policy side. That’s not discrediting anything else that we do. But we do have a great team. American Farm Bureau has a team of probably 20 plus that work on our behalf back in Washington, D.C., everyday. I interact at least weekly with our federal officials in Washington, D.C., and then we have a great team of probably about 10 or 12 folks here in Kansas some of them based here in Manhattan, others in Topeka, that work for our farm and ranch families every single day in the Statehouse and in the Capitol in Topeka, and fighting every issue from taxes to the future of water, to transportation issues, always environmental issues and everything in between. So, it’s very important and we certainly spend a lot of time and a significant investment making sure we’re representing our grassroots members. (Kyle) And you talk about your members and the membership but a lot of your personnel really are not only helping train members but also scheduling them into Topeka to talk to their legislators. (Ryan) Yes, we have our annual Day at the Statehouse and here in 2016 we have over 200 of our members who have registered to attend that and we’re going to start in the morning with a breakfast and then we’ll have some breakout sessions dealing with Kansas Department of Agriculture, the future of taxes and some of the issues there, the future of education. And then being an election year, we view it as a good service to our members to get an election party update. So, we’ll have the Executive Director of the Democrat Party in Kansas, and the Executive Director of the Republican Party in Kansas to kind of have a duel if you will, to really figure out what the 2016 elections mean for Kansas and the nation. (Kyle) Truly one of the things that your staff does though is arm the members with knowledge and specific details so that when they talk to legislators they can be well informed. (Ryan) Absolutely. We have a bill track that we post on our website every single week. And I haven’t been able to do the math or haven’t chose to do the math, but I imagine at this time there’s well over 100 bills that we’re following here in the 2016 session, that one way or another impact our current policy. And we owe it to our members to post that, be transparent, let them know if we’re monitoring the bill and if we’re supporting it or in opposition. And really allow those grassroots members to better engage when their elected official comes back for a coffee on the weekend or if they’re able to travel to Topeka, whether a stay at the Statehouse or some followup down the road here in late February or March or April to really help them understand how that specific bill, whatever it deals with whether it’s transportation or education or agriculture, how that impacts their bottom line and their family back in Kansas and rural communities all over the state of Kansas. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Ryan Flickner. Ryan is with Kansas Farm Bureau. This is Kyle Bauer reporting from Manhattan. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks, Kyle. Next up is this week’s Kansas Soybean Update.

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