Kansas

Winter wheat crop in poor shape amid drought

Only 28 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop is in good or excellent condition, one of the worst starts for the crop in years, said the USDA's Crop Progress report on Monday. Three-quarters of winter wheat land is in drought, including nine of every 10 acres in Kansas, the top wheat producing state.

In race to control the House, three Agriculture Committee toss-ups

A relative handful of contests in the Nov. 8 general election — one month away — will decide whether Democrats or Republicans control the House in 2023. Three of those toss-up races are in farm-state districts with seats on the House Agriculture Committee.

Growers sow winter wheat despite arid conditions

More than half of U.S. winter wheat territory is in drought but growers are sowing the grain at a faster pace than usual, said the Crop Progress report on Monday. In USDA's first look at the new crop, it said the grain was planted on 21 percent of winter wheat land in the 18 leading states, 4 points ahead of the five-year average.

Kansas pilots an unusual technique to save its reservoirs from soil erosion

Kansas officials are in talks with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers about piloting a technique known as "water injection dredging" to keep one of the state's drinking water reservoirs from filling up with sediment — which is partly the result of soil erosion from farm fields along stream banks. Tuttle Creek Lake, which supplies drinking water to a third of the state's population including Topeka and Manhattan, Kansas, is already more than 50 percent full of sediment. The issue has forced the state to address the problem, which is not uncommon in reservoirs around the country.

Scant rainfall imperils wheat in southwestern Kansas

Kansas grows one out of every six bushels of wheat harvested in the United States and often leads the nation in wheat production. But in several counties in the southwestern corner of the state, where the drought is at its worst, "very little wheat will make it to harvest," said the farmer-funded organization Kansas Wheat on Monday, pointing to arid conditions and "vicious" winter winds.

Bird flu found in Illinois and Kansas

"High path" bird flu was identified in backyard flocks in central Illinois and eastern Kansas, said a USDA agency on Saturday. The outbreak in Franklin County, Kansas, about 55 miles southwest of Kansas City, was the farthest west that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in a domestic flock this year.

Drought worsens in wheat-growing Plains

The long-running drought that covers more than half of the continental United States — mostly west of the Mississippi — worsened in the central and southern Plains last week, the heart of U.S. winter wheat production, said the government's Drought Monitor on Thursday. In Kansas, the No. 1 winter wheat state, 31 percent of the crop was rated as being in poor or very poor condition.

Marshall wins GOP Senate nomination in Kansas

Second-term Rep. Roger Marshall easily won the Republican nomination for Senate in Kansas on Tuesday, handily defeating Kris Kobach, the party’s unsuccessful 2018 candidate for governor, in a state that has not elected a Democratic senator since 1932. Democrats nominated state Sen. Barbara …

For the second time, Nebraska has top U.S. farm district

Stretching from Wyoming to Iowa and larger in area than New York State, Nebraska’s 3rd congressional district is again the No. 1 farm district in the nation, with $16.6 billion in crop and livestock production, says the new edition of the Census of Agriculture.

Farmers in Plains lean heavily on Trump tariff payments

Due to the trade war, more than a third of net farm income for Kansas farmers comes from  Trump tariff payments, but that won't make up for lost export sales, said Republican Sen. Jerry Moran on Monday. The second-term Republican was part of a Farm Belt chorus that, after applauding the end of a trade dispute with Canada and Mexico, called for trade deals with China, Japan and the European Union.

Author of ‘Freedom to Farm’ law, Pat Roberts, to retire after 40 years in Congress

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the only lawmaker to chair the Senate and House Agriculture committees, will retire in 2020 after four decades in Congress. Roberts was the author of the landmark Freedom to Farm law of 1996 that removed most federal controls over what crops farmers grow.

Drought eases in central Plains, worsens in the north

Widespread rainfall in northwestern Kansas eased arid conditions in the No. 1 winter wheat state as this year’s crop nears maturity, said the weekly Drought Monitor. Still, some 69 percent of Kansas remains in drought.

Drought fries wheat crop in Kansas and Oklahoma

Kansas will reap its smallest winter wheat crop since 1989 and neighboring Oklahoma will harvest half of its usual total because of a months-long drought in the Plains, crop scouts said on Thursday after touring the winter wheat belt.

Winter wheat struggles in droughty Plains

Nearly half of the winter wheat in Kansas, often the biggest wheat-producing state in the country, is in poor or very poor condition as the growing season opens across the United States, said the USDA in the first of this year's weekly Crop Progress reports. Drought, ranging in intensity from moderate to exceptional, covers much of the central and southern Plains, the heart of winter wheat production.

Kansas Governor signs ‘Tyson bill’ into law aiding chicken producers

Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer last Tuesday signed into law a controversial bill that will amend the state’s regulatory requirements for poultry confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), local media reported. The bill was dubbed the “Tyson bill,” for its favorability to the large poultry processor who has attempted multiple times to set up a processing plant in the state.

Despite community resistance, Kansas okays more chicken houses

Although Kansas has been the site of several high-profile fights over the future of chicken farming, the state’s Senate advanced a bill last week that would increase the cap on how many chickens a farmer can raise at once.

After Tyson pushback, Kansas considers local control

Last fall, a small community in northeast Kansas made headlines when thousands of residents protested the announcement that a Tyson poultry processing plant would soon be built nearby. Once the residents of Tonganoxie won their “No Tyson in Tongie” campaign, other communities followed suit. Now, state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make it easier for communities to vote on whether to introduce new poultry processing facilities or large-scale farms in their communities, reports High Plains Public Radio.

Cellulosic ethanol looks more like a demonstration project than an industry

Corn ethanol represents the first generation of biofuels. Cellulosic ethanol, made from grass, woody plants, and crop debris, was supposed to be the second generation.

Tax breaks for wind power mean little new revenue for rural schools

Wind turbine companies "have lobbied for low or non-existent property taxes and steep depreciation schedules," meaning little new revenue for rural school districts from the giant windmills that dot the Midwest and Plains, says the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and Flatland, a part of Kansas City PBS. In an introduction to four stories about wind power, the MCIR and Flatland say their multi-state collaboration uncovered "how states like Kansas have given away the wind farm."

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