When I say “fall,” you probably think of Halloween, pumpkins, falling leaves and, of course, football. Since the fall season is approaching and cooler weather is following suit, that also means corn, soybean and sorghum harvest, as well as getting wheat in the ground. It’s a busy time of year, and farm safety should not be overlooked as an integral factor in our jobs as farmers. Get enough rest and hydrate to prevent fatigue while operating farm machinery.

Speaking of getting enough rest and hydrating, our new experience at the State Fair took the vision and dedication of many staff members, as well as several volunteers who helped work the exhibit during the fair. The new features included an interactive and educational grocery store, virtual reality farm tours, a photo booth, member lounge and the addition of the “10 Faces of Agriculture” presentations by dedicated Farm Bureau members. We can’t thank our staff, volunteers, members and benefit providers enough for their vision, work, generosity and engagement. We hope you “found your fun” at the KFB booth and we’ll see you around at next year’s State Fair!

While we take fair-goers on a virtual reality tour of a farm, we implement the real deal with some of our programming. With Kansas Soybean, we welcomed eight bloggers and a dietitian on the 5th installment of our popular consumer-outreach program, Farm Food Tour. A lot of planning goes on behind the scenes to get these folks on several farms and ranches of Kansas to encourage open dialogue about what really happens in agriculture. It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase the diversity of Kansas agriculture and to set the record straight on hot topics like GMOs and antibiotics. If you want to see the stops, (and the delicious food) search for the hashtag #farmfoodtour on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

We also had the honor of hosting several members on a tour of the Pacific Northwest in September. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Learning about other agriculture production types and methods makes us better farmers and more appreciative of United States’ agriculture. Participants visited aquaculture, horticulture, nurseries and vegetable production sites between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. Traveling with Kansas Farm Bureau is a great opportunity for our members. More opportunities will be announced as they are planned at www.kfb.org/travel.

Looking forward, Kansas Farm Bureau will finish off the year with its annual meeting – where we celebrate achievements, recognize extraordinary members and friends, provide an environment of learning and develop Kansas Farm Bureau’s policy for the 2019 year. Every annual meeting is special, but this year’s is even more significant. We’ll be kicking off our centennial celebration, which will continue throughout 2019. We’ll have more information on the details of this annual meeting to come, so be sure to continue to open and read your twice weekly e-news publication.

As we venture into another century of being the voice of agriculture, I stress the importance of our advocacy arm of our organization. You already know there’s an important opportunity in November for our state. I encourage you to become familiar with the candidate’s platforms, make informed decisions and show up on Nov. 6. Voting is your right and one that should not be taken lightly. The endorsements made by KFB’s VOTE FBF (Voters Organized to Elect Farm Bureau Friends) are listed at www.kfb.org/2018election. These candidates are evaluated on their merits and their understanding of agriculture and rural Kansas communities.

I take great pride in serving the Farm Bureau members in Kansas’ 105 counties as president. Just as we want to leave our farming and ranching operations better than we found it for the next generation, I too want Farm Bureau to be in a position of sustainable and efficient growth during my tenure as your president and beyond.

Our 2019 Strategic Project is a two-year planning effort to address the needs of Farm Bureau members in Kansas to ensure our organization remains a positive force in the lives of Kansans for the next 100 years. We are starting this process by requesting our members complete a brief survey to provide his or her thoughts.

If you aren’t a member, I encourage you to become one and get involved. If you have questions for me, or ideas about sustainable growth of Kansas Farm Bureau, I welcome you to contact us at Kansas Farm Bureau here.

Have a safe and happy harvest season,