For the week of July 25, 2016

Vote -- make a difference

By John Schlageck, Kansas Farm Bureau

A wise man once said, If you don’t vote, someone else is voting for you on issues that are important in your life. This is particularly true as we head into the final stretch of the election season.

There is plenty at stake for each one of us in the Kansas primary election Aug. 2. Elected officials responsible for helping determine our future, that of our children and our agricultural industry will be chosen that day.

No doubt about it, we’re living in historic times. The challenges and opportunities are plain for all to see.

We live in a country divided. Polarized at both extremes – on the left and right. Little work is being done on behalf of the electorate.

Instead, politicians of one party blame the other, obstruct the job of the legislative branch and gridlock prevails.

That said, farmers and ranchers across the Sunflower State must exercise the opportunity to further key ag policy priorities on their behalf during the upcoming primary.

Cast a vote for someone who will speak on your behalf in Topeka and Washington, D.C. Someone who will keep farm and ranch values in mind and reach across the aisle to forge consensus on issues of importance to agriculture.

Across the state ag producers believe there are renewed opportunities to pursue issues including: comprehensive immigration reform; improved market access opportunities for U.S. agricultural products; and less government oversight in their everyday lives.

 Encourage friends, neighbors and family to vote so this 2016 primary election will be remembered as an example of American democracy at its finest. Turn out voters in record numbers to elect candidates who will do their part in the political process.

Cast your ballot for the candidates in our Kansas election vital to farming and ranching. Before you vote, evaluate each candidate individually to determine strengths and willingness to work on behalf of agriculture and rural Kansas.

Some farm organizations, including Kansas Farm Bureau recently finished its final and vital push to implement grassroots public policy positions that its members developed throughout the year. Our organization has also endorsed 133 candidates for individual seats in the U.S. Congress, Kansas Senate and the Kansas House. All are friends of our organization and understand the importance of agriculture in our state.

So many of the issues have been cussed and discussed. The machinery is in place. All that remains is the action of voting for the candidates who have an ear that will listen to those in agriculture and rural Kansas.

Exercise your privilege and vote this Aug. 2. Remember, if you don’t, someone else will vote on issues that impact your life and livelihood.

John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.