MANHATTAN, Kan. — Lt. Governor Tracey Mann hosted Bill Northey, the USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service, on a trip to south central Kansas on Friday, April 6, to visit drought-affected fields and to speak with farmers and ranchers in the area. They were joined by David Schemm, USDA FSA state executive director in Kansas; Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture; Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office; and Rich Felts, president of Kansas Farm Bureau.
A roundtable discussion at the Kanza Cooperative in Pratt gave area farmers, ranchers and industry partners an opportunity to talk about their experiences and concerns with the representatives from state and federal agencies who have a voice in policy issues. The group discussed a variety of issues including crop insurance, the Conservation Reserve Program, trade, farm programs and more.
“Agriculture is the backbone of the Kansas economy, and Governor Colyer and I will work with local farmers and ranchers to understand the challenges they are facing and do what we can to support them throughout this drought,” said Lt. Governor Mann.
The group walked wheat fields near Pratt, Kansas, which have been distressed by the drought conditions currently impacting much of Kansas. Governor Colyer signed a drought declaration for the state on March 6, and the conditions have only worsened since that time, with the newest U.S. Drought Monitor showing 49 counties in D2 (severe) or D3 (extreme) drought levels and now 6 counties at D4 (exceptional) levels. Pratt County is at the D3 (extreme) drought level.