The National Sorghum Producers became the latest in a series of agricultural groups to endrose Great Bend physician, Roger Marshall, over the incumbent, Tim Huelskamp, on Thursday morning.
"NSP is seeking a paratner in government from the largest sorghum-producing Congressiional district in the country," James Born, NSP Chairman said. "Marshall has demonstrated a willingness to learn and take action during this time of legislative and regulatory challenges."
Tim Lust, CEO of NSP said dissatisfaction with the performance of Huelskamp has been building for several years.
"There were a number of votes that did not support our position on the issues," Lust said. "There was bi concern after he was removed from the House Agriculture Committee. As we approach the next Farm Bill, sorghum producers need representation on the House Ag Committee."
Other problematic votes included opposition to the 2014 Farm Bill, opposition to funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, and opposition to continued subsidies to help farmers pay for crop insurance.
NSP joins the Kansas Farm Bureau, the Kansas Livestock Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, Renew Kansas, (Ethanol Producers), Dairy Farmers of America, Grain & Sorghum Producers and the Corn Growers Association in announcing support for Marshall over Huelskamp.
“The county Farm Bureau evaluation committees made thoughtful recommendations in each district," said Kansas Farm Bureau President Rich Felts. "A clear message of strong support was delivered to the VOTE FBF board, and this endorsement is a result of that effort. We are proud of our grass roots process.”
Huelskamp has launched a heavily negative campaign against Marshall, prompting former Sen. Bob Dole, an icon in Kansas Republican circles to practice his skills on Twitter, sending out his second Tweet ever with a suggestion that Huelskamp stick to the issues in his advertising.
On July 12, the House Steering Committee confirmed that Huelskamp has no chance of being re-instated to the Ag Committee, refuting the Congressman's claims during several town hall meetings.
An article in the National Journal quoted a committee member as saying:
“If the speaker pulled out all the stops and begged, bribed and threatened the Steering Committee on Huelskamp’s behalf, then he would still have zero chance of getting back on Ag. He’s burned more bridges than J.E.B. Stuart,” referring to the Confederate Army general."
The Big First Congressional district averages 1.9 million acres of planted sorghum worth $536 million, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The district also includes all but one of the state's sorghum ethanol plants and that plant sources its sorghum from farmers in the Big First. Together, those sorghum plants produce more than 380 million gallons of ethanol annually.