Ag Has to Keep On Telling Its Story, Moran Tells Agribusiness Council

Congressman speaks to ag group about issues, avoids mention of campaign

You could have attended Thursday's Agribusiness Council of Sedgwick County luncheon and listened to Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Hays) speak to the 50 or so attendees and completely missed the fact that he's engaged in what most people would agree has gotten to be a pretty ugly campaign for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sam Brownback.

Not once did Moran bring up his Republican primary opponent in the Senate race, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Wichita), or the increasingly negative tone of the campaign.

Instead, Moran talked, as he has in the past, about what he considers key concerns for the folks in farm country on the Washington scene, and close to the top of list was dealing with an administration that is downright hostile to production agriculture, even including the Secretary of Agriculture.

"Never have I seen, or would have expected to see the kind of Secretary of Agriculture that we have," he said.

Early on, he said, Tom Vilsak's initial remarks about "pitting hungry children against wealthy farmers and letting the public decide" were startling, coming from the man who you would expect to be an advocate for agriculture.

Moran said the discussions about the 2012 Farm Bill are worrisome not just for a lack of emphasis on production agriculture, but for a total lack of mention of it.

"We have a secretary who is talking about broadband service and farmers markets and giving people a chance to work in town and live a rural lifestyle on a 100-acre farm," he said. "The reality is we can't feed those hungry children or a hungry world with a bunch of 100-acre hobby farms supplying Farmers' Markets."

He said the challenge for farmers in Kansas and the rest of the country is to make not only their urban neighbors but the people who serve in Congress understand their story and appreciate their contribution.

Congressman, you are so right.

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