Grass & Grain

Grass & Grain 11-25-2014

Agricultural Newspaper

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A historic agreement was reached November 19 as Kansas, Nebraska and Col- orado conducted a special meeting of the Republican River Compact in Manhat- tan. Representatives of the states have signed a resolu- tion, approving operational adjustments in 2014 and 2015 under the Republican River Compact, which will benefit water users through- out the basin and set the ad- ministration on a course to find long-term solutions to persistent problems. Gov. Sam Brownback noted that the agreement was positive for Kansas water users. "This resolution will protect a valuable water re- source for Kansans. This agreement allows Harlan County Lake to serve as the destination for water legally due to Kansas and allows for the water to be delivered to Kansas water users when needed. Agreements like these can only be reached when neighboring states come together and are com- mitted to meeting the needs of their water users. "We appreciate the spirit of cooperation that has been shown by Nebraska and Col- orado in this process. This is a strong beginning to devel- oping a long-term future for water agreements between the states" said Secretary of Agriculture Jackie Mc- Claskey. "We know there is additional work to do, in- cluding reaching out to our federal partners and others, but believe we are moving in the right direction to arrive at a workable solution that pro- tects Kansas water users, but is balanced and fair to all parties and reflects good water management." Kansas Water Office di- rector Tracy Streeter said that this agreement gives Kansas water more certainty. "Approving the resolutions will bring significant bene- fits to the states by preserv- ing the remaining water sup- ply in Harlan County Lake and providing additional cer- tainty to water users throughout the Basin. This is one of the action items that water users asked for and was included in the second draft of the Long-Term Vi- sion for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas." The signed agreement ad- dresses the operational ad- justments of how water is administered for the benefit of irrigators in the basin. It provides Nebraska with 100 percent credit for water de- livered from augmentation projects to Harlan County Lake prior to June 1, 2015, and the delivered water is for exclusive use by Kansas irri- gators. Officials from the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Water Office will be holding information- al meetings in the areas af- fected in the Republican River Basin over the next few months to update local stakeholders on the current agreements between the states and to learn more about local needs and con- cerns. The states will meet again in early January to further discussions, coordinate the implementation of these res- olutions and continue to work on long-term solutions. The recent agreements between the states can be found online at isions-pro- grams/dwr/interstate-rivers- and-compacts/republican- river-compact. By Donna Sullivan, Editor The Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Class- room held their annual meet- ing on November 19 in Manhattan. Executive Di- rector Cathy Musick shared highlights of the past year as well as plans and goals for the coming year. She de- scribed KFAC as being in a growth spurt as they gener- ate new lesson plans for the different commodities they work with, which they will add once a month to their website. They are also up- dating past livestock educa- tor guides and creating les- son plans from them. Mu- sick said they will now oper- ate under a major umbrella called Connect to Ag that will include half-day teacher workshops, summer insti- tutes and A+ STEM (Sci- ence, Technology, Engineer- ing and Math) curriculum. She said the focus will be more on quality than quanti- ty as programs are planned. Dianna Deniston, who was named the 2015 Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year, shared her experi- ence in planning an Ag Math Day for the past two years in Garden City. Deniston is an instructional coach at Victor Ornelas Elementary School, one of eleven elementary schools in the district. Con- vincing the administration to organize an event the size of Ag Math Day for just one of the schools was no easy feat, but Deniston garnered their support and expressed her gratitude at their willingness to back her on the project. The Finney County Farm Bureau was also instrumen- tal in the event, and many area producers pitched in as well. All of the activities were held inside the first year, and Deniston provided twelve stations for the stu- dents to rotate through. The next year livestock was added to the line-up and sev- eral activities, including a tractor pull, were held out- side. Of the 440 students in the school, 88% are identi- fied as ESL (English as sec- ond language). So along with adjusting the lesson plans for each age group in the K-4 school, language also had to be taken into consideration. Rebecca Sheck, a physics and chemistry teacher from Hoxie, shared her experi- ence with using agriculture to make the subjects relevant to her students. She's made soap from lard and glue from milk, engaging her stu- dents in the chemical processes each requires. Sheck was named a regional Farm Bureau Teacher of the Year winner. With the heightened in- terest among consumers in how their food is produced, Musick believes groups like KFAC and other agriculture groups are in a good position to carry the message of agri- culture to the public. Fall harvest? Temperatures were 16 to 20 degrees below normal for mid-November and as much as two inches of snow fell across Kansas, as seen in this milo field near Cuba. Photo by Amy Hadachek Historic water agreement signed between Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado Dianna Deniston, an instructional coach in the Garden City school system was named the 2015 Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year. She gave a presentation on the Ag Math Day, which she has organized for the past two years, at the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom annual meeting. Teachers celebrated at Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom annual meeting Soap and glue were two of the chemistry projects Re- becca Sheck used to connect her students with agri- culture and the real-life applications of her subject.

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