Members of the Kansas agriculture community announced this week the formation of Farmers and Ranchers for Roberts, a coalition in support of Senator Pat Roberts in his bid for reelection to the United States Senate. Farmers and Ranchers for Roberts comprises Kansas producers from a broad range of commodities, and hopes to underscore the contributions that Sen. Roberts has made throughout his service to Kansas in the Senate.
"Senator Roberts has, from day one, been a friend and ally of Kansas farmers," said Kent Winter, a wheat farmer from Sedgwick County. "Because of his experienced leadership, he is able to champion the programs and solutions that help us succeed while still addressing the challenges facing our nation as a whole."
Farmers and Ranchers for Roberts includes a broad and diverse range of Kansas agriculture, including wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybean farmers, as well as cattle and pork producers.
"Kansas farmers and ranchers are the engine that drives more than a quarter of the state's economy, and employs more than 427,000 Kansans," added Rooks County cattle rancher Dana Pieper. "Because of agriculture's continued importance to Kansas, we must have an advocate in Washington who not only understands the importance of the industry to our state, but has established a trust and rapport with Kansas farmers and ranchers, and knows what we need. We are Farmers and Ranchers for Roberts because Pat Roberts is that advocate."
Members of the coalition pointed to Sen. Roberts' work on the federal crop insurance program in light of the ongoing drought in parts of southern and western Kansas as critical reasons to reelect the Senator.
"Senator Roberts has been around long enough that he's seen both the good and the bad experienced by Kansas agriculture, and he knows the devastating and unpredictable impacts that weather can have. The work that he put in to reforming, streamlining and strengthening the crop insurance program is something that won't just pay dividends down the road; it's helping Kansas farmers this year," said Chris Short, who raises corn and soybeans in Saline County.
The formation of Farmers and Ranchers for Roberts comes after the Senator received the endorsements of major Kansas farm groups, including the Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Livestock Association. Those endorsements, say the coalition, are an indication of the value that Sen. Roberts provides for Kansas agriculture.
"The presumption that Kansas farmers will benefit more from a 'slash-and-burn' or 'blowtorch' approach to Washington politics is a little naive. The reason that Sen. Roberts is such an effective and representative champion for Kansas farmers is that he has the experience necessary to craft policy that protects Sunflower State agriculture without sacrificing the values and responsibilities that we share," said Kingman County sorghum farmer John Kuszmaul. "It's no coincidence that the state's farm groups back the Senator and it's for that reason that we're standing up for him today as well."