One McPherson County organization has now provided a century of service to agricultural producers — the McPherson County Farm Bureau.

One McPherson County organization has now provided a century of service to agricultural producers — the McPherson County Farm Bureau.

The non-profit agriculture service organization uses memberships to provide area producers with anything from scholarships to disaster relief. Mitz Fawl, McPherson County Farm Bureau Coordinator, explained that after 100 years, the organization is still going strong.

“In McPherson County, we have a lot of people who get involved and step up to that next level, and that’s what it takes to keep it as strong as it is now,” Fawl said. “A lot of programs we have now, like Ag in the Classroom or Farm Safety Day, wouldn’t have started without some help from the Farm Bureau.”

The McPherson County Farm Bureau seeks to grow and support agricultural producers through education and policy. The organization will celebrate the anniversary at their business meeting this Saturday with a catered meal, entertainment and recognition of the past presidents.

“Our oldest living past president is Galen Case at 92 years old, and he’s in very good health, so he and several other past presidents will be attending,” Fawl said. “The Kansas Farm Bureau president Richard Phelps will attend, and Edie Dahlsten from Lindsborg, who was the Kansas Farm Bureau vice president for a while, will also speak.”

Keep in mind, this is not Farm Bureau Financial Services selling insurance — that came much later.

“I’ve worked here for 18 years, I’m a McPherson native, I still have people asking me about insurance, so I tell them again that that’s not this organization,” Fawl laughed. “The Farm Bureau Association started so the farmer could have a say in policy, then they started benefits and looked at offering insurance. So that aspect came much later after we started doing benefits for our members.”

The McPherson County chapter started in 1916 — almost four years before a state-wide headquarters was established in Manhattan, Kansas. The organization began as a way to give farmers a voice in how their legislators determined agricultural policy. Today, the McPherson County chapter upholds this promise, as well as new programs focused on educating younger generations.

“We’re all about education and children. We’re in our fifth year of Ag in the Classroom and Fran Stucky has seen about every third- and fourth-grade classroom in the county. That program is funded by donations from local farmers, so we want to use those resources to educate the next generations,” Fawl said about the county-wide initiative to teach children about agricultural practices and nutrition. “We’re blessed because we’re a rural community, but there are plenty of kids who don’t know where milk or eggs come from. But if we don’t have agriculture, we don’t have food on the table. Children need to understand what it is and where it comes from because without our farmers, we wouldn’t have food on our tables, and it’s important for kids to know that.”

And out of 105 counties, McPherson County has been recognized for these outstanding efforts — four times.

“Once a year, counties gather in Manhattan for our annual meeting and they give out an Outstanding Achievement award to the county that’s done the most or had the greatest impact, and we’ve won that four times, two in the past two years,” Fawl said. “It’s pretty amazing what we can do and how we give back to the community.”

Nearly every program supported by the McPherson County Farm Bureau is funded through memberships, Fawl said.

“There are other counties that don’t have the resources, but it really just takes people getting involved and finding out what works in your county,” Fawl said. “Every agricultural producer in McPherson County should be a member. It’s one of the best farm organizations because they have a voice at the national level. They are well respected in DC and people know who they are and what they’ve done.”

For more information, either stop by the office at 900 W. Kansas Ave., McPherson, or call 620-241-6020