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Tiahrt says Plains farmers need to get Vilsack's attention

By Holly Martin

U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt says he thinks the new secretary of agriculture may need a lesson in the differences between agriculture on the Plains and in the "I" states. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who is from Iowa, has made it clear he thinks direct payments should not be a part of future farm programs.

"It's hard for ordinary people to understand how we have the cheapest food supply, but why should farmers just get checks?" he told wheat growers in Washington, D.C.

Tiahrt said that farmers in the Plains work off of a different set of circumstances. "Farmers in the 'I' states spill grain on the ground and it grows. It doesn't work like that here," he said.

But he does agree with Vilsack that incorporating farm programs to appeal to the "green" fad of today is a good. Also key to farmers is ensuring a sound crop insurance program, he said. "You can't expect people to risk that much money and then go bankrupt because of one bad year," he said.

Tiahrt is running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Senator Sam Brownback. Among stops to the media in western Kansas, he also toured Western Plains Regional Medical Center in Dodge City to discuss rural healthcare.

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