Three Kansas representatives and a state senator agreed that while Kansans heard about Medicaid expansion and the timing of a constitutional question about abortion dominating the headlines, they agreed other issues are going to also gain traction in the next few months in Topeka.

In the agriculture front, Rep. Boyd Orr, R-Fowler, said a new director will be selected for the Kansas chief engineer as David Barfield has retired from the Division of Water Resources. He believes Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam will select a chief engineer who will be pragmatic, which is necessary to help provide long-term stability for irrigators.

Barfield’s decision in the past year that would have arbitrarily cut water availability in half to irrigators in the Rattlesnake Creek Management program angered Stafford County producers. U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, stepped in to help with a one-year moratorium before implementation of the state’s plan. 

Orr joined Sen. Bud Estes, Dodge City, and fellow Reps. Brad Ralph, Dodge City, and Leonard Mastroni, LaCrosse, all Republicans, during the March 7 legislative forum sponsored by the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce at City Hall in Dodge City.

Mastroni said Medicaid expansion could help rural hospitals that struggle with finances and to provide emergency services. He was also concerned about rural mental health services options.

Ralph said the Kansas Department of Transportation should be back on track to start construction on highway projects that were backlogged in recent years because monies were diverted from the state’s highway fund to fund state government.

The forum also included a lengthy discussion over property tax valuations and if there is sufficient transparency in letting citizens know in advance that a taxing entity plans to increase property taxes. 

After the forum Orr noted he supported a bill that states a meat label should clearly define non-livestock produced meat and label it as such for consumers. It is misleading, in his opinion, to have a non-traditional meat product have a steer on its advertisement.

Orr said the Senate passed a bill that permits on-the-farm sales of raw milk. A warning label would be required because the milk is not pasteurized, and he expects his committee to receive the bill and have a hearing on it. He said he plans to keep an open mind about it and learn more about the issue.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or

Jesse Gilmore has joined the staff of K-State Research and Extension-Wildcat District as a Horticulture Extension Agent. His appointment was effective Jan. 12. Wildcat Extension District has offices in Altamont, Fredonia, Girard, Independence, and Pittsburg, Kansas. His primary office will be in Girard, Kansas.

He earned both his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and horticulture and his master’s degree in horticulture urban systems from Kansas State University. Gilmore has most recently been employed as a maintenance specialist for Lawn & Landscape Solutions, Olathe, Kansas.

Horticulture agents develop and deliver educational programming. Topics include but are not limited to: horticulture crop production, marketing and economics, conservation of natural resources, horticulture waste management, and residential landscape management. Local extension faculty are jointly employed in a partnership between K-State Research and Extension, headquartered on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, and the local Extension board. 

The role of K-State Research and Extension is to encourage the adoption of research-based information to improve the quality of life for Kansans. K-State Research and Extension is the short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.

Holm Automotive Center, Inc., Abilene, Kansas, has been awarded a 2020 DealerRater Dealer of the Year Award, which recognizes auto dealerships across the U.S. and Canada who deliver outstanding customer service, based on consumer reviews written on

The DealerRater Dealer of the Year Awards are based on reviews by new and used car shoppers and those who took their vehicles into dealerships for service. Reviewers evaluated Holm Automotive Center, Inc. on its customer service, quality of work, friendliness, pricing and overall experience. Holm Automotive Center, Inc. has demonstrated consistently high PowerScore ratings for customer satisfaction, placing it in the top of its class. The PowerScore is determined using a Bayesian algorithm that factors the dealership’s average DealerRater consumer rating and the total number of reviews written about the dealership during the 2019 calendar year.

“We’re honored to be recognized for this achievement by DealerRater. This award, being our eighth consecutive year being named the Dealer of the Year for Kansas, speaks for our efforts to put and keep our customers as our No. 1 priority. I am very proud of the effort our team puts forth to make doing business with Holm Automotive Center, Inc. such a good and well received experience,” said Tim Holm, dealer principal.


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