Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS, spoke to a group of Ford County citizens, at the Dodge City Country Club, Aug. 28.

Roberts covered topics ranging from the military, to capital gains taxes to the upcoming revision of the farm bill.

He stated that the U.S. currently has sanctions against 71 countries, which ultimately harms farmers and their freedom to farm. He added that emergency government payments to farmers need to continue until there is a change.

"We need to get rid of sanctions against Cuba," Roberts said. "Until we get those markets back, these payments are necessary to our nation's farmers."

Roberts also discussed what he would add to the new farm bill. He said he would like to see a stronger export policy. He said farmers want the flexibility of no acreage restrictions, but there must be a market to motivate them. In the new bill, Roberts would like to see "a safety net for farmers that is a trampoline and not a hammock."

In addition, Roberts is proposing a bill that would spread $7.5 billion over five years to give farmers more risk management protection. The bill would also spend $15 million for carbon sequestration research at K-State. Roberts said that scientists have discovered in research at the South Pole that the U.S. has taken more carbon our to the atmosphere than we have given off, creating a "carbon sink".

"The hope is to find the best management practices in agriculture to allow farm ground to act as a sink," Roberts said.

He also stressed his concern over the military.

"Our military is too stressed, and too strained," Roberts said. He said U.S. forces are working with less resources for more objectives than they have in the past. Today, the U.S. military is present in 171 countries around the world, yet Congress has have cut spending nearly one-third, Roberts said.

The breakfast was a stop on his 105-county listening tour. Roberts plans to visit each county in the state by January, 2001.

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