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Commission honors farmers, Ag Week
new deh county commission pic
The Barton County Employee Relations Committee recommends outstanding individuals for the Employee Recognition Award, generally given quarterly. The commission recognized John Sheets of the Noxious Weed Department Monday morning. Sheets was nominated for efforts related to deploying voting machines, snow removal and the development and construction of the Golden Belt Memorial Park Veterans Memorial. All these assignments are completed over and above his regular duties. Pictured are Bj Wooding, ERC president, presenting a plaque to Sheets, and commissioners Homer Kruckenberg, Don Davis, Jennifer Schartz, Alicia Straub and Kenny Schremmer.

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:
• Approved contracting with  Kaw Valley Engineers for geotechnical and survey services for the K-4 overlook tower project. As the county moves forward with the project, the Kansas Department of Transportation has asked that geotechnical and survey services be performed at the site, said County Engineer Clark Rusco. This includes soil testing to assure the ground can support the structure and survey work for fencing.
For $3,900, the company will provide borings, design of uplift requirements, reference locations and other items. Rusco said the architects are waiting for this information to begin their planning.
• Approved participation in the KDOT Federal Funds Exchange Program. Rusco received notice from KDOT that $287,412.06  in federal funds is currently available to Barton County to apply to a federal-aid project or exchange during Federal Fiscal Year 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014 – Sept. 30, 2015). KDOT allows the county to bank those funds to use for future federal-aid projects, Rusco said.
This is federal money the state has been banking for Barton County. However, the funds are encumbered to Barton County and not in the state’s general fund where they could be siphoned off to cover other budget shortfalls, Rusco said.
• Approved participation in the South Kansas (Homeland Security Region E) Multi-Hazard, Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Hazard mitigation is the act of reducing risk to people and property from natural hazards. The Barton County Emergency Management Department and other Barton County entities have participated in the development of the plan. It identifies hazards associated within the region and qualifies participating entities for additional pre-disaster and post-disaster grant funding, said Emergency Management Director Amy Miller.
This replaced a county mitigation plan approved in April 2011. Barton County is joining Barber, Comanche, Edwards, Kiowa, Pawnee, Pratt and Stafford counties in this effort.
A county must be participating in a plan to be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funds, Miller said.

The Barton County Commission took time Monday morning to honor farmers by proclaiming this as National Ag Week and Wednesday as National Ag Day.
“Barton County and the great State of Kansas was born of farmers and ranchers,” the proclamation read. “All citizens are urged to join in this celebration and know that our strong agricultural traditions benefit not only Americans, but people across the globe.”
“For more than 40 years we have celebrated National Ag Day as a time to pause and honor the American farmer,” said Barton County Agricultural Extension Agent Alicia Boor in addressing the commission. “Today, our farmers are the most productive and efficient in the world with each one helping feed more than 144 people.”
It is important, she said that we thank farmers, as well as everyone who plays a role” in producing the food, fiber and fuel our country and the world depends upon.”
 Boor said the world population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. “Kansas farmers and ranchers play an increasingly important role in meeting global demands for healthy, wholesome, safe and nutritious food.”
Kansas is one of the national leaders in agriculture, ranking first in wheat and sorghum production and third in beef production. 
National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society.