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Keep Kansas ag industry growing
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Dear Editor,
I attended Gov. Sam Brownback’s agriculture summit, held at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church Parish Hall in Garden City.
For me, it was the first time for me to meet and shake hands with Gov. Brownback. In the past, he and I have debated, for lack of a better word, in the press, each of us partially differing on some issues.
At the ag summit, I wanted to put the past in the past and start anew.
The man is the governor of Kansas, and he deserves all the good advice, commentary, and ideas he can get. I told the governor that a few years ago, I sold a family farm that had been in the family for over 100 years.
Property taxation needs reform. 
Counties cannot tax a farm as if it has a bumper crop each year. There will be times of drought or hail, and crop insurance only provides a mere drop in the bucket.
I didn’t have to sell. But, I saw the hand writing on the wall years ago. County and state budgets need to generate revenues in other ways.
It had been a long time since I had passed through Dodge City and Garden City, both note worthy cow towns.
One idea of Gov. Brownback that I did like was his proposal to increase pig and hog production within the state of Kansas. While many people holler and gripe about the smell of feedlots and ranches, those are the very same people who want their bacon and/or sausage for their morning breakfast.
The ag industry is so vital to Kansas that no aspect of agriculture should be dismissed. The growing of wheat, corn, milo and soybeans may be fashionable. But, we need to get back to the days when people actually tended — maintained — farms on site. They weren’t armchair quarterbacks living in the towns or cities by night and only going out to the farm by day.
Farming and ranching cannot be treated as a hobby. We need to foster a renewed pride of self-sustinence that was alive and well when my late parents were growing-up.
Having a few chickens gave both a steady supply of meat and eggs. Having a few cows around gave another supply of meat and/or milk. We cannot assume that food and commodities will always be as readily available as pulling them off-a-shelf at a local discount or grocery store.
 With crazy anti-capitalism protests spreading across our land, we must emphasize that a capitalism mixed with tempered morality is a good thing. To occupy Wall Street, or Main Street, is futile. It is a harbinger for revolution and our American military has strived to protect us from foreign enemies. But I am afraid they may have difficulty protecting us from the disruptive enemies from within our own borders.
Rural life must again be prized.
I hear big city people from Wichita and other places speak of towns such as Dodge City, Garden City and Great Bend as a “hold your nose area” and pass on by, region. 
I disagree.
Our nation needs to foster the creativity of men such as the late Steve Jobs.
Managing animal waste and improving odor control is a technology desperately needed. Let us not strike pigs and hogs off of Kansas’ list of potential marketable items. 
If there is a demand, (which there obviously is, people will buy a product. 
Let us quit raising a stink.
Let us focus on ameliorating the by product waste or odor, and still keep the product desirable for farmers and ranchers to continue to raise in Kansas.
James A. Marples,