Letters to the Editor

Farm survival

September 2, 2010


To the editor:

Thank you for your Aug. 20 editorial paying tribute to farmers in Douglas County. I also am a fifth generation farmer. Farming has always been close to my heart. The greatest blessing given to our family was to be able to raise our four children on the farm.

This blessing has not come without difficulties. We, like other farmers, have faced drought, floods, crop failure, financial problems and hours of hard work. But we have endured. Our son is continuing to operate the family farm. He and other farmers are facing a new problem: Douglas County government and the Lawrence city fathers. High taxes, zoning regulations and the unfriendly attitude of county government will eventually eliminate agriculture and the family farm as we now know it.

I was present at the Aug. 18 County Commission meeting and was disappointed in the two commissioners that opposed Jim Flory’s proposal to eliminate some fat from the budget. We can’t ask for a cost-of-living raise when our taxes are raised. We don’t want money set aside to preserve our farmland. We do a good job of preserving it ourselves. But we will be forced to sell out to developers if taxes and regulations keep getting worse.

Agriculture and related jobs are important to the county. Just your estimate of grain production amounts to over $31 million. That doesn’t include livestock, poultry and produce production. Also, add jobs created by grain elevators, equipment sales, chemical and fertilizer sales and animal health care.

We’re not Kansas University, but we do still count in Douglas County.


kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

Couldnt say it any better, thank you. The 2 county leaders who voted for the increase have NO CLUE on what life is like for the common folks. They waste more money in a single day than comes in in tax revenue. If you or any business was ran this way, we would be out of business in a week. They ( 2 county leaders ) showed very poor and very stupid business smarts. Tell Mike to hang in there and keep the farm going strong.

gr 7 years, 9 months ago

Hope everyone is watching closely. They raise the tax rate in order to maintain "services". They have to, so they say. Well, when (if?) the economy rebounds and this same mill levy is generating so many additional tax dollars, just remember what they claimed now. They need to reduce the mill levy to maintain the same dollar amount.

It's like a jack. They keep ratcheting it up. Economy is down, so they raise the the rate to generate the same dollars. Economy is up, so they add additional "services". Then it's down, so they ratchet it up again.

Anyone who increases taxes in any form -- Vote them out!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

Heavy on ideology, devoid of any useful or accurate specifics, Louise.

I'll give an overly generous C-.

gr 7 years, 9 months ago

Maybe if we ended lots of programs our taxes would be quite a bit lower. Such as the empT. And many others.

kenos 7 years, 9 months ago

Thank you, Louise. The voices of good people like you are drowned out by socialists who think big government is the solution. Some of us know better, so keep speaking out.

I might add that I've attended the Douglas County Fair, and everything seems so normal, and people seem unconcerned with over regulation and taxation. Wouldn't this be a good opportunity to stir things up a bit?

Joe Hyde 7 years, 9 months ago

What would be great is to have the tax structure changed so that farmers and other owners of rural property receive significant tax breaks for doing things with their land that will benefit not just them but everyone.

Some examples:

Property free of blight from rusting, rotting vehicles and farm equipment? TAX BREAK Enrolled in the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife & Parks Walk-In Hunting program? TAX BREAK Crop fields terraced and outfitted with grass waterways to retard erosion? TAX BREAK Ponds and/or watershed lakes open to public fishing? TAX BREAK State testing proves your land does not contaminate creeks and streams? TAX BREAK Property provides good percentage of excellent wildlife habitat? TAX BREAK Certified organic farm? TAX BREAK Riparian forest adequate and protected from commercial logging? TAX BREAK House structure does not violate scenic ridgeline? TAX BREAK House clearly marked to enable rapid response by sheriff/fire/medical? TAX BREAK Farm kids have a B average or higher in public school? TAX BREAK

These and other tax breaks would add up come April filing time, and they would help farmers and other rural residents keep living out there in the countryside, which is exactly where they want to be. It benefits all of us who fear the expanding size of cities to have farmers keep living there -- as opposed to selling their property to developers for rapid conversion to sterile urban sprawl.

avoice 7 years, 9 months ago

I like your ideas in concept and understand the value of most of them. But I'm curious about giving a tax break for "farm kids have a B average or higher in public school." Why wouldn't we just give a tax break to every property owner who has children in public school achieving this level of success? Why, particularly, farm kids?

imastinker 7 years, 9 months ago

I understand where you are going with it, but it would be a bigger benefit to have a large tax base with low taxes to support government. This business of using taxes to control our behavior is unacceptable. They are trying to reward certian things - some of which are good and some of which I do not believe in.

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