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Transit officials steer Missoula visitors in the right direction

A place, sort of.

I love that town.

June 21, 2013 at 11:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Bill introduced to abolish death penalty in Kansas

Texas and Illinois didn't think there was any question about guilt, but then DNA exonerated some folks that had already been killed. You can release people who have been improperly imprisoned, but you cannot reanimate people who have been unjustly killed.

March 7, 2013 at 10:59 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Bill introduced to abolish death penalty in Kansas

Yeah, because look at all those people we don't have in prison. I don't think it works as a deterrent. Neither does prison, for that matter.

March 7, 2013 at 10:57 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Symposium: Climate change putting stress on Kansas water resources

I think those LEMAs are a major piece of the puzzle. The LEMAs, combined with "buy and dry" programs, and advances in irrigation technology and knowledge should help extend the usable life of the aquifer. I am not sure if sustainable use rates can ever be achieved. The recharge rate is so low in Kansas that it seems that any use is depletion. I really need to learn more about the specifics of that, however.

March 3, 2013 at 7:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Symposium: Climate change putting stress on Kansas water resources

I moved from the southeast, so I actually think that Lawrence is drier than the swamp I crawled out of.

Regarding the cotton, I understand that you were happy with the results of the cotton that you planted as a kid. However, I think that the experience of people who plant hundreds of acres of it and depend on it for their livelihood carries more weight.

March 3, 2013 at 10:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Symposium: Climate change putting stress on Kansas water resources

Water rights are private property rights in Kansas. There is a moratorium on new wells and each water user is allocated a certain amount per year. What more would you have government do? Without a major government intervention that seizes all of the water rights, I am not sure what you would want to happen.
Irrigation for crops is something like 90% of all water taken from the Ogallala. The government could pay people to convert to dry land farrming, but the yields would plummet and western Kansas would be faced with painful economic restructuring. I am no fan of Brownback, but I think he is doing what he can given the circumstances. That conference is bringing together end-users, researchers, and policy makers to share their perspectives and latest research. That is a model that has been successfully used for a great many development or natural resource management problems. At that conference last year, economic models of water use were discussed (the value of every inch of water in bushels applied to a crop), alternative irrigation strategies and technologies, developments in policy with regard to crop insurance and short irrigation, etc.

The problem is industrial agriculture (understood as a set of practices and related economic activity) more than it is Brownback.

March 3, 2013 at 9:18 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Symposium: Climate change putting stress on Kansas water resources

For at least the last two years there has been the Governor's Water Conference. There will also be one next year. The focus is almost exclusively on western Kansas water issues.

March 2, 2013 at 11:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Symposium: Climate change putting stress on Kansas water resources

The farmers I know who grow cotton are all in SW Kansas (though I know of a few around Winfield, too) and say that they barely have enough hot days to get an adequate harvest down there. The plant may grow, but boll production will suffer without sufficient growing days. Conventional wisdom for SW Kansas uses Hwy 160 through Ulysses as the cut-off for cotton. You may find some a little north of there, but I doubt there will be any in Oberlin.

March 2, 2013 at 1:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Symposium: Climate change putting stress on Kansas water resources

Cotton is a perennial plant. However, I think it is managed as an annual when used for fiber production. Cotton won't work in most parts of Kansas though - not a long enough growing season.

With that said, I'm with you on the comparison between Kansas and Mississippi. I thought I left the south behind when I cam out here. Oh well.

March 2, 2013 at 12:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Symposium: Climate change putting stress on Kansas water resources

The reporting on Steeple's practices is incomplete and poorly fit into the article. I was at that meeting last night and this is what I understood him to say:

1. He does not irrigate. Most of Rooks County, where his farm is, does not overlie the Ogallala. All of his water comes in the form of precipitation. Mostly he does not like not-ill because he sees other farms close to him that have greater run-off. Feddema chimed in to say that this could be because local soils have more clay, which expands when wet.
2. He does not use no-till, but does use an undercutter plow. Many people consider this to be type of conservation tillage. The plow blade travels a few inches under the soil, loosening the soil and cutting the roots of weeds but largely leaving the soil unturned. This is very different from conventional tillage with a one way plow. Steeples said that he hasn't used that type of plow in over a decade. He thinks that he gets better water retention with this method than his neighbors who use no-till.
3. I don't think he grows corn at all. In a private conversation after the symposium, he told me that dryland corn only works 2 out of every 5 years in his area.
4. I can't speak to what subsidies he collects. He did say he uses crop insurance. But you can find out by going here and looking for yourself. http://farm.ewg.org/index.php
That would be much better than making uninformed statements when you obviously haven't the faintest idea of whether your statement is factual or not. He could collect quite a lot. I don't know and don't really care.

If someone else was there, please feel free to amend or correct my understanding of his statements.

March 2, 2013 at 12:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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