What We Do

Our Mission: To promote the long-term health of the land and its people through research, education and advocacy that advance an economically viable, ecologically sound, and socially just food and farming system.

Since 1979, the Kansas Rural Center has worked to advance a diversified food and farming system. KRC helps farmers and ranchers implement alternative practices, enhance their natural resources, improve their livelihoods and support their rural communities. We also help farmers and citizens join together in growing opportunities for local and regional food.

From its earliest days, the Kansas Rural Center has provided research, education and advocacy to empower Kansans who care about the environment and natural resources, family farms, and communities both rural and urban.  Through educational events and workshops, field days, farm tours, and publications, KRC helps farmers and ranchers identify and implement ecologically-based farming practices and helps grow a local and regional food system to increase opportunities in farming as well as provide healthy food.  KRC also monitors state and federal farm and food policy development and programs to inform and engage the public in public policy decision-making.

KRC Women in Farming High Tunnel Tour NE Kansas

KRC periodically conducts research with partners including universities and colleges, farm, environmental and conservation organizations, and others to advance knowledge that will empower Kansas farmers and ranchers to adopt diversified farming systems, and we connect farmers and communities with research projects.

Current research projects include:

“Transitioning Farms and Ranches From One Family to the Next: Improving Farm Transitions with Better Programs and Services”– NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant; Collaboration with Indiana University. Identifying best management practices for transitioning farms between parties.

“Civic Agriculture for Civic Health:  Southwest Kansas Food Assessment” – A combination of research and grassroots dialogue will produce a food assessment for Southwest Kansas, similar to KRC’s Feeding Kansas Report, Dec. 2014.

To learn more about our projects, please visit our projects.

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From our earliest days helping farmers through the 1980’s Farm Crisis, and conducting on-farm research into sustainable farming practices, the Kansas Rural Center has provided education, resources and information to farmers, ranchers and others involved in creating healthy farm and food systems.

Through workshops, farm tours, our annual Farm and Food Conference, our publications and online resources, we provide education and information on ecologically-based farming practices, specialty crop production and marketing, enhancing biodiversity, making farm transitions, grazing management, conservation practices and principles, pollinator conservation, risk management strategies, integrating livestock into cropping systems, alternative marketing strategies, marketing, and farm and food policy and programs to enhance all of the above.

Recent workshops have included a moveable high tunnel construction workshop at Johnson County Community College; a series of Women in Farming workshops held across Kansas; and Feeding Kansas Dinner & Dialogue Forums. To learn more about these recent efforts and to access resources from them, please visit our projects.

On-going/upcoming education opportunities include:

Protecting Pollinators from the Harms of Pesticides – Ceres Trust: KRC will work to protect pollinators from the harms of pesticides by organizing a grassroots effort that engages farmers, beekeepers, conservationists, local food advocates and others. The project will raise awareness about the harmful effects of pesticides on pollinators, offer information and education on safe alternatives to pesticide use in agriculture, and advocate for public policy and programs that support a diversified, ecologically-based agricultural system that promotes pollinator health.

Monthly Grazing Calls – KRC has been hosting free monthly conference calls for graziers for several years. Dale Kirkham has facilitated the calls along with Gary Kilgore and Keith Mahoney, who have fielded questions and provided information. In September 2019, KRC and the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition (KGLC) worked out a transfer of the coordination of these calls to KGLC. Barry Barber, Cowley County rancher and former NRCS District Conservationist, will take over facilitating the calls from Dale Kirkham.
For the next few months, the same call-in number will work until KGLC has set up a new system. So, stay tuned for an announcement from KRC and the KGLC for that new number.
Currently, the calls are the second Monday of each month, from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm, and the call-in number is 1-877-304-346-2424

KRC Annual Farm & Food Conference – KRC holds an annual farm and food conference, featuring nationally-known speakers as well as local experts on a wide range of topics, from practical farming techniques to community engagement around local foods. To learn more about our conference, please visit KRC Conference.

Rural Papers – Rural Papers is KRC’s quarterly newsletter, which provides information on sustainable agriculture practices and highlights farmers who are using these practices.

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Our advocacy work focuses on advancing a diversified, ecologically-based farm and food system and supporting the farmers who grow healthy food to feed Kansans. Through grassroots mobilization, our policy publications, and involvement in state and national-level farm policy conversations and initiatives, we work to support independent family farms, healthy rural communities and a safe and healthy food supply for all.

Current Advocacy Efforts

“Community Food Solutions: Civic Agriculture for Civic Health in Kansas” – Kansas Health Foundation; This three-year project, started July 2016, will continue our work in mobilizing grassroots efforts that better incorporate Kansas farms into the food supply chain, increasing access to healthy, locally-grown foods for all Kansans.

Policy Watch – Legislative and Policy Watch Weekly E-Updates offers updates and alerts during the Kansas legislative sessions so that constituents can contact their legislators or attend hearings.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition – The Kansas Rural Center is a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food system, natural resources and rural communities.