Category Archives: Jobs

Update on Jail Staff Shortage

Bob Reed is the Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center Administrator. Taken from the jail’s website.

On June 16, 2022, Bourbon County Jail Administrator Bob Reed announced that inmates are being sent to other counties, because of staffing shortages.

On that day he announced that approximately 56 inmates out of 65 are being housed elsewhere, with a  cost to the county of $40 per day per inmate.

Reed said he and Sheriff Bill Martin are still working on the problem.

“As of 08-01-2022 we have 30 inmates (out of 54) being housed out,” Reed said. ” Depending on the county that is $35-45 per inmate per day.”

Currently, there are 24 being housed in Bourbon County with the rest in Allen, Cherokee, and Wilson County’s jails, according to the jail’s daily reports.

The Bourbon County Law Enforcement staff are still transporting inmates for hearings, etc.

“Some hearings are done by zoom and some are done in person,” Reed said.  ” The ones that are done in person are obviously transported here from the county they are being housed in and then transported back.”

“I currently have nine employees,” he said. “Three to five more will get us going.” Sixteen would make the jail fully staffed, he said.

“I have not been fully staffed for a long time,” he said.

Since June Sheriff Bill Martin and Reed have worked to raise the base pay from $12.50  an hour to $14.50 an hour, he said.

He said the county offers standard benefits of eye, health, dental, major medical insurance, sick time, and vacation.

Bourbon County Sheriff Bill Martin works at his desk at the Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center, Fort Scott.

To view the prior story:

Bo Co Jail Inmates Moved to Other Counties

USDA $202,000 Grant For Healthy Bourbon County Action Team

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Kansas Director for Rural Development Christy Davis today announced that USDA is investing $2,268,200 toward eight community projects across the state.

Project details of today’s eight announcements are:

  • A $33,000 grant will assist Thrive Allen County, Inc. with a Feasibility Study to create an incubator/accelerator space for Allen County. The space would increase economic development by creating an inviting, supportive space for entrepreneurs in the area.
  • A $202,000 grant will assist The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, in conjunction with partners Pittsburg State University Small Business Development Center and Kansas Works, expand services to small businesses. Assistance provided will include access to local employment opportunities, increased access in business education, workforce development, and job training opportunities. It is anticipated that 100 full time jobs will be created.
  • A $30,200 grant will help purchase a fully equipped patrol vehicle to enhance the work of the City of South Hutchinson‘s Police Department.
  • A $55,000 loan and a $35,000 grant will help purchase four transportation vehicles for individuals with developmental disabilities in Marshall and Washington Counties. The three transport vehicles and one maintenance truck will replace older vehicles with high mileage and high maintenance costs. Once all the vehicles are put into service, they will meet the basic needs of the individuals with developmental disabilities for many years to come.
  • A $577,000 loan and a $291,000 grant will provide additional funding for renovating the water and sewer system in the City of Caney. Funds previously obligated for this project include $600,000 from the Kansas Department of Commerce and loans and grants totaling $4,765,800 from USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal.
  • A $24,000 grant will be used toward an engineer to evaluate the current wastewater system for the City of Susank. A preliminary Engineering Report will outline any appropriate corrective actions needed.
  • A $479,000 loan and a $512,000 grant will supplement previous funding for improvements to the water supply system of the City of Caldwell.  Funds already assigned to this project include a prior award from Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan in the amount of $1,558,000 and Kansas Department of Commerce-Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $600,000. This project ensures that the city will have safe and reliable water for many years to come.
  • A $30,000 grant will be used to evaluate the wastewater collection system and treatment facility in La Harpe. An engineer will evaluate the current system and propose a plan for repairing and modernizing the water system. Once completed the city will have the information needed to develop a final wastewater system project.

New Pig Farm Being Located Near Bourbon County Line: Help Needed

All photos submitted.

A swine farm is being constructed along the county line next to Bourbon County

The company, Monarch Sow Farm, is owned by Perdue Premium Meat Company, headquartered in Salisbury, MD, and is located in Neosho County.  Their harvest facility is in Sioux Center, Iowa.

“The property is on the county lines of Neosho, Allen, and Bourbon; but in Neosho County,” said Jim Magolski, PHD, Perdue’s Senior Director of Hog Quality and Protocols. “The property is south of Alabama/250th Road, west of York/10th Road, and north of 39.”

The 240 acres of land was purchased in March 2021, and construction began February 2022.  The site will be completed in August of 2022, according to Magolski.

“We birth (farrow) and raise baby pigs until they are old enough to be weaned from their mothers,” said Magolski.

“The farm, when fully populated, will house 1600 sows across five barns, three barns comprised of large pens bedded with straw for gestation and two barns of individual birthing pens for the moms and piglets that is also bedded with straw and wood shavings; all raised in accordance to production protocols that exceed industry standards,” he said.  “Our program is part of a farming system that helps support new and young farmers, independent family farmers and generational farmers that are looking to grow sustainably, humanely raised pigs.”

“This farm is on the Bourbon County line, but is actually in Neosho County,” he said.  “As an antibiotic free production system, biosecurity and the distance to other swine is a key component of this type of production model’s success.  The combination of low pig density, an ideal climate for our open air barns, quality work force, ample access to bedding (straw), and close proximity to our network of independent family farms made this area an ideal location to expand our business while investing in a community we look forward to being a valued member of.”

“The piglets from this farm will be sold to farmers in the region to raise on their land as part of our weaned pig program,” he said. “This program has helped farmers find a way to make a living in agriculture, particularly young farmers who do not have the time to dedicate to farrowing.  Today we have over 600 producers in our network across the Midwest, including over 30 producers in eastern Kansas.”

Employees are needed for the farm.

“We’re hiring!” he said.  “We pay well above minimum wage and have many growth opportunities within a larger company. Ultimately we will have 12 employees at the location.”

For more information go to www.perduecareers.com and search “Kansas”.

 

 

 

 

 

Dairy’s Future: Less and Bigger Farms AND More Technology

David and Addi Foster with their children. Submitted photo.
June is National Dairy Month and fortscott.biz interviewed David and Lynda Foster, whose family operates Foster Dairy Farm southwest of Fort Scott on Hwy. 39 to get their perspective on the current state and the future of the dairy industry.
David and his wife, Addi, are in partnership with his mom and dad, Lynda and Gary Foster.
Lynda and Gary Foster, from her Facebook page.
Lynda’s grandfather, Ed Davis began the farm in the 1940s, she said.
Now the fifth generation, David and Addi’s oldest daughters, Ansley, 15, and Mayla, 13 are helping on the farm.
The following is an interview with David and Lynda.
Tell about the state of dairy farms in Kansas.
“Currently there are 209 dairy farms in Kansas and while we may have lost numbers of dairy farming operations, we are growing in cow numbers with Kansas currently having about 142,000 mature milking cows,” Lynda Foster said. “Kansas is ranked 15th in the nation.”
“There is a new Hillmar Cheese plant in construction expected to come online in about 2.5 years from now, where we also expect to see an additional 100,000 cows to be added to the state,” she said.
The Hillmar Cheese Processing Plant will be a state-of-the-art facility in Dodge City, in western Kansas.
How did the pandemic effect your farm?

“We experienced primarily supply chain disruptions,” David Foster said. “It didn’t change the work that needed to be done daily. We still traveled to get supplies like alfalfa, and feed and mineral. It canceled annual meetings in organizations that we are a part of. Like everyone, there were certain precautions that were to be made if someone got sick.”

What is happening now in the industry?
“Exports are still up,  and expected to be higher this year, 1 in 6 semi tanker loads of milk gets exported” Lynda said.
“Milk prices are on the rise and setting records in some areas, so are a lot of our inputs, especially feeds, fertilizers, fuels – all of these input costs are outpacing the increased milk price,” she said. “Some of the most notable current events in the dairy industry was, of course, the baby formula shortage.”
What is on the horizon for the dairy industry from your perspective?
“I believe that we will continue to see consolidation, dairy farms getting larger, smaller farms disappearing,” David said.  “I believe that the days of families deriving their sole income from the dairy are gone. Today, a farmer on a smaller dairy, less than 300 cows, needs a spouse off-farm to make it and provide for their families additional income as well as health insurance.”
“Automated Milking Systems will continue to grow in use and will allow farms to alleviate the woes associated with a depleted/barely existent labor market,” he said. “Recent reports showed that for every person that doesn’t have a job, there are 2 jobs available.  This means that farming operations struggle to compete in wages against other industries and also struggle to entice labor due to the traditional physical demands and long hours of a farming operation.”
Automatic, or robotic,milking systems usually operate without someone being present to supervise the milking process and have been in use for the past decade on commercial farms, according to sciencedirect.com
The Foster’s have an automated milking system that allows the cows to come in at will when they need milked. Submitted photo.
“I believe that you will see dairy farms continue to diversify operations to include other agricultural ventures that complement milking and farming, such as trucking or custom harvest, and hay operations,” he said.
  “Technologies such as methane digestors will allow a value-added return from cow manure and allow dairies to derive additional profits,” David said. “Dairies will utilize solar and wind to reduce peak energy costs.”
“I am always probing and putting efforts into exploring options for emerging technologies that would make our operation more efficient,” David said.  “The goal of sustainability is always to do more with less. We are the only dairy left in Bourbon County and one of a few left in all of southeast Kansas. There may be interest in adding on-farm processing in the future to serve the needs of this 4-state area with a local, quality, nutritional product.”
“I believe with food shortages touted and supply disruptions experienced, we will continue to feel an increasing demand for consumers to want to source local,” he said. “We saw this ramp up significantly in the beef industry as consumers wanted to buy direct from the farmer. We see this in farmer’s markets. Other areas have supported their local operations, and we may not be far from considering, but to expand our operations to include processing, or other technologies, we have to expand our team of people that can share our vision and hopes for a better future.”
“Some of the biggest obstacles I see for dairy and maybe shared by all businesses, will be labor, inflation, which is then tied to interest and increased taxes, and supply prices and availability,” David said.

Bo Co Jail Inmates Moved to Other Counties

The jail is known as the Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center, Fort Scott.

Bourbon County Jail inmates are being sent to other counties, according to the Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center Administrator.

“The Bourbon County Jail will be farming out most, if not all, of their inmates to other counties in southeast Kansas,” said Major Bobby Reed in an email with the daily reports sent to news entities. “The facility is doing this because of staffing shortages.”

“Approximately 56 inmates out of 65 are being housed elsewhere,” Reed noted to fortscott.biz.”The cost (to the county) is $40 per day per inmate.”

That amounts to $2,240 per day in payments to other counties, by Bourbon County.

Yesterday six inmates were transferred to another county, according to today’s Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office report.

Inmate’s families are not being notified ahead of the transfers, due to security reasons, Reed said.

Staffing is at a critical point.

“I have 16 positions when fully staffed,” he said.   “I have not been fully staffed in a long time. Twelve employees is the minimum to operate the jail 24/7.   That is 3 per shift.   Next Tuesday I will be down to 8 employees.”

Low wages are what seems to be making the employee retention critical.

“Starting Correctional officer’s make $12.50 per hour,” Reed said.   “(Bourbon County) Correctional Officers can get pay increases through the rank structure and a sargent makes $13.80 per hour.  I can not retain employees because of the low pay.  Then the employees that I have are getting worked all the time and are getting burnt out then they are resigning.”

People making $12.50 per hour, 40  hours a week make $500 a week. $500 times 52 weeks in a year is $26,000.

“Money wise, that is a commissioner and finance question,” Reed said.

He said the county offers standard benefits of eye, health, dental , major medical, sick time and vacation.

“I can not make people apply and I can not make people work,” Reed said.

“In my opinion the solution is to increase the pay,” he said.  “But to what, I don’t know. Agencies that start out at $15/hour are having issues retaining and hiring and agencies that start out at $17 are having the same issues.”

“Jails are being short staffed through out the nation…I know it is in Kansas,” Reed said.   “I think we are the first county in Kansas that has had to drastically reduce our numbers of inmates because of staffing issues.”

 

 

 

Respond to Employee and Resident Survey: To View Future Employment Needs

EMPLOYEE & RESIDENT SURVEY

FORT SCOTT – BOURBON COUNTY AREA

Calling all young adults ages 18 to 29!

YOUR RESPONSE IS APPRECIATED!

Do you work in Bourbon County? Do you live in Bourbon County? Either way or both, we want your thoughts about work and education. Our Chamber is assisting Bourbon County Regional Economic Inc on its workforce assessment. A few weeks ago, we asked for input from company leaders. Now, we want to know what employees and residents think. Even if you are not currently employed we want to know what you think. This survey only takes about five minutes and is completely confidential.

Thank you!

The Chamber is sending in

partnership with Bourbon County REDI

Greetings!

RE: Calling all young adults from 18 to 29 years of age – Your Response is Appreciated!

Young adults from the ages of 18 to 29 represent our future and we need your input on workforce, jobs and training opportunities. Did you know that your age groups (nationally) are the least likely to engage in a survey and yet YOUR input is the most important as we plan for the future.

The Chamber is supporting our economic development entity, Bourbon County Regional Economic Development, Inc, in gathering information on what you think about your jobs, your training and what you want as a future career. This is done with an on-line survey and only takes about FIVE MINUTES.  Your thoughts are really important. Take the survey today!

Please pass this along to family, friends, employees, co-workers, and others. The more input we get, the better. Bourbon County REDI and the Chamber need your help to make sure we keep good jobs in the area.

You will find the survey here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BourbonCountyResidentSurvey

Again, your input is very critical to ensuring REDI and the Chamber have a good view of the current and future employment needs.  Please take the survey today.

*PLEASE NOTE that we would like all ages of residents to take the survey, but we would like to particularly get a good representation of the 18-29 age group.  Your assistance is appreciated.

Thank you!

Halle Striler

Communications & Events Coordinator

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY COMPLETED THE SURVEY,

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE

& PARTICIPATION!

Thank you to our Chamber Champions listed below.

Chamber Champions Logo Image 2022 - Ledger Size.png
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram
Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce | 231 E. Wall Street, Fort Scott, KS 66701

Job Openings Sought For Help Wanted Flyer

Help Wanted Flyer
Does your company have job openings?
Send open job positions to [email protected] to be featured in our monthly Help Wanted flyer. This flyer will be distributed to local businesses, posted on fortscott.com, and is available at the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce for pick-up. Please send job openings and how people can apply by Tuesday, June 14th.
Thank you to our Chamber Champions for all of your support!

Bourbon County Workforce Assessment Responders Wanted

Chamber Logo Transparent Background.png
EMPLOYEE & RESIDENT SURVEY

FORT SCOTT – BOURBON COUNTY AREA

YOUR RESPONSE IS APPRECIATED!

Do you work in Bourbon County? Do you live in Bourbon County? Either way or both, we want your thoughts about work and education. Our Chamber is assisting Bourbon County Regional Economic Inc on its workforce assessment. A few weeks ago, we asked for input from company leaders. Now, we want to know what employees and residents think. Even if you are not currently employed we want to know what you think. This survey only takes about five minutes and is completely confidential.

Thank you!

The Chamber is sending in

partnership with Bourbon County REDI

Greetings!

RE: Important Survey for Employees and Residents of Bourbon County – Your Response is Appreciated!

The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is supporting Bourbon County REDI (Regional Economic Development, Inc.) on an important survey for employees and residents of Bourbon County.  This survey is looking for your input on jobs and training in our area, even if you are not currently working. They would like your input on your current job (if working), your education and training, and what residents, working or not, would like to see our region have in terms of job opportunities now and in the future.

Please pass this along to family, friends and others. The more input we get, the better. Bourbon County REDI and the Chamber need your help to make sure we keep good jobs in the area.

You will find the survey here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BourbonCountyResidentSurvey

Again, your input is very critical to insuring REDI and the Chamber have a good view of the current and future employment needs.  Please take the survey today.

Thank you!

Halle Striler

Communications & Events Coordinator

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY COMPLETED THE SURVEY,

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE

& PARTICIPATION!

Thank you to our Chamber Champions listed below.

Chamber Champions Logo Image 2022 - Ledger Size.png
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram
Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce | 231 E. Wall Street, Fort Scott, KS 66701

AD: Farm Service Agency Seeks Program Technician

The Bourbon County Farm Service Agency has a permanent full-time Program Technician position available.  Salary ranges from $32,570 to $58,158 (CO-3 to CO-7), depending on experience/education.

Benefits include health, life, retirement, annual and sick leave.

Must be a US citizen.

High school graduate or GED.

See full vacancy announcement at: http://www.usajobs.gov (type Farm Service Agency in the “what” box and Kansas in the “where” box) for details and instructions to apply on-line or by fax.

Complete application packages must be submitted online or fax by 11:59 pm EDT, June 1, 2022.

PLEASE CAREFULLY READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS ON “HOW TO APPLY” and “REQUIRED DOCUMENTS”!

Person selected will be subject to background investigation.

For questions, please call the Bourbon County FSA Office at 620-223-1880.

USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider,

Employer, and Lender.

AD: Farm Service Agency Seeks Program Technician

The Bourbon County Farm Service Agency has a permanent full-time Program Technician position available.  Salary ranges from $32,570 to $58,158 (CO-3 to CO-7), depending on experience/education.

Benefits include health, life, retirement, annual and sick leave.

Must be a US citizen.

High school graduate or GED.

See full vacancy announcement at: http://www.usajobs.gov (type Farm Service Agency in the “what” box and Kansas in the “where” box) for details and instructions to apply on-line or by fax.

Complete application packages must be submitted online or fax by 11:59 pm EDT, June 1, 2022.

PLEASE CAREFULLY READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS ON “HOW TO APPLY” and “REQUIRED DOCUMENTS”!

Person selected will be subject to background investigation.

For questions, please call the Bourbon County FSA Office at 620-223-1880.

USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider,

Employer, and Lender.

Input Needed For Workforce Survey

Chamber Logo New 2019.jpg

WORKFORCE SURVEY

FORT SCOTT – BOURBON COUNTY AREA

YOUR RESPONSE IS APPRECIATED!

Only one primary contact for each

business/organization needs to complete

the survey.  If you are not the right person

to answer workforce questions, please forward to the person within your organization who can respond.

Employers of all sizes are asked to respond.

Thank you!

The Chamber is sending in

partnership with Bourbon County REDI

Greetings!

RE: Important Survey of Workforce for our Area – Your Response is Appreciated!

The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is supporting Bourbon County REDI (Regional Economic Development, Inc.) on an important survey of workforce for our area.  This survey is looking for your input on the availability, education and training levels of your workforce and difficulties in hiring. It also asks some questions related to housing, as it impacts workforce attraction and retention.

 

This survey only needs to be completed by one PRIMARY contact for each business/organization. As such, I hope you will take about 15 minutes to answer this important survey.

If you are not the right person to address these questions, please forward to the person within your organization who can respond.

 

You will find the survey here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BourbonBusinessSurvey

 

Again, your input is very critical to insuring REDI and the Chamber have a good view of the current and future workforce needs.  Please take the survey today.

Thank you!

Lindsay Madison

President & CEO

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY COMPLETED THE SURVEY,

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE

& PARTICIPATION!

Thank you to our Chamber Champions listed below.

Chamber Champions Logo Image 2022 - Ledger Size.png

Labor/Housing and Retail Studies To Be Conducted By Bourbon County Eco Devo

Robert Harrington. Submitted photo.

There is a shortage of workers and also quality housing in the county.

The Bourbon County Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI) organization is working to address that problem.

The Landmark  National Bank houses the office of Bourbon County Regional Economic Development Inc. It is located at 200 S. Main, Fort Scott.
“We are conducting a labor and housing study that will be used to help create programs that will allow REDI to help our current employers and the communities within Bourbon County to attract people,” Robert Harrington, director of REDI said.
“We know that there is a shortage of workers and quality housing within our county,” he said. “We are hopeful that after these reports are published we will get a lot of information that we can use to help find solutions for both issues.”
Looking for Retailers That are Needed
REDI is also facilitating a retail survey at the same time.
 “We will use (this study) to help give us an idea of what new retailers the citizens of Bourbon County would like to see and the information we would need to attract such retailers,” he said.
The retail survey can be viewed at:
REDI Consultants Conduct Interviews, Send Surveys
REDI recently hired Goldstone Consulting, Moberly, Missouri,  and O’Brian and Associates, Joplin, Missouri, who will be conducting the interviews and putting together the studies after they accumulate all of the information, he said.

“They will also be giving the REDI Board a strategic plan based on the data we receive,” he said REDI is paying for the study

“The consultants that we hired will be conducting interviews with several of our business owners in the upcoming months as well as surveys being sent out to Chamber members and citizens across the county,” Harrington said.
“We are also hopeful that we will be able to send these same surveys out to students in the two high schools and the community college so that we can get a perspective of our younger generation on their needs and wants as well as hopefully entice them to stay and live and work here at home,” he said.
“The studies are being paid for by Bourbon County REDI and the results will be given to my board of directors by August of this year,” he said.