Hosting My Annual Kansas Conservation Tour
Kansas Dairy Development in Deerfield
It was great to have so many people from across Kansas join me on this year’s Conservation Tour. This year, we were in Southeast Kansas and started the tour at Kansas Dairy Development (KDD) in Deerfield.
The purpose of this stop was to learn from KDD about the water conservation techniques they use to raise calves and run an efficient dairy farm. KDD has invested in energy free and overflow-free water tanks, and through these efforts, water consumption has dropped more than two gallons per head, per day across the facility. Thank you to Jason Shamburg, owner of KDD, for hosting us and for sharing his insight on sustainability and conservation of resources for our state.
Knoll Brothers, Inc. in Garden City
Our second stop was at Knoll Brothers, Inc. in Garden City. Shane and Zack Knoll operate an irrigated farm where they grow wheat, corn and sorghum. As fourth-generation farmers, they understand the importance of sustainable farming practices so that their family farm can continue for generations to come. Thank you to Shane and Zach for hosting us and for sharing their expertise with us during my Conservation Tour.
Circle Land & Cattle Corporation in Garden City
For the final stop, we visited Circle Land & Cattle Corporation in Garden City to learn about their water conservation methods to responsibly utilize water from the Ogallala Aquifer.
Circle Land & Cattle (CLC) was established in 1972 and was strategically developed with water pumped from the Ogallala Aquifer. As water in the Ogallala is declining, water conservation is a top priority.
CLC’s conservation efforts help support Garden City’s water supply enabling the city to continue to grow and meet the water needs of the community. Thank you to Circle Land & Cattle for hosting us and sharing insight into their success with sustainable water conservation.
On Sunday evening, prior to my 16th Annual Conservation Tour, I joined local leaders, education professionals, scientists and area agricultural producers to learn about and discuss the state of the Ogallala aquifer. We heard from industry experts on ways to mitigate depletion of the water supply and efforts to recharge the aquifer that is vital to the economy of Southwest Kansas.
Thank you as well to Goodtimes Grill from Copeland for serving us lunch during the final stop on my Conservation Tour. I first ate Goodtimes Grill during Dodge City Days and was excited they could serve more than 100 of us during the tour.
Hosting U.S. Army Chief of Staff General McConville in Kansas
On Thursday, I hosted General James McConville, the 40th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley. At Fort Leavenworth, we spoke to soldiers participating in the Army’s Pre-Command Course, a training program created to help future Company Commanders and First Sergeants prepare for command. These soldiers are the future leaders of our Army, and they display true commitment to service of our country.
During our visit to Fort Riley, we met with soldiers and saw some of the vital training capabilities this base offers. While Fort Riley has projected growth over the next several years, for further gains to be made, we have to overcome the current recruiting crisis. We are in the most challenging recruiting environment since the creation of the all-volunteer force. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to work with the Army to make certain they have the resources needed to address this crisis. Our visit to Fort Riley concluded with a chance to visit with local leaders in the Fort Riley community. Support from the community is critical in these efforts to maintain a strong national defense, and we are grateful to these Kansans for making the Fort Riley community a great place for its soldiers and their families to call home.
Thank you to General McConville for his leadership and for taking the time to visit these bases in Kansas, which continue to be a source of pride for our state. Special thanks as well to General Theodore Martin, Fort Leavenworth Commanding General and Fort Riley First Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General Niave Knell for hosting us, and to all of our soldiers and their families who sacrifice to defend and serve our great country.
Monica Bassett – 2022 Army Spouse of the Year
While at Fort Riley, I met Monica Bassett who was named the 2022 Army Spouse of the Year. A military spouse of eight years and mom of two, Monica is currently stationed at Fort Riley with her husband, Major Gregory Bassett. It was an honor to meet her and speak with her about the work she is doing at Fort Riley to serve our soldiers, their families and the surrounding local community.
Military service is family service. Thank you to Monica for her sacrifice, service and dedication to our military community.
Showcasing Kansas’ Contribution to Space
We are approaching the dawn of a new era in space. In the coming days, NASA’s Artemis I mission will launch on the first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from Kennedy Space Center. Artemis I is an uncrewed test flight of NASA’s Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon and beyond.
I recently hosted the head of NASA in Kansas to showcase our state’s contributions to NASA and the Artemis mission. Watch the video below to learn more about Administrator Nelson’s visit to Kansas.
President Biden’s Student Loan Announcement
President Biden’s $300 billion plan to cancel student loans will fuel inflation and do nothing to actually lower the cost of higher education. There is no doubt that times are hard for many Americans, but canceling student loan debt is unfair to the millions of Americans who worked their way through college, chose careers that didn’t require a college degree, saved money and paid off their own debt or enlisted in the military. Forcing Kansans, who worked hard and played by the rules, to pay other people’s debt is not right.
On Tuesday, I was in Humboldt and met with a number of folks including Mayor Nobby Davis and City Administrator Cole Herder. I also toured the downtown square with Paul and Alana Cloutier of A Bolder Humboldt who moved to Kansas from California about five years ago. This organization was established to help bolster the community by connecting with large employers and identifying businesses to recruit to the area. They also help rehabilitate storefronts in the downtown district, which is now home to a confectionery store, a coffee shop, several restaurants, clothing boutiques and video golf.
Humboldt’s efforts go beyond their downtown and are one of the reasons why the community has been featured in newspapers and magazines across the nation. Thank you to everyone who welcomed us into their stores and stopped for conversation.
Touring Orizon Aerostructures in Chanute
This week, I visited Orizon Aerostructures for a tour of their assembly plant in Chanute and to learn more about the work they do manufacturing aviation parts here in the heartland. Founded in 2016, this company services commercial, defense and general aviation. They currently have six locations, and the plant in Chanute is the newest facility.
In 2021, Blue Origin announced a multi-year partnership with Orizon to work on Blue Origin’s engine program and their reusable heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Because of the success they have seen with their southeast Kansas location, and the strong work ethic of Kansans who work in this facility, Orizon is looking to double its size. Currently, there are 378 employees working at the Chanute location.
It was great to hear about the continued efforts by Orizon to make certain aviation parts are manufactured domestically and specifically, right here in Kansas. Thank you to Orizon CEO Charlie Newell and President Henry Newell, as well as Charlie’s son Rick Newell, for hosting me during this visit. Thanks as well to Todd Newman, Chanute City Manager, Matt Godinez, Chanute Economic Development Director and Director of the SEK Regional Planning Commission and Jane Brophy, Chanute Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, for joining us.
Visiting KwiKom Communications in Iola
This week, I visited KwiKom Communications in Iola to learn from them about the work they do to provide Internet access to Kansans. First opened in 2004, KwiKom Communications provides high speed Internet coverage to 45 counties in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. One of their first business opportunities was helping grain elevators access the Internet to check commodity information. Today, they continue to work to help bring broadband access to rural areas of Kansas and to work with other providers to make certain that our Kansas communities are connected through reliable, high-speed Internet coverage. Thanks to John Terry of KwiKom Communications for hosting me during this visit and to Jonathan Goering, Economic Development Director for Thrive Allen County, for joining.
Attending the Manhattan Chamber’s Established Business Leaders Lunch
On Thursday, I attended the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Established Leaders lunch group. It was great to join this group to discuss current issues facing the local Manhattan community. I expressed my shared goals of supporting Fort Riley, Kansas State University, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) and other economic development projects like the Scorpion commitment. The Manhattan Chamber continues to be a driving leader in the community, supporting local businesses and promoting economic growth for the area. Thank you to Jason Smith, Chamber CEO, for the opportunity to stop by and visit with chamber members.
Touring Vortex Global in Salina
I recently visited Vortex Global in Salina, a family-owned company that employs more than 400 people in the community. The components produced by Vortex are used in the manufacturing process of food and beverages, plastics and chemicals, minerals and metal and pharmaceuticals. During this visit, I was impressed by the work ethic, dedication and culture of this organization, as well as the wide scope of equipment produced right here in the heart of Kansas. Thank you to Vortex CEO Travis Young for hosting me during this visit and for investing in the Salina community.
Attending the Alton Summer Jubilee Parade
It was great to be at the Alton Summer Jubilee Parade on Saturday and see familiar faces and speak with Kansans about the issues that matter to them. I also enjoyed the chance to talk with several members of the Alton American Legion during the parade.
Visiting VFW Post #8873 in Stockton
On Saturday, I also had lunch at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #8873 in Stockton. It is always an honor to spend time with those who have served our nation, and I am grateful to each of these veterans for the sacrifices they made to protect and defend our country.