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Kansas Youth Water Advocates to teach the ‘worth of water’

When it comes to H2O, a Kansas youth organization recognizes the importance of educating the next generation. On March 23- 24, 14 students will learn about the importance of water advocacy and the water issues that face the state of Kansas, with an emphasis on Western Kansas. The Kansas Youth Water Advocates, a group started by Southwest Kansas FFA District Treasurer, Grace Roth from Holcomb, will host the conference for youth at the Heritage Inn in Garden City.

The conference will give students in Southwest Kansas the ability to learn about water issues, water conservation, the Ogallala Aquifer, and so much more about Western Kansas water. A previous conference was conducted this past summer at Kansas State University in Manhattan,Kansas.

Water is an issue that isn’t limited to southwest Kansas, it is an issue that affects all 105 counties in the state of Kansas. The conference will educate students on issues and will expose them to the most up to date research and data from the Kansas Water Office, Kansas Geological Survey, The University of Kansas, Colorado State University, and Kansas State University. The conference will bring students and industry leaders alike to work on proper ways to advocate through training and topic knowledge. As the Kansas Youth Water Advocates point out someone once said “When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.”

The conference is also being conducted with the help of the Kansas Water Office, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Farm Bureau, Finney County Farm Bureau, Kansas Research and Extension, Roth Farms, Kansas State FFA, and Kansas State University.

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Kubota’s new Sidekick tailored for large farms and ranches

Kubota doubled-down on cargo and towing capacity for its new Sidekick utility vehicle — and made it speedier to boot.

Given a formal debut last week at the National Farm Machinery Show, Kubota’s RTV-XG850 is run on a 48 hp engine and can reach speeds of up to 40 mph, which compares to 29 mph for other RTV-X models and is especially capable for farmers and ranchers who have a lot of ground to cover on their properties.

The vehicle has the look and feel of something above and beyond a typical utility-vehicle offering. The bed is slightly wider and shorter so that the load sits over the axle better, offering weightier capacities and better control. There are 55 new accessories that can be outfitted onto this machine (think premium audio system, sports roof, and bed extender, to name a few), with some classic ones, such as the front bumper, LED headlights, and tilt wheel, being standard. Notable, too, is that the Sidekick is equipped with a continuously variable transmission with centrifugal clutch, and has a water-cooled engine to improve torque.

During the walkthrough at #NFMS18, the product manager zeroed in on the electronic power steering, which adjusts the power steering based on speed so as to give the driver better handling and stability. Tuned front and rear independent suspension means a consistently smooth ride, and engine-assisted braking allows for greater control and increased safety during descents.

“On the farm, around the pasture and in the woods, the Kubota Sidekick is the best multi-use machine on the market and is Kubota’s fastest, strongest, and most agile utility vehicle yet,” Project Manager Roger Gifford said.

Of course, you can’t talk about utility vehicles without talking about the muscle they offer. The steel cargo box has capacity of 1,000 pounds, and is made with hauling gear, tools, firewood, and more in mind (the hydraulic lift is optional). The Sidekick can tow 1,550 pounds on an incline and 2,000 pounds on flat ground. 

Not to be overlooked, since this is something that Kubota said customers have asked for, the RTV-XG850 is available in two new colors, green and black, in addition to orange and RealTree AP camo.

Models on display were listed at $14,772 with $2,176 in accessories and a premium model at $15,552 with $2,658 in accessories.

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Minnesota grad students call for GMO deregulation

Seven University of Minnesota grad students are fed up with the regulatory process for GMO crops and asking for their U.S. representatives to help. The University of Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences students sent a letter requesting the U.S. representatives co-author a bipartisan bill to deregulate the process for developing GMO crops that have the potential to produce sustainable sources of fiber and fuel (not food). 

In the letter, the students detail how the process to obtain government approval of one GMO crop can cost between $20 million and $30 million, and generally only big corporations can fit that bill, limiting marketplace competition.

In addition to cutting costs, the students are also requesting that the regulatory process for approving GMO fuel and fiber crops fall under the EPA or the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, not both. They hope by limiting the request to apply to only fuel and fiber crops it will make it less challenging to write and pass such a bill.

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Watch 7:57