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Local Farm Task Force Brings Change To Town
"The satisfaction of working together is so great everyone wonders why we ever quit," says Tom Broeckelman, member of a "task force" set up in Quinter, Kan. to provide support among farmers and business people in the spirit of old-time threshing bees and barn raisings.
The group, which now numbers about 50 members, got its start when a local farmer's machinery was foreclosed upon. To help him, machinery swaps were set up and other farmers began to look at the idea as a way of cutting costs. The group was soon formed to handle the mechanics of such swaps. Now, there are 25 to 30 farmers who've set up such machinery swaps and the group ¨ called the Community Economic Task Force ¨meets every two weeks.
"There's a sign-up book in the town hall where farmers list equipment available for swaps. Farmers look through it and, if they see a possible match, they work the swap out among themselves. They can use a flat-rate book of average custom rates to help figure out a fair arrangement," says Broeckelman, who adds that even farmers who aren't in financial trouble have gotten involved.
One swap took place between two farmers, one of whom had a new planter and one who had a new disk. The one farmer does all the planting on both farms and the other does all the disking.
"So far there haven't been any problems," says Broeckelman, who is one of several members of the Task Force who's not a farmer. He publishes the local newspaper, the Gove County Advocate. He, too, worked out a swap recently when he drove truck for a local farmer and the farmer helped him out by hauling away a pile of unused equipment from behind his building.
Everyone agrees there's a new attitude in town. "Before the task force, if a farmer's tractor broke down, everybody knew about it but waited for him to ask for help. Now he gets 10 offers of help the same day it happens," says Broeckelman.
At regular meetings, the group focuses on helping members facing foreclosure or other problems, and discusses current laws and what needs to be done to change some of them. However, the group doesn't plan to picket or demonstrate like other more radical farm groups. Broeckelman says it's more like a support group that lets them talk about their problems and helps them realize they're all in the same boat.
"There are usually a couple businessmen at the meetings. They also offer to swap their services, such as a local CPA who offered to help farmers with their books," says Brockelman.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Community Economic Task Force, Gove County Advocate, Quinter, Kan. 67752 (ph 913 754-3651).

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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #5