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Advocacy and Government Relations

Those involved with K-State Research and Extension know how important research and extension outreach is to Kansas communities and how much value we add to the economy. However, sometimes it is difficult to articulate that message. The following talking points can help you tell our story and impact quickly, concisely and accurately - whether you are talking to your neighbor, county commissioner, state legislator or the media. Please reference the questions at the end to help you contemplate how to develop your own talking points specific to your community programs and needs. 

Why support K-State Research and Extension 
  • K-State Research and Extension serves as the front door for the state’s land grant university by using its statewide network to effectively partner with local, state and federal agencies. The integration of teaching, research and extension creates an organization capable of improving the well being of individuals, businesses, families and communities.
  • K-State Research and Extension worked with stakeholders, staff, volunteers and communities to identify the top priorities affecting Kansas citizens across the state. With their input, we identified five “grand challenges” facing every Kansan – global food systems, water, health, community vitality and developing tomorrow’s leaders. K-State Research and Extension is working to address these challenges through targeted research and extension programs developed specifically for urban and rural communities.
  • In a world where knowledge is power, K-State Research and Extension provides research-based, unbiased information to help Kansans make the best decisions for their businesses and families.
  • K-State Research and Extension plays a vital role in preparing to feed the expected world population of 9.6 billion people by 2050. We are creating innovative practices to help farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and communities solve challenges and grow the Kansas economy.
    • Example - Through K‐State Research and Extension research, translation of that research, and development of the technical changes required, agriculture productivity per farm worker has increased by an average of 5 percent each year*. This annual increase translates to roughly a $65 million economic benefit to Kansas.
      • *Labor Productivity Growth in the Kansas Farm Sector: A Tripartite Decomposition Using a NonParametric Approach, Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 41/3, December 2012
  • To ensure future generations have a reliable source of clean water, K-State Research and Extension develops and evaluates new practices and techniques as well as develop and implement programs to help Kansans maintain and improve water quality
    • Example – K-State Research and Extension agents and specialists provided 1,330 consultations to develop water-quality plans to reduce reservoir sedimentation.
  • K-State Research and Extension’s goal is to help citizens and communities – whether rural, suburban or urban – grow and prosper. We provide technical assistance, draw together community groups and offer research-based expertise to help people create a vision across traditional geographical, sociological and political boundaries.
    • Example - For more than 45 years, K‐State Research and Extension has provided strategic planning, goal setting, and a resource network for community leaders that have been shown to increase the likelihood of Kansas communities participating to accomplish set goals. The Kansas PRIDE program has assisted grassroots efforts to improve the quality of life in communities. Kansas PRIDE is a partnership among K‐State Research and Extension, Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas PRIDE, Inc. In 2015, 60 Kansas PRIDE communities reported more than 700 ongoing or completed projects and have raised nearly $400,000 to support projects. This benefit is consistent each year with participating communities.
  • K-State Research and Extension works with local, state and federal partners to provide programs that educate, support and motivate Kansans to make healthy lifestyle choices in order to live happier, healthier, more productive lives.
    • Example -The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) helps young families and youth living on limited resources—those most at risk to suffer from hunger, food insecurity and the inability to connect with available support systems. K‐State Research and Extension provided practical learning experiences in basic nutrition, food preparation, food budget management and food safety to 3,087 adults and youth last year through EFNEP. Research demonstrates that every $1 spent on EFNEP results in savings of $2.48 in food costs and savings of anywhere from $3.63 to $10.75 in future healthcare costs. For Kansas, the economic benefit is estimated to be between $4 million and $9.4 million in future healthcare savings annually.
  • K-State Research and Extension works to address poverty by connecting people with community services and providing essential education around finances, health and health care, access to and preparation of affordable food and other critical family issues.
    • Example - More than 43,000 Kansans participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP‐Ed) Education program last year. The goal of SNAP‐Ed is to improve the decisions made by SNAP eligible families relating to healthy food choices within a limited budget. SNAP‐Ed programming is coordinated and delivered by K‐State Research and Extension throughout nearly 80 counties in Kansas. K‐State Research and Extension receives $2.5 million in grant funding each year to coordinate this program. The program has been estimated to save Kansans $27 million in future health care costs annually.
  • K-State Research and Extension research and programs touch all aspects of the food system from the farm to the fork. Beginning with basic field production, through processing and transportation to grocery stores as well as education on healthful food choices, preservation and storage.
  • K-State Research and Extension is the preferred source of unbiased, science-based research information available to Kansas families, farms and businesses that is dedicated to adding value to your life.
  • K-State Research and Extension provides opportunities to form partnerships with local, state and federal organizations in order to offer broader programs that directly meet the need of local communities.
  • K-State Research and Extension provides volunteering opportunities for those looking to give back to their community.
    • Example - In 2015, K‐State Research and Extension volunteers provided in‐kind support totaling $6.8 million in value through shared time, talents and energy to extend the reach of Extension educational programs by investing a total of 317,704 volunteer work hours. The benefit to the public comes through the training and leadership development of these volunteers through such programs as 4‐H youth development, Master Food Volunteers, Master Gardeners, and other specialized volunteer roles and responsibilities.
  • In a world that continues to question where their food comes from and connect with the farmers that produce the food, K-State Research and Extension is the link that ties consumers and producers together. We help educate producers on new research and technologies to make growing our food supply more efficient and help educate consumers on where their food comes from as well as food safety and nutrition information. 
Why support your local Extension office
  • Local Extension offices provide invaluable service to the communities they serve. While all extension offices offer unique services that cater directly to the communities they support, they all share a few core principles that makes extension offices a public good.
    • Extension offices have equal access to leading, unbiased University research and programs.
    • Extension offices promote lifelong learning – whether through 4-H youth development, family development, business planning and development and more.
  • Extension doesn’t just offer access to University research, but also the expertise of agents to take research and make it applicable to those in the community.
  • Extension offices and agents provide free and equal access to information for people of all ages and backgrounds.
    • Extension agents partner with multiple county, state and national organizations to disseminate information and implement programs to reach collective goals.
K-State Research and Extension and the economy
  • K-State Research and Extension provides unbiased information to help Kansans make informed decisions for their businesses and families in order to live healthier, happier, more productive lives.
  • Extension offers programs that aim to help people, no matter what their financial situation, succeed. Examples include providing local support to volunteers for free income tax assistance, reviewing prescription drug plans and helping senior citizens make informed decisions related to choosing the right Medicare Part D plan and more.
  • Field days and workshops geared towards farmers and ranchers provide necessary information to influence new management decisions
    • Example - Kansas ranks first in the nation for sorghum and wheat production; we also rank in the top 10 for Sunflowers, Canola, Hay, and Corn; and 11th for soybean production (Kansas Ag Statistics). In 2015, 10 intensive crop production workshops were held across the state to encourage understanding and adoption of the latest crop production research. Based on participant evaluation data, the learning that took place provided the necessary information to influence management decisions resulting in an anticipated net economic gain of $6.2 million as reported by those participants completing the survey.
Economic value of K-State Research and Extension
  • Investing in K-State Research and Extension benefits everyone in Kansas. Studies have shown a long-term benefit-cost ratio of $33.60 for agricultural research, yielding a 10.2 percent average annual rate of return to agricultural productivity that can be directly correlated with in-state investment.
  • In FY 2016, the Kansas legislature invested $46.8 million to provide foundational funding for Kansas State University’s Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. That investment, along with additional funds from competitive grants, contracts and other extramural sources, local governments and federal agencies, main campus, and other revenue sources, resulted in a total budget of $165.9 million or a 254 percent increase.
  • Local K-State Research and Extension offices are unique because they are partially funded by both state and county funds. Extension agents report to local extension boards and to county commissioners as well as state staff.
  • Investing in K-State Research and Extension is an investment in education and lifelong learning. 
How to craft your own advocacy talking points

What are issues your community really cares about?

Identify issues in your community that you are working to address. Whether resources for seniors, youth activities, family development, introducing emerging agricultural practices, etc.

What does your Extension office offer to address these issues?

Your Extension office has services and materials that address every one of these issues, and more!  Take time to articulate exactly how YOUR office impacts the issues your community cares about the most.  To supplement the talking points included here, make a list of your office’s impact on your community: How many people come through your door each day?  How do you help individuals who need research assistance?  You get the idea.

2016 Response to the Legislative Request