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KU News Release

April 13, 2005
Contact: Karl Brooks, history department, (785) 864-9464.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Kansas farmers, agricultural historian to discuss family farms, rural economies


WHAT: A public forum on the health of family farms and rural communities in Kansas. The events are free to the public through a grant provided by the CHS Foundation and are sponsored by the University of Kansas history department and the Kansas Farmers Union.

WHEN and WHERE: 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union at KU

WHO: Six panelists will discuss "Farmers, Food and Rural Communities in the 21st Century" at 3:30 p.m.
- Pete Farrell, cattle rancher near Beaumont in Greenwood County
- Laura Fortmeyer, farms and ranches near Fairview in Brown County
- Jim French, family farmer near Partridge in Reno County
- Tom Giessel, farms in partnership with his brother, Jay, near Larned in Pawnee County
- Dan Nagengast of Lawrence, executive director of Kansas Rural Council and organic grower
- Nancy Vogelsburg-Busch, sheep farmer near Home City in Marshall County

Deborah Fitzgerald, president of the Agricultural History Society, will speak at 7:30 p.m. on "Every Farm a Factory: the Industrial Ideal in American Agriculture." Fitzgerald is an associate professor in the history of technology program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of the award-winning book with the same title as her lecture.
KU environmental historians Donald Worster, the Joyce and Elizabeth Hall professor of U.S. history, and Karl Brooks, assistant professor of history, are coordinating the events.

Ruth Anne French-Hodson, Partridge senior and a Rhodes scholar from KU, who has worked as a research assistant with Worster for the history of world agriculture course, will introduce the panel. She is the daughter of Lisa and Jim French, one of the panelists.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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