Kansas is not just a flyover state and Stacy Mayo along with From the Land of Kansas is determined to prove it.
Mayo, From the Land of Kansas director, spoke at See, Hear Iola Friday to explain how the program works for Kansans. She joined the program in November 2013. Mayo grew up in Garden City with small business owners as parents. She graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture communications and journalism and minored in agribuisness and animal science and industry.
From the Land of Kansas began in 1988 and was housed under the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Though it has made some housing, trademark name and logo changes the program was revamped on Jan. 29, 2013 (Kansas’ birthday) and was launched to companies and potential member companies.
Mayo said the program is similar to a three-legged stool. The first part of the program is the members. Members are anybody who grows, raises or manages ag products. Examples are farmers, ranchers, manufacturing or craftsmanship done with 100 percent Kansas products, restaurants that serve one or more primary Kansas food ingredients and those that identify which food products are from Kansas or locally grown and agritourism.
The partners of the program represent the second leg. From the Land of Kansas partners with farmers markets and helps them with limited liability coverage at the markets. August has been deemed Farmers Market Month in the state. The program also works with retail partners who sell Kansas products.
The third leg is supporters of Kansas. These are businesses who don’t fit into other categories but are excited to be a part of Kansas.
“We are working to brand Kansas and its agriculture products,” Mayo said. “We also are working to have our logo in the retail stores that sell Kansas products.”
Mayo said the point of the program is to help local industries “celebrate our Kansas culture.”
“We have a great beef and wheat industry here but we can build up other products as we also support our current ones,” Mayo said.
For those who enjoy shopping online the program now has an online market place where members can sell their Kansas products. Items can be found at shop.fromthelandofkansas.com. Items include BBQ sauces, T-shirts, beef, dry mixes and candles.
“On our site you can click on the map of Kansas to see what members are in your area,” Mayo said.
Kansans can become members for $100 for a 12-month period.
THE commercial speaker was Karen Culver from H&R Block in Iola. The local store and one in Chanute is owned by Melody Snesrud. The business helps with tax preparation, filing income taxes and other tax needs.
Culver warned attendees of tax ID theft. This is when someone completes a fraudulent tax form with your information and tax ID number, which causes a huge problem when you then file your taxes.
“When this happens, you then have to prove your identity and it becomes a mess,” Culver said. “The IRS will never send you an email, phone call or contact you on social media. You will only get a letter in the mail through the United States Postal Service.
H&R block does various community service projects and set up a booth at the Allen County Fair this week. They will also be at Farm City Days.
There will be an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the Iola location, 901 N. State Street.
City workers Mike Phillips and Jim Baker gave the city update and spoke about the electric department.
The next See, Hear Iola will be at 10 a.m. Aug. 28.