MANHATTAN—Familiar grocery-sack signs along Kansas highways, a long-time project of Kansas Agri-Women, are now being reinvigorated with the recent installation of new mission signs.
The new signs read: "1 Kansas Farmer Feeds More than 155 People + YOU!" It is the cornerstone message of Kansas Agri-Women’s organization, whose mission is to connect producers and consumers through understanding.
Kansas Agri-Women was founded in 1974 and one of its original members Jeanne Mertz was the visionary behind the sign project. The first sign, which was hand-painted by Thomas Signs of Manhattan, Kan., in 1977, was placed on her property. Thomas Signs has supported the project since the beginning, later installing vinyl signs.
"We lost a true visionary in 2017 on the passing of Jeanne Mertz. She helped show the impact our organization could have on spreading the message of agriculture," said Lori Bammerlin, Kansas Agri-Women president.
Upon Jeanne’s passing, the Mertz family set up a sign memorial fund to go toward replacing and installing signs. These news signs have been placed along Kansas roadways at the I-470 Turnpike-Tonganoxie Exit, both eastbound and westbound sides of the interstate; Highway 75 near the Carbondale exit, both northbound and southbound sides of the highway; and on the Hwy 75 southbound side between Beto Junction and New Strawn.
The signs on Highway 75 near the Carbondale exit are on the property of Wanda and Darrel Kinney. Wanda has been a member of Kansas Agri-Women for 40 years and one of her signs were installed when Jeanne Mertz was president of the national organization, American Agri-Women.
"We’re so pleased to have the signs on our property. We’re very proud of our business and industry of helping feed America and the world by raising both grains and cattle," Kinney said.
Kansas Agri-Women focuses on ag education and advocacy. The organization provides professional and leadership development opportunities through its affiliation with American Agri-Women, the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agri-business women.