Pork and beef producers struggling with soaring input costs have mediation services available through the Kansas Agricultural Mediation Service (KAMS), according to KAMS mediation coordinator Char Henton.

KAMS is part of Kansas State University’s Research and Extension, working with farm and ranch families confidentially to connect families with services and to help resolve disputes with government agencies, banks, suppliers and others.

KAMS identifies options for producers, and provides key services such as financial counseling through the Farm Analyst Program and legal counseling through Kansas Legal Services, says KAMS staff attorney Forrest Buhler.

Services are either free or fees charged are much below the industry average, he says.

“Our industry is in somewhat of an unusual situation,” says Tim Stroda, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Pork Association. “For three to four years we had a record run of profitability. Then, in October last year, everything turned upside down.”

Since then, Kansas pork producers were losing as much as $60-70/hog sold, until the market situation improved this spring, helped by strong demand for pork from overseas buyers. Even so, producers are still losing $20-25/head, he says.

Kansas is the ninth-largest pork-producing state and its hog operations consume more than 30 million bushels of grain annually. Based on current feed costs, producers will spend more than $165 million on corn and grain sorghum in 2008.

For more information on KAMS, call (800) 321-3276 or log onto http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/kams/.