Rich brothers to receive Bankers Award

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Uniontown resident Bobby Rich said he and his brother Randy aren't as active in farming as they used to be, though they still try to practice good conservation efforts on their land.

Because of their decrease in farming, Bobby said, he and Randy were pleasantly surprised to receive this year's Kansas Bankers Award presented by the Bourbon County Conservation District. Bobby will accept the award at the BCCD annual meeting at 6:30 p.m., Saturday in the commons area at Uniontown Junior Senior High School. Randy is currently in North Dakota, Bobby said, and will not be present at the meeting.

Though it was a shock, Bobby said he's proud of their of award.

"To be honest, I don't know why we got it," he said. "But we are extremely happy we received it."

One reason they may have received the award, Bobby said, is because he and Randy have worked for many years to convert certain crops to fescue and native grass, which help prevent soil erosion. He added that they've also built plant strips around their fields so that they could have easier access to the fields during wet weather. That, too, can help conserve soil.

Bobby said most of their conservation efforts and previous farm work were ways of making their lives easier. However, they did not think anyone was watching and recognized their conservation methods.

"We were completely unaware that anyone knew about what we were doing," he said. "We were doing things to conserve the soil as a way of making life more pleasurable for us. I guess you never know who's watching."

Bobby said the brothers still own 27 head of cattle, but they have significantly cut back on the amount of farming they do. He said the amount of time and effort it takes to consistently do farm work "just got to be too much." He added that farming often conflicted with their full-time jobs.

"Farming can become too demanding, sometimes," Bobby said. "It's costly, and you know Mother Nature doesn't wait for our employer so we could take off."

Along with farming, the brothers used to operate a truck driving business together. In the mid-1980s, however, they closed it down and took separate jobs. Bobby said he still works in the transportation and truck driving business, while Randy works in the pipe fitting industry.

The Rich brothers were not available for a photograph to accompany this article.

The Banker's Award is one of four awards that will be presented to local residents at Saturday's meeting. Other award winners still to be profiled in upcoming issues of The Fort Scott Tribune are Fort Scott resident Larry Martin, receiving the Grassland Award; and Overland Park resident Dennis King, receiving the Wildlife and Parks Habitat Award.