New Road Signs Continue “1 Kansas Farmer Feeds…” Mission | Cultures


The familiar grocery bag signs along Kansas freeways, a long-running Kansas Agri-Women project, are now reinvigorated with the recent installation of five new signs.

Kansas Agri-Women places new “1 Kansas Farmer Feeds Over 155 People + YOU!” »Signs around the state. This is a long-standing advocacy project of the organization. Shown in the photo is one of the newer signs, recently installed on Kansas Highway 75 southbound between Beto Junction and New Strawn, Kansas. (Courtesy photo by Warren E. Clark.)

The signs read: “1 Kansas farmer feeds over 155 people + YOU!” It’s a simple message that is the cornerstone of Kansas Agri-Women’s mission, which 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, Kansas, in 1977, was placed on his property. Thomas Signs supported the project from the start, later installing vinyl panels.

“We lost a true visionary in 2017 with the death of Jeanne Mertz. She helped show the impact our organization could have on spreading the message of agriculture, ”said Lori Bammerlin, president of Kansas Agri-Women.

When Jeanne died, the Mertz family set up a commemorative sign fund for the replacement and installation of signs. You can see the most recent signs in these places:

• I-470 Turnpike near the Tonganoxie exit, both east and west of the highway;

• Highway 75 near the Carbondale exit, on both the north and south side of the highway; and

• Highway 75 southbound between Beto Junction and New Strawn.

Signs for 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 its brands was installed when Jeanne Mertz was president of the national organization American Agri-Women.

“We are very happy to have the signs on our property. We are very proud of our company and our industry which helps feed America and the world by raising both grain and cattle, ”said Wanda.

Donate to the Road Signs Fund

KAW is suing the Mertz Memorial Grocery Sack Sign Fund to replace and install signs statewide. Join their efforts to recognize the impact of Kansas farmers and ranchers by going to

The sign project was conceived in the fall of 1977 when Harold and Jeanne Mertz traveled to San Angelo, Texas to purchase cattle. Along the miles of highways, they noticed billboards announcing everything except the land they were on. In Jeanne’s words, “Looking at these signs, I wondered why agriculture wasn’t advertising its products. “

When they returned home, she contacted some of the leaders of United Farm Wives of America and asked if they thought UFWA could undertake a project to promote agricultural products in our state. They presented the idea to their board of directors and the project was underway. UFWA was later named Kansas Agri-Femmes.

The first sign was installed in the spring of 1978. This project had a strong and influential history, but it was not without the support of two important partners: Thomas Sign Company and the landowners. Thomas Sign Company hand painted the original signs in 1978 and continued to maintain and replace the signs. And, landowners have generously offered to host signs on their properties.

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