Jan 14, 2020 8:05 PM

Russell Stover to cut jobs in some areas, add jobs in Kansas

Posted Jan 14, 2020 8:05 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Russell Stover Chocolates plans to close some facilities and stores nationwide but the expected loss of about 400 jobs will be offset by new jobs resulting from expansion in other areas, the company announced Tuesday.

The company will close distribution and fulfillment centers in Butler, Missouri, and Cookeville, Tennessee, with work from the Tennessee plant moving to a plant in Corsicana, Texas.

The candy maker plans to add a total of 300 jobs at plants in Corsicana, as well as in Iola and Abilene, Kansas.

A plant in Montrose, Colorado, will be closed in 2021, which will increase the workload at the two Kansas plants, according to a company statement. Russell Stover also plans to close some low-traffic stores during the next year but it did not specify where those stores were located.

The changes are part of a consolidation effort begun in 2018, four years after the Kansas City-based company was purchased by Lindt & Sprungli of Switzerland.

Russell Stover had a “strong” fiscal year in 2019 but must adapt to changing tastes and preferences, CEO Andy Deister said.

“Just as consumers change their preferred flavor or package, they’re changing the way they shop for our products, and we’re making sure we have the infrastructure to deliver on their expectations,” Deister said.

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Jan 14, 2020 8:05 PM
Kansas Farm Bureau Insight: Stronger together

By GLENN BRUNKOW, Pottawatomie County farmer and rancher

We have flipped the calendar to a new year, and that also means the “silly season” of politics is starting in earnest. This year promises to be an even sillier year than most because of state and national elections.

More than just about any year I can remember, there is more at stake for our nation, state and, most importantly, for rural Kansas.

Increasingly we are seeing our population drop in most of rural Kansas, which means our political influence also is shrinking. We are seeing a shift of political power swing to more populated portions of the state. This could spell trouble for agriculture as many of those in more urban areas are more removed from agriculture and often don’t fully understand our point of view or how issues affect us.

That is why it is so important for us to tell our side of the story, for us to let our views and stances on critical issues be known. If we don’t advocate for ourselves no one else will, and our interests will be forgotten.I know many of you are like me. I feel like I am so bogged down in my day-to-day activities and work that I don’t have time to get involved. It is hard to know how to make your opinion heard and even harder to know how to make your vote count. It seems awfully lonely out here in rural Kansas and in agriculture.

I agree — it is hard to make your voice heard as a lone citizen. It is possible, and it is something we should not ignore. But often a lone voice is not very effective. That is why being a member of Kansas Farm Bureau is so critical for all of us in agriculture. It is a way for us to combine our voices and make them louder.

When we come together as a group, we magnify our power and influence. However, this does not lessen the importance of each one of us or our individual influence over our own elected officials. That is why it is also important to not only join Kansas Farm Bureau but to be an active member. In the coming weeks and months we will have an opportunity to voice our opinion and to help educate and influence our elected officials. Through the elections we will also have the chance to decide who many of those officials are.

I ask that you take the time to find out how you can be an active part in the efforts of our Kansas Farm Bureau. Sign up for alerts and contact your elected officials. Kansas Farm Bureau is the most influential farm organization in our state, and that is because we are a grassroots organization of farmers and ranchers who band together for a stronger, louder voice.

"Insight" is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state's largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.