Posts Tagged With: corn

Farmer Perspectives: How to Support Family Farms: Fill a Grocery Cart

By Janet Phillips, CommonGround Kansas farmer volunteer 

Janet and her husband, Caleb, work with three generations of family on their farm near Cherryvale, Kan. Together, they raise corn, wheat, soybeans and cattle. In the past 10 years, the farm has grown in size but remains focused on caring for the land and their animals. 

“Buy local” is a phrase I hear often — even in rural America. As a farmer, my job is to put safe, healthy foods on tables across America. That includes my local community.

In my discussions, no one has a single definition for “local.” There’s no set number of miles or state line. To me, buying “local” food is so much more than buying tomatoes and cucumbers at the local farmers market. It is supporting family-operated and owned farms.

 

Family farming

My husband, Caleb, and I both come from a long line of farmers. I’m a fourth-generation farmer, and he is a fifth-generation farmer. For both of us, farming is what we both always wanted to do. We love growing things and taking care of animals, and we want to raise our family to practice the same care for our land and our animals.

We feel very blessed to farm alongside both Caleb’s parents and grandparents. We each have our own operations, but we work together to do everything. Since getting married almost 10 years ago, our farming operation has grown tremendously. We have been given the opportunity to rent more crop ground, and we have rented more pasture to grow our cattle herd. Growing the size of our business ensures we can provide for the multiple families involved.

At the same time, our own family grew as well. We are teaching our little ones where food comes from and how to work hard, be respectful, have fun, get dirty and be good people.

We are simply a family — a family who works together running a family business that’s constantly changing. We adapted to new technologies and larger equipment so we can raise things more efficiently. That helps our environment by using less resources to grow more per acre. Plus, that efficiency helps lower costs for you, the consumer.

 

Not an outlier

We are a family farm, but you might be surprised to learn that around 96% to 98% of the farms and ranches across the United States are family owned and operated, as well. Our story is not much different than thousands of other farmers and ranchers.

Each of us play an active part in our communities and help to employ lots of people — from our farm to the local businesses where we purchase supplies, tools and groceries to the truck drivers who transport our crops and beyond. We are just as proud to grow food for local farmer’s markets as for the shelves of Wal-Mart and Whole Foods.

 

Well-suited to farming

As farm owners, we make our own decisions about what crops to grow. Our land and climate are best suited to raising crops like corn and wheat. We can’t plant avocados and expect to support our family and continue our business. So we plant the crops that grow easily in our area and spend hours trying to decide what varieties will do the best in our climate and in our soil.

Our pastures support grasses our cows love to eat. On the other hand, our pastures can’t support delicate lettuce crops. We simply must listen to our land and Mother Nature.

 

Balanced diet

To ensure our family consumes a balanced diet, we seek out produce like lettuce, tomatoes and apples — to name just a few. These crops aren’t local most of the year. Yet, we are thankful for a stable food supply that can bring what we need all year long. It may not be from the next field, but it’s likely from a farm similar to our own. In exchange, we provide beef and wheat for bread. Our nation is fortunate to have such a diverse food system.

We often are asked how to support local farmers. It’s quite simple, really. Just fill your grocery cart. If you want to really support the farmers in your own backyard, go to the store and buy their product with confidence, knowing it was raised and carefully cared for by hard-working hands from all across the land.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Conversations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farmer Perspectives: How Your Garden Grows (It’s Not Too Different from Corn!)

By Jami Loecker, CommonGround Kansas farmer volunteer

Jami and her husband, Billy, live in Manhattan, Kan., with their two children. Together, they raise a chicken flock and garden while Jami is employed full-time off the farm as a local agronomist. She helps other farmers and retailers in eastern Kansas by recommending improvements to crop production practices for corn, soybeans, milo, wheat, alfalfa and cotton.

For me, growing plants is both a profession and a hobby. I’m an avid gardener, but my day-to-day job is helping farmers grow healthy crops. My education in plant and soil science can be applied to thousands of acres of corn, wheat and soybeans — and it can just as easily be used to help a few tomato plants thrive in my backyard.

My friends often ask for my help during the summer when they encounter a particular weed or pest in their own garden. In fact, many of our “garden-variety” concerns are the same ones a commercial farmer would encounter.

 

Identify the culprit

When my friends ask for gardening advice, the first step is to identify the weed, disease or pest causing the problem. It’s no different than a crop farmer. In fact, that’s one of my jobs as an agronomist. I walk through fields to understand the cause of the problem and determine how widespread it may be in a field.

Last year, one of my friends had a tomato hornworm problem in her garden. We talked about the pests, and she described the damage. After we determined the cause, I recommended a few pesticides I use and trust. I also gave her advice on how to safely use the products so she can feel confident slicing those tomatoes later in the summer.

 

Selectively used

My friend wasn’t going to use a pesticide on her garden unless she really needed to. Yet, she didn’t want to suffer a complete crop failure either. It’s really the same for farmers. Pesticides or weed control products can be expensive, and I’ve never known a farmer to spray their crop unless it was needed.

Whether you’re dealing with a few plants or a few acres, the rate of application for a product is likely similar. There’s sometimes the idea farmers are hauling jugs of chemicals to the field and dousing their plants. That’s just not true. You wouldn’t do that in your garden, and farmers wouldn’t do it on their crops. Often, farmers are applying a few ounces of a carefully selected, highly regulated product on a per acre basis. To help with perspective, that’s often the amount of product measured by one or two cups over an area roughly the size of a football field.

 

Thoroughly tested

Pesticides and weed control products are intensively regulated by state and federal governments. The fine print on the back of any pesticide sold at your local lawn and garden store is the result of years of research — and it’s not all company-provided data either. The research supporting a new product approval needs third-party science to back up its safety and effectiveness.

My first recommendation to everyone is: read the product label. There are specific rates of application and wait times for harvesting the resulting crop. Using a product off-label may even damage the plant. That’s true for corn farmers and carrot growers. It’s all right there in the product label.

In fact, the downside for not following the label is serious for a farmer. Commodities are regularly tested for chemical residues. If a shipment is rejected, then a whole year of profit may be in jeopardy. The farmers I know would never risk their livelihood, and most growers I work with speak passionately about the responsibility they feel when raising food for a growing world.

I believe the world needs both gardeners and large-scale growers. I love working in my garden and getting my hands dirty. I feel just as confident feeding my family from the grocery store as I do serving up salad from the garden plot. Farmers and gardeners may use different tactics, but the science is the same.

 

Categories: Conversations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farmer Perspectives: More with Less

By Molly Drimmel, CommonGround Kansas farmer volunteer

Molly’s full-time job is a field agronomist. In this role, she helps farmers raise healthy crops. Her husband, David, joined her family’s farm near Wakarusa, Kan., in 2013. Together, they grow corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, sorghum, chicken, beef cattle, pigs and goats.

These days, it seems like everyone is being asked to do more with less — fewer hours in the day, smaller budgets and less resources. Farming is no different. Today, producers are being tasked with increasing their yields while reducing their costs. To accomplish this goal, farmers must make every acre of ground more efficient as resources become more scarce. And, we’ve done it.

Year after year, our land yields more per acre. We’re feeding the world with fewer people, less land and reduced inputs. I’ve had a unique vantage point to see this change firsthand. I’m a researcher and have helped bring new technology to the market. In my job, I talk to farmers to understand what they are experiencing in their own fields. Plus, I work on my own family’s farm, and I’ve seen our technology change rapidly in my lifetime.

 

Better seed

Improved seed technology is one important way farmers have been able to produce more crops with the same amount of ground. I’ve headed up a corn research station in Western Kansas and a soybean research station in Eastern Kansas.

Across Kansas alone, there is a vast difference in growing conditions. At the research stations, we are able to experiment with the latest corn and soybean hybrids. Our focus is finding the perfect seed that could grow quickly, produce good yields, use less water and have good tolerance to important diseases. These benefits translate into reduced use of natural resources. Plus, it gives farmers greater flexibility in planting crops, which helps provide a reliable supply.

As a researcher, I’m part of thousands of years of history. That’s about how long humans have been genetically modifying plants. Until recent scientific advances, this process was done by choosing plants with the desirable traits and cultivating those particular plants. Today, scientists can expedite this process by selecting a desired trait right in the DNA of the plant — that’s a GMO, or a genetically modified organism.

In my lifetime, GMOs have provided hybrids that significantly increased crop yields, all while using less water and chemicals. That’s efficient for farmers, but it’s also good for our environment and meets consumer demand.

 

More education

One key to doing more with less is to work smarter not just harder. In my opinion, farmers have always been pretty smart. They know what their ground is capable of. The average age of today’s farmer is about 58 years old. In five decades, they have seen a lifetime of successful and unsuccessful crop years. Now, a younger generation of farmers are coming in with a formal education from universities and experience with advanced farming technology. For example, I have added to our family farm by getting my master’s degree in agronomy, which is the science of how plants grow.

Farmers are using education and experience to tackle some tough problems. One of the most pressing concerns in our state is water availability. Even just 10 years ago, we used a lot more water to grow one crop.

Today, we’ve reduced that amount using better seed technology combined with advanced equipment technology. We can turn off irrigation systems and monitor water use from our phones. Plus, we know a lot more about the plant itself. A little stress can actually help encourage the plant to grow, digging its roots deeper and producing more yield. Figuring out what growth stage of the plant needs the water the most has helped us increase yields with minimal water use.

We also know more about weed control. Many farmers I work with choose to use a herbicide before the crop is planted to help reduce competition from weeds right away. We can also responsibly apply the chemical exactly where it’s needed using global positioning system, or GPS, technology that’s commonplace in tractors these days. A product may not go all over a whole field. It can be applied in targeted areas to reduce chemical use and cost to the farmer.

A farmer can soil sample his field then layer input maps such as fertilizer, chemical and insecticides over yield maps and target specific areas. By identifying high and low producing areas, they can then write prescriptions for a field allowing them to use less inputs. This can reduce cost for the farmer and produce more with less — leading to a better environment.

 

Greater investment

These new technologies come with a greater investment on the part of the farmer. We must invest our money, but we also must invest our time into learning new tools as they arrive. It can be intimidating for older generation farmers, but most folks I know are more than up to the challenge. When my dad started farming, he would find a tree in the horizon and plant straight to it. His row was not always the straightest. In the last few years, my husband has set up autosteer where the GPS plants in a straight line, and he does not even touch the steering wheel until he gets to the end of the row. His rows are perfectly straight. The same GPS can then be used to apply herbicide and fertilizer to get precision placement and efficiency.

My husband and I returned to my family farm in 2013, and it’s been a struggle to grow our operation considering the large amount of money it can take to purchase more acres of land or a new tractor with the latest GPS technology. We don’t go on vacation much, but we’re finding our family moments in what we’re building together. We love the land, our livestock and working together as a family.

Categories: Conversations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farmer Perspectives: Farming Outside of My 8-to-5 Job

By Krystale Neitzel, CommonGround Kansas farmer volunteer

Krystale is part of a fourth-generation family farm outside Lawrence, Kan., and a full-time operations manager for an insurance company. She and her husband, Lowell, are raising their two kids while growing crops and running a small beef cattle feedlot. Krystale is an expert multi-tasker and fits in hobbies like baking, writing, running and reading.

Farming doesn’t have regular working hours. We must plant and harvest when the timing is right. The weather, season and plants must all be ready — whether we are or not! Occasionally, that means adjusting family travel plans, date nights and more. Other times, it can mean the farm work adjusts to our growing family.

I still consider myself a farmer even though I’m an operations manager for an insurance company most of the week. Like many of you, I am juggling many parts of my life: family, hobbies and a career. How I get it all done probably looks similar to most moms too!

 

Farm job

Our farming operation consists of corn, soybeans, hay and cattle. My great-grandfather and grandfather began our farming operation in 1945. My mom and dad farm the same ground today with my aunt and uncle. In 2011, my family began to develop a succession plan to help keep my brother, his wife, my husband and I part of the family farm for many more years down the road. Together, we formed Bismarck Farms.

With my parents transitioning away from day-to-day farming duties, it has meant our workloads have increased. This year, my husband completed the majority of planting. It’s meant he’s been in the field for weeks straight — moving straight from fertilizing fields to corn planting into soybean planting and then harvesting hay.

When we “put up hay,” it involves mowing the grass, letting it dry, raking it up, baling into bundles and then hauling it back to the farm. These working hours are not 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. We must time actions based on weather, supplies of products (like seed, twine, drivers, equipment, etc.), machinery working as it should, tending to other areas of the farm where help is needed (for example, we have cattle, irrigation tasks, equipment moving, and ever-present equipment breakdowns).

My husband probably averages more than 12 hours per day farming, which leaves a lot of the day-to-day family duties to me during the busy seasons.

 

Day job

I work off the farm Monday through Friday, 8 to 5. I oversee and work with five insurance offices doing everything from employee management, checking in with marketing reps, account reviews, quotes and whatever else the day may bring. Recently, I took on a management role so I’m often working more than 45 hours a week. My co-workers love stories about country life. I often have tales of visits from opossums or skunks.

My sister-in-law also has a full-time job off the farm. With six people involved in the farm, our schedules can look a little crazy!

 

Weekend job

Our families each have young children. As anyone knows, that’s a full-time job in itself! Recently, all our careers required some flexibility to accommodate our kids’ new hobbies and interests.

For example, my family offered a public roadside fresh garden market since 1982. Most weekends, we would put in 12-hour days, interacting with customers and explaining how we grew our crops. The market was truly a family affair. Our mom helped with deposits, payroll for employees and other daily tasks.

We all loved the market, but the extra time became too much to handle. Our son begged to grow his 4-H projects and have livestock. Unfortunately, our market was still open during the week of our county fair.

This year, we decided as a family not to operate the summer garden. It has been a bittersweet decision. We’re missing our customers but have more family time. My son has been able to raise pigs as a 4-H project. Having pigs was something he’s wanted to do since he was a toddler. I’ve never raised pigs, so it’s been an adventure for us as well!

 

Juggling

The demands of farming, a full-time career and a family require a juggling act every single day. I love running to the field after I leave work to help move equipment — sometimes I don’t get to change clothes so I do it in heels! Other days, I bring the guys an iced tea in the hot field and end up untangling alfalfa from the hay swather (the equipment that helps harvest the hay). Now that my son has pigs, you’ll often find me helping him. I’ve quickly learned I must take the time to change out of my work clothes first!

Finding the balance between an 8-to-5 job and farming sometimes gets the best of me, but there isn’t much I’d change. I’m never sure how the day will go between work, dropping off our kid for classes and farming.

Like most moms juggling a family and career, my passion for each keeps me motivated. I’m lucky our family business involves every member of our family. We can each work towards a shared goal of improving our business and helping to feed the world.

Categories: Conversations | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farmer Perspectives: Farmers Grow Snacks Too

By Kim Baldwin, CommonGround Kansas farmer volunteer

Kim Baldwin and her husband Adam grow a variety of crops in central Kansas, including popcorn.

Originally a native of New Mexico, Kim is a teacher and has worked as a television news professional for PBS and NBC affiliates. Kim moved to Kansas to marry her husband, Adam, in 2010. With their two children, the family raises wheat, corn, popcorn, soybeans, grain sorghum and cattle.

This year, our family farm ventured into a new crop for us: popcorn. In a typical year, our farm will raise field corn, soybeans, wheat and grain sorghum. Yes, we have experience growing field corn, but popcorn is quite a different crop. Field corn is primarily used as livestock feed. On the other hand, popcorn is ready for movie night (almost) the moment it leaves the field.

As farmers, we experiment with different seed varieties and growing techniques all time. Yet, planting a different crop takes a lot of research, patience and practice.

 

Kernel of an idea

The idea to grow popcorn began when my father-in-law read an article about specialty crops. Our farm has been looking to diversify to help provide additional income.

Right now, prices for our standard set of crops is low. For these commodities, farmers can either accept the market’s cash price, or we can hold the crop in storage and hope the price improves with time. To do this, we typically risk degradation of the product’s quality and incur storage fees. There are also options to hedge our sale price on the futures market, but commodities prices have been depressed for some time now.

Before putting a single popcorn seed in the ground, we read research and even visited with popcorn farms in other states. We had to make sure our existing equipment would work for popcorn, and not all of our fields would be well suited to grow it.

We decided to plant about 5 acres to popcorn. The field that would work best for popcorn would be ground we rent with access to irrigation. Before planting, we had to seek the landlord’s approval to try a new crop, which would be a risk for both of us. In many cases, the landowner and the farmer share profits.

 

Off to a popping start

Growing a crop like popcorn takes different management — even farmers need practice! The environmental conditions in Kansas aren’t ideal for growing popcorn, so we have to be sure we selected the right type for our climate. Next, the crop must work with our whole farm.

For example, the popcorn field is non-GMO but is bordered by other crops like GMO field corn and GMO soybeans. Our use of precision agriculture technologies allows us to precisely target the applications, and helps keep our non-GMO and GMO crops distinct.

Once harvested, we had to make sure our corn would pop. To do this, we plucked an ear right out of the field, put it in a paper bag and turned on the microwave. We had a bowl of popcorn in just a few minutes, which was exciting and quite a relief after watching the crop grow for so many weeks.

Our family has always enjoyed popcorn as a snack, and we’re excited to be growing it too. The process to try, and succeed, with a new crop can be a frightening business decision. I have new respect for the people behind one of my favorite snacks. I hope you’ll think of our family next time you’re grabbing a bag of popcorn — whether it’s at a grocery store or a locally grown flavor at your farmer’s market.

Categories: Conversations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farmer Perspectives: Food for Thought

By Katie Stockstill-Sawyer, CommonGround Kansas farmer volunteer

Katie Sawyer farms with her husband and two boys near McPherson, KS

Katie married into the farming world in 2010. She is no longer brand new to the farm but still finds herself asking questions about agriculture as she and her husband raise two sons on a farm and ranch in central Kansas. Katie is also the district director for her Kansas congressman.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I did what most modern moms-to-be do — I went online. As it turns out, many expecting moms are fearful about their food.

I didn’t feel the same way, but I may have an unfair advantage. I was able to simply step away from my computer and ask my husband, Derek. He’s a fourth-generation farmer and has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture to boot. Derek is my first and primary resource. I’ve seen him make decisions based on scientific research to ensure our practices are both safe and effective. He can answer questions as both a businessman, farmer and father.

I never hesitate to ask him what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Today, I’m going to share some of my questions and our farm’s answers with you.

 

  1. Why do we use GMOs?

This was a practice put into place by my husband’s father and grandfather. We continue to plant GMO corn and soybean seeds. Today’s GMO seeds help make our plants more drought tolerant, resistant to extreme weather and less susceptible to devastating pests.

This technology helps our business — yes, farms are businesses too — produce more crops with less water, herbicides and pesticides. It helps us carefully manage the resources we use to produce a consistent crop from year-to-year, and positively contribute to a stable global food supply.

That’s doesn’t mean we take the safety of GMOs for granted. We’ve read the research and firmly believe they are safe for humans. In fact, GMO crops surround our family’s home and our children regularly play in the fields.

 

  1. Why do we use antibiotics in our cattle?

Raising cattle is an emotional part of our farm. We watch a mother cow’s movements, appetite and interaction with other animals in the herd. We can see when she isn’t feeling well. It’s our responsibility to alleviate that cow’s suffering and treat her illness. It’s an animal welfare decision for us. While our cattle are under our watchful eye, they are going to be cared for.

We don’t give antibiotics without reason and track their use diligently. We work closely with our veterinarians to oversee the health of our herd and administer antibiotics, and other treatments, when necessary. Animals treated with antibiotics are never sent off our farm when they are still being treated. We don’t sell sick cattle.

 

  1. Is farming a lifestyle or career?

It’s both, and a whole lot more. Farming and ranching can be fun and inspiring. It’s our job, but it’s also a heritage. In fact, we hope that one (or both) of our sons will want to continue our work. That’s the main reason I believe farmers, like us, are inherently responsible stewards of our resources. Every decision is made with the idea that our farm will see a fifth or sixth generation one day.

Categories: Conversations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kansas Farms Highlighted at Hy-Vee Simple Fix Mini

img_5387Did you know much of the food you buy in the grocery store has a Kansas connection?

CommonGround Kansas hosted a Simple Fix Mini featuring Kansas-grown foods Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Topeka Hy-Vee. Guests enjoyed appetizers and wine, visited with Kansas farmers and prepared a three-course meal to take home and bake for their families.

The menu featured Southwest Avocado Ranch Salad, Layered Beef Enchiladas and Tres Leches Cake. Each recipe showcased connections to ingredients that are grown in Kansas, such as the wheat that goes into flour tortillas, corn that is fed to beef cattle and soybeans that are made into oil for salad dressing. The salad even featured grain sorghum as a topping.

Each work station was equipped with easy-to-follow recipes and all the prepared ingredients needed to create each dish.

Volunteers Melissa Hildebrand Reed, a dairy farmer near Junction City, and Laura Handke, a rancher near Atchison, visited with guests and answered questions about their farms. Guests also sampled flavors of milk from Hildebrand Family Dairy.

Hy-Vee dietitians Kylene Frost and Alyssa Gehle answered nutrition questions and served samples of the prepared meal.

The meal and event was sponsored by the farmers and ranchers of CommonGround Kansas. Ticket proceeds benefited Harvesters Community Food Network. Guests also brought canned and dry goods to donate.

Thank you to all who attended for the great discussions and for helping feed the hungry in our community!

Categories: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conversation Flows at “Dinner on the Farm”

dinner on the farm

by Laura Handke, CommonGround Kansas volunteer

Handke

Laura and Chris Handke, with daughter Audrey Ann, are proud to represent the fourth generation on Chris’ family farm near Atchison, KS.

Grain finished beef brisket, fresh-from-the-garden green beans, butter yourself (and lots of it, please) homegrown sweet corn and homemade dinner rolls preceded a perfectly crusted, vanilla ice cream topped peach cobbler—is your mouth watering yet—all from the farm and all the main topic of conversation at the Dinner on the Farm evening hosted by Bismarck Gardens, Lawrence, KS, on July 9.  It was a made-to-order event: a nice breeze beat the heat, the location was picture perfect and great conversation flowed throughout the event. It was a perfect evening!

Both the owners and employees who make Bismarck Gardens so successful, in cooperation with Kansas Corn, made sure that the evening was all about mingling, food, fun and lots of conversation! Farm owner Patrick Ross addressed the group right after the meal to talk about the farm, the dinner we had all just enjoyed and to thank everyone for coming and sharing in the evening.

I sat by a fun-loving couple from Shawnee Mission: she manages the produce department at HyVee and he is an Uber driver; a lively pair of BFFs in their eighties; and a young entrepreneurial couple from Arkansas who moved to Lawrence to grow their business of helping foreign students acclimate to a new environment, both academically and socially.  I couldn’t have hand-picked better conversations! We talked about the advantages of grain fed beef, nutrition, sweet corn versus field corn and how field corn is used, and the incredible feats agriculture technology has achieved in the past decade. We shared childhood stories of growing up on the farm — we all had farm roots, but most had long-since pursued lives in town.

As events go, I would have to say that this has been my favorite to participate in as a CommonGround volunteer. I was excited to have been invited to participate and even more excited by the thought of similar events in the future! These are the events that spark those touchy conversations that ignite interest, but with a farmer on hand to meet that interest with correct, factual and current resources and information. Way to go, Bismarck Farms and Kansas Corn, you hit the nail on the head with this event!

Categories: Conversations, Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guests experience modern agriculture during farm tour

CGFarmTour-9719-2

Volunteer Kim Baldwin talks about growing wheat on her family’s farm near McPherson, KS.

Have you ever been to a working farm? Has it been many years since you saw a farm firsthand? You’re definitely not alone. Even in a highly agricultural and rural state like Kansas, most consumers have never seen modern agriculture firsthand. That changed for about a dozen guests who attended a special tour of Kansas farms on Saturday, July 19.

Volunteers Kim Baldwin and Katie Sawyer opened up their McPherson County farms and ranches to bloggers, media, dietitians and consumers during the first-ever CommonGround Kansas Farm Tour. Guests arrived via tour bus to see how the women and their families raise corn, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum and cattle.

During the tour, the Baldwins showed guests their farm machinery and explained how each is used, including the innovative technology that allows them to more precisely plant, fertilize and harvest crops. Guests also learned about the family’s cow herd and were able to see the animals grazing on pasture near the farm. During a visit to the farm’s test plot, Kim and her husband, Adam, shared about biotechnology while showing different corn hybrids growing in the field.

CGFarmTour-9785-2

Volunteer Katie Sawyer explains how her family uses subsurface drip irrigation to more efficiently utilize water in one of their corn fields.

The bus traveled on to the Sawyer’s farm, where guests walked through a soybean field irrigated with a center pivot. Katie and her husband, Derek, also learned about subsurface drip irrigation and saw the technology working in one of the Sawyer’s corn fields. Katie talked about how the family cares for their cow herd and when and why antibiotics are used to care for sick animals.

Guests also visited the Mid-Kansas Cooperative Groveland facility, where they learned about grain markets. The tour concluded with a barbecue lunch at Knackie’s in Inman.

Thanks to everyone who attended! If you or someone you know is interested in visiting Kansas farms, please email us and we’ll notify you as future opportunities arise.

 

Guests toured the Mid Kansas Cooperative Groveland facilities near Inman to learn about grain storage and markets.

Guests toured the Mid Kansas Cooperative Groveland facilities near Inman to learn about grain storage and markets.

 

 

Categories: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kids’ Reading List: Corn

Corn on the cob is one of my absolute, favorite foods.  When I had braces, my mom would cut the corn off the cob, but it just wasn’t the same.  I couldn’t wait until the next summer, when my braces came off, to taste the sweet kernels right off the cob.  The summertime staple has an impact on our lives beyond the supper table.  Learn more about the impression of corn on our daily lives from the authors of Corn,  Susan Anderson and JoAnne Buggey

Corn

A part of the Awesome Agriculture series, Corn explores the important commodity crop from A-to-Z for kids ages five to eight.  AGRI, the tractor, shares interesting facts at the turn of every page.  In addition to photos that illustrate the multi-faceted agricultural industry, each book ends with an activities section for continued learning and fun.

Thanks to Holly Spangler for compiling this list, which was featured in the March 2012 issue of Farm Futures magazine.
Check out the past selections in the reading list:

Categories: Kids' Reading List | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.