Agland

Agriculture is a vital part of the High Plains.  It's engrained in the culture, economy, history, and environment.  Agland provides farmers and ranchers news and information, and it also reflects that lifestyle out to the world.

Hosts Amy Bickel and Kathy Hanks bring you the stories of the people and small towns making a difference.

Amy Bickel
Credit hutchnews.com

Amy Bickel's roots began in Gypsum, Kansas.  She graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in agricultural communications.  She's been covering Kansas agriculture for over 15 years.  Recently, she's been chronicling Kansas' dead towns.  She has a passion for telling stories centered on Kansas agriculture, rural life, and history.  Email her with news, photos, and other information at abickel@hutchnews.com or call (800)-766-3311 Ext 320.

Kathy Hanks
Credit hutchnews.com

Kathy Hanks spent more than 20 years on a farm in western Kansas.  She's been telling the stories of Kansans for more than three decades.  She interviews people everywhere she goes -- from the pilot to Timbuktu or the person taking her order at Taco Bell.  She says everyone has a story to tell, and she wants to hear yours.  Email her with news and stories at khanks@hutchnews.com or call (800) 766-3311 Ext. 348.

Agland is a partnership of The Hutchinson News and High Plains Public Radio.

CCO Creative Commons

The yellow Ag Tractor swooped in low, the wheels maybe 30-feet above the ground, as it approached Taxiway Charlie.

Suddenly, a mass of water gushed from the back of the plane, causing it to jerk quickly upward. Banking its wings, the pilot turned the plane toward the Hutchinson Airport.

CCO Creative Commons

INMAN - It was over a bowl of popcorn on a winter evening last year that McPherson County farmer Dwight Baldwin began thinking of an alternative.

He had recently sifted through one of his latest farm publications, which touted alternative crops. However, like most of his neighbors, he and his son, Adam, have grown wheat, milo, soybeans and corn on their ground near Inman. Yet the farm economy centered around those traditional crops was struggling.

Sandra J. Milburn / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

One attribute that Colby Harner inherited from his father and grandfather is hard work.

The 25-year-old takes pride in this. It’s why he followed in their footsteps and became a farmer. He enjoys the work of raising crops and cattle, then reaping the harvest of his labor. 

But right now, eking out a living on the farm is even harder - especially for the young operator.

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

TOPEKA – Legislation enabling farmers eventually to obtain a license to plant industrial hemp passed the Kansas House on Monday morning, 103-18, with four members not voting.

Senate approval is needed, but bill proponent Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, was happy and hopeful.

“This is a very big deal for Kansas,” Dove said. All Kansas farmers want is a chance to compete, he said.

Lindsey Bauman / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

Some students in Ashland are spending their spring break tearing out burned-up fences as their family and friends deal with the aftermath of the state’s largest wildfire.

It’s not known yet just how many miles of fence line will need to be replaced, but on the Gardiner Ranch, it could be at least 300.

That’s about the distance from Hutchinson to Topeka and back again.

Pratt Tribune

From Kansas Agland:

In spite of the wildfire that burned nearly 400,000 acres of grassland in Barber and Comanche counties, farmers and ranchers continue to look to better times and a renewed commitment to their farm and ranch operations.

Wheat as We Grow It

Jul 13, 2016
Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

From the way it is grown, harvested and processed into flour, and the way it's entwined in the lives of the families who produce it, wheat's journey is an emotional one.

In a time where agricultural practices are questioned at every turn, it's important to look at what's being done to keep our food safe while conserving the environment while providing enough food for the earth's inhabitants.

Jolie Green / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

For the first time nearly 15 years, the price of wheat is so low that government loan programs have once again kicked in.

Josh Harbour / Garden City Telegram

From Kansas Agland:

For some in western Kansas, such yields are unheard of.

But some farmers, including those planting wheat on summer fallow ground, are seeing yields reaching 100 bushels an acre.

“All the berries filled,” said Jerald Kemmerer, general manager of Dodge City-based Pride Ag Resources.

Amy Bickel / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

CASTLETON – For Sam Grilliot, it’s harvest time, and that means the old Oliver is lumbering through the wheat field.

More often, you find similar antique combines abandoned in a hedgerow. But for Grilliot, the 50-year-old machine is one of the tools he depends on each year.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

The annual wheat harvest has begun in Kansas. Kansas Agland captured farmers Brett Mott and Russell Molz cutting wheat and delivering it to the grain elevator. Photos by The Hutchinson News's Andrew Whitaker.

Travis Morrisse / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

Kansas net farm income in 2015 hit a 30-year low, reaching a level not seen since the 1980s farm crisis.

Accrual net farm income across 1,159 Kansas Farm Management Association farms averaged $4,568, drastically down from a five-year average of $120,000.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

STAFFORD – They aren’t painting the town red. Not yet.

But a group of dreamers are envisioning their Main Street’s empty storefronts as something more than storage space for someone’s clutter.

Sandra J. Milburn / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

ST. JOHN – For about two months of the year, Stafford County farmer Jordan Hickel would run his pricey combine through wheat fields in June, followed by fall commodities like corn and soybeans.

Then the machine would sit silent in the shed, awaiting the next harvest season.

Building fence facts

Apr 20, 2016
Deb Farris / KAKE

From Kansas Agland:

Last week, livestock markets in Pratt and Reno counties helped raise $120,000 by auctioning off a donated heifer and two steer calves in an effort to raise funds to aid ranchers with wildfire losses in Reno, Harvey, Barber and Comanche counties.

Manda Bricker / Kansas Agland

 From Kansas Agland:

The lone heifer was the star of Pratt Livestock's Thursday sale, raising more than $90,000 in funds for the Gyp Hills wildfires.

"People have been very generous," said Jake Lewis, the auction market's general manager.

Producer Dave Clawson, of Plains, donated the heifer for the noon bidding.

Sandra J. Milburn / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

It begins in a pasture, just as the sun rises on a February morning.

This is where steaks are born.

Brandon Siemens found the black heifer lying in blanket of green rye near her mother. He gave it a tag number – 802 – and rubbed its sides, coaxing the newborn onto its wobbly legs.

“She must have had her this morning,” Siemens said as he got back into his pickup.

FHSU Gets More Than $700K Federal Grant for Ag Program

Feb 14, 2016
Fort Hays State University

HAYS – Fort Hay State University has been awarded a grant of more than $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop curricula focused on the use of small unmanned aerial systems in precision agriculture, the university announced in February.

The program, under development by FHSU, is expected to enhance and improve the technical and analytical skill sets of future farm managers, technicians and crop advisors. The grant is part of a $4 million award to Non-Land Grant Colleges and Universities, according to a press release.

‘Water’ the chances for one individual?

Feb 11, 2016
Kansas Geological Survey

From Agland:

While probably the majority of the people in western Kansas would like to conserve our irrigation water supplies, can one man go it alone?

Almost 40 years ago, I was sitting in the office of Extension ag economist Don Pretzer in Waters Hall on the campus of Kansas State University talking about ways to conserve the Ogallala Aquifer in western Kansas. And he made a very good observation.

Drone Users Need to Know the Do's and Don'ts

Feb 11, 2016
Brad Nading / Telegram

When Yuriy Drubinskiy was flying his DGI Phantom Vision II Plus drone over Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City recently, he was surprised to see a warning come over his smart phone.

Through an app on his phone, he received a text message from the Federal Aviation Administration telling him the zoo was a no-fly zone. The GPS on the plane linked with the app and let the FAA know where he was flying.

The Fight Against Broadleaf Weeds in Winter Wheat

Feb 9, 2016
agriculturewire.com

From Kansas Agland:

Most of the wheat and weeds are inactive during cold weather; however, that can quickly change in the Midwest. While broadleaf weeds are dormant, wheat producers can get a jump-start on managing them in winter wheat.

dailyonder.com

Swaths of western Kansas saw a rise in unemployment over the past year, reports Kansas Agland. The increased jobless rate was concentrated in northwest Kansas and parts of southeast Kansas, according to data from the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, unemployment rates fell in northeast Kansas and the southcentral part of the state. During the past year the overall unemployment rate fell from 4.2 percent to 3.9.

frontieraginc.com

A Kansas grain cooperative has been fined by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing safety standards.

Aaron Marineau / Kansas Agland

Two cattle mutilation cases in McPherson and Harvey counties have law enforcement officials still searching for answers – even delving into cases from more than 40 years ago.

USDA.gov

From Kansas Agland:

ELKHART – The Cimarron National Grassland implemented an emergency closure of part of its property in December after seven cattle were found dead.

CGP Grey / Wikimedia Commons

From Kansas Agland:

For ranchers Stanley and Carol Post, the recent mystery on the central Kansas prairie conjures up memories of their own bovine homicides 40 years ago.

telegraph.co.uk / Alamy

From Kansas Agland:

Editor's note: This story published Aug. 15, 2010.

DIGHTON - One can see for miles across the flat High Plains. There are few houses. Few people. And with small towns dotting the landscape, there are few streetlights obstructing the view of a starry night.

KLA Membership Sets Direction on Key Issues

Dec 18, 2015
Montgomery County Planning Commission / Flickr Creative Commons

From Kansas Agland:

WICHITA – Members of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) approved resolutions on animal identification, taxes, noxious weeds and other issues affecting their business interests during the group’s annual business meeting Dec. 4 in Wichita. The organization’s policy process started with member input in committee and council meetings and ended with final approval from the general KLA membership.

Jacob Byk / The Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

With “bulletproof” weeds like palmer amaranth and kochia becoming ever more resistant across the Great Plains, farmers must focus on rotating modes of action, using pre-emergent herbicides and following the label when mixing products, experts say.

Amy Bickel / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

MANHATTAN – Stakeholders gathered to hear about Kansas’ efforts to preserve water – but Gov. Sam Brownback admitted he was a little distracted with world issues.

Not that water wasn’t discussed at Brownback’s fourth annual Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas. Nor did Brownback minimize the topic.

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