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.

Tom Dorsey / Salina Journal

From Kansas Agland:

For decades, the nation's breadbasket has been sowing fewer and fewer acres to wheat.

That's evident on Paul Penner's Marion County farm - where he once planted 75 percent of his fields to wheat. These days, wheat has dropped to a third of his crop production.

The reason is simple, Penner says. Farmers see more profitability in crops like corn and soybeans.

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland

MANHATTAN - A new study has found that over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer beyond its recharge rate peaked overall in 2006, while its rate of depletion in Kansas reached its highest point in 2010.

The Kansas State University study released Monday also projected the aquifer's use would decrease by about half over the next 100 years.

Five Syringes Is Five too Many

Nov 17, 2015
Layton Ehmke

While abandoned farmsteads are quite common and are one of our links to the past, at the same time, they represent a link to the present that I’d like just as soon to go away.

Here on our farm in Lane County, we’ve got a number of those farmsteads complete with abandoned farm homes, outbuildings and barns. In several cases, we’ve burned or buried them. And judging by a recent experience, we’ve got more work to do in that department.

Jacob Byk / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

The importance of farming and ranching to the state’s economy touches all Kansans – and, according to the latest Kansas Department of Agriculture figures – the world.

In its latest figures, the department states that agriculture’s annual output was about $62 billion in 2012 – the most recent figures available – accounting for 43 percent of the state’s total economy.

Creative Commons

From Kansas Agland's "Watchdog":

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is considering increasing fines for people ignoring the state’s mandate to report annually the volume of water they pump from wells or for exceeding limits on water use.

That’s a no-brainer. An even better stick would be to revoke their water rights altogether.

State's Rural-Urban Divide Remains Problematic

Nov 4, 2015
Gerald Thurman / roadtripamerica.com

From Kansas Agland:

TOPEKA − Kansas’ rural-urban divide shows no signs of abating, economists and advocates said this past week — drawing attention to the economic stress placed on the state’s least-populated areas.

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

GRIGSTON – There were plenty of signs to tell the South American trade buyers that – at least this fall – milo is king in western Kansas.

Mountains of milo dot about every Kansas elevator along Highway 96. What hasn’t been cut of the thick russet crop spreads across their route from Liberal to this tiny Scott County spot along the highway.

Garden City Co-op

From Kansas Agland:

After a multi-year drought, the scene has changed in Hamilton County.

Trucks filled with grain are lining up at the Syracuse elevator. Combines are out cutting late into the evening. Large mountains of grain sorghum are being piled on the ground at the cooperative and at the town's fairgrounds. 

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

GRIGSTON – There were plenty of signs to tell the South American trade buyers that – at least this fall – milo is king in western Kansas.

Mountains of milo dot about every Kansas elevator along Highway 96. What hasn’t been cut of the thick russet crop spreads across their route from Liberal to this tiny Scott County spot along the highway.

Kansas to Preserve and Develop Lake Scott State Park

Oct 28, 2015
ku.edu

The State of Kansas has announced plans to preserve and develop Lake Scott State Park, reports Kansas Agland. During a ceremony held on Monday at the lake, Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison announced the formation of the Scott State Park Historic Preservation and Development Committee.

Harvest Miracles and Hoarding on the Farm

Oct 12, 2015
Winston Corfield

In this week's installment of Agland, Amy Bickel and Kathy Hanks give an update on a young farmer who was severely injured last harvest season.  The man was not expected to live, but life had other plans, and he's made it back just in time to help bring in this year's crops.  

Hoarding isn't confined to city limits.  The duo explore the phenomenon happening down on the farm.

The Banana Bread Queen of Kansas and more

Oct 12, 2015
findingmykd.blogspot.com

In this episode of Agland, it's about the State Fair Banana Bread Queen, a ghost town trying to come back to life, a fall harvest update, and the most beautiful Kansas places to visit in the fall.

Jacob Byk / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

McPHERSON - Autumn arrives in Kansas this week, but for Monte Dossett, the annual fall harvest has been commencing for a few weeks.

Jacob Byk / Huthinson News

From Kansas Agland:

FREDERICK - The few residents left in Kansas' second smallest town have not made a decision on its fate.

As far as Frederick City Clerk Melode Huggans knows, no one has even discussed it.

Jacob Byk / The Hutchinson News

Amy Bickel and Kathy Hanks talk about what they've found at the Kansas State Fair, the making of a ghost town, and the original local food supplier.  

Yoga on a Kansas Farm Proves Enriching

Sep 21, 2015
Mark Pettijohn

Over the past few years in early September, Kansas farmer Mark Pettijohn has found an interesting way to invite the surrounding community onto his farm. Labor Day at the Pettijohn farm has become Yoga Day. Pettijohn recently wrote of his experiences in Kansas Agland. Each year, the farmer encourages all levels of yogis and families to attend the event. His kids cut sunflowers from his farm and provide one to each guest.

Sandra J. Milburn / The Hutchinson News

Kansas Agland has reported on the return of an old corn-popping method. The Atom Pop Corn Popper was invented in the 1950s, at the height of America’s science fiction era. Hence its resemblance to a flying saucer. The Atom Popper fell out of favor in the US with the advent of microwave popcorn. But in the small Kansas community of Bushton, the Orth brothers are trying to bring back the Cold War-era popping device.

Cimarron National Grassland to Eradicate Salt Cedar

Aug 25, 2015
Public Domain

Residents of southwestern Kansas can expect to see some changes in the coming months. The Cimarron National Grassland will soon begin a project to eradicate salt cedar, reports Kansas Agland. The project will chemically treat 191 acres of the invasive species, also known as Tamarisk. The plants will be eradicated using nontoxic chemicals, by means of spray equipment, during September and October.

Kansas Wheat Farmers May Consider Durum in Future

Aug 20, 2015
Kansas Agland

Kansas has long been considered the nation’s breadbasket. That’s because of its hard red winter wheat production. But one Kansas crop breeder is looking to turn the state into America’s pasta bowl. For the past 17 years, Ray Brengman has been working  to breed a new type of wheat called winter durum, used in pasta. In a state where water is increasingly scarce, Brengman thinks durum has a bright future, reports Kansas Agland.

For the past four summers, Doug Armknecht of Smith Center, Kansas has been working to capture his wife's family harvest in Osborne County. His breathtaking YouTube videos of the LaRosh family harvest have drawn increasingly large viewerships since 2012, now reaching 37,000 hits, reports Kansas AgLand.

A Tireless Conservationist Bids Kansas Adieu

Aug 12, 2015
Travis Morisse / The Hutchinson News

Tim Christian and his wife Cozette are packing everything into a camper and heading West. For the past ten years, Tim has coordinated the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, a non-profit that helps Kansas ranchers regenerate grazing resources. His efforts in the state have been exceedingly successful, says Kansas Agland. And you can see the difference.

Creative Commons

Family farmer and agriculture advocate Katie Sawyer recently came across an article in Time magazine that questioned the safety of eating pork. While Sawyer admitted that the article’s author got it “half right,” she took to Kansas AgLand to set the record straight.

For Kansas Crops, the Return of an Unwelcome Disease

Jul 22, 2015
C.K. Hartman / Flickr Creative Commons

For the first time since the Dust Bowl, wheat flag smut has returned to Kansas wheat fields, reports Kansas AgLand.

While this rare fungal disease is not a threat to humans or animals, it can reduce yields.  That’s why some countries that trade with the US place restrictions on buying wheat from areas affected by the disease.

Farmers Upset Over New EPA Ethanol Requirements

Jul 20, 2015
Brandi Korte / Flickr Creative Commons

The EPA proposal to reduce ethanol requirements has raised the hackles of Kansas farmers, reports Kansas AgLand. Nearly 300 farmers rallied on Capitol Hill Wednesday to protest the measure, which would cut renewable fuel requirements by almost 4 billion gallons this year, and 5 billion next year.

Wheat Crop Stronger than Expected, Despite Hurdles

Jul 12, 2015
Tanner Colvin / Salina Journal

Kansas Agland reports that many farmers have been pleasantly surprised by this year’s wheat crop—especially considering that this year’s crop was subjected to just about every threat imaginable.

After Lightning Strike, A Kansas Town Fades Away

Jun 30, 2015
Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

The Hutchinson News reports the story of Esther and Dean Lamm of Bristow, Kansas. If you haven’t heard of Bristow, you’re not alone. Nothing remains of the town but an old cemetery; the rest has been consumed by wheat fields. Esther and Dean were married on July 21, 1957, in the Bristow Methodist Church in Osborne County.

The Evolution of the Great American Combine

Jun 22, 2015
Edmund Garman / Flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Agland has a report on how much wheat combines have evolved over the last century. According to the ag website, harvesting wheat a century ago involved cutting wheat stalks with a horse drawn binder and gathering them in bundles. The bundles were then stacked into windrows to dry, after which a giant steam-powered threshing machine separated the wheat kernels from the straw. The entire process was extremely labor intensive.

Calvin Mattheis / The Hutchinson News

Kansas farmers are getting ready to bring in the wheat harvest, they are again being targeted to help make up Topeka’s budget woes reports Amy Bickel for Kansas Agland.

There’s a proposed $3 excise tax on all land- agricultural, residential, and commercial.  The bill is proposed by Sen Jeff Melcher- R-Leawood.

Consumers are eating this stuff up.

Apr 19, 2015
File Photo / AP

In 2002 the U.S. government began certifying organic products, since then it has turned into an almost $40 Billion dollar a year industry.

Consumers are eating this stuff up, sales of organic goods has leapt 11% since last year and the number of organic producers in the U.S. has grown by 250% since 2002.

The industry estimates that organics now make up almost 5% of total food sales in the United States.” According to Kansas AgLand reporter Mary Clare Jalonick.   

Ghost County

Apr 13, 2015
Kansas AgLand

I’m sure you’ve heard of a ghost town, but how about a ghost county? In 1887, the clash between Ravanna and Eminence for county seat was a heated one and left behind a number of unresolved issues.

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