By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Dr. Victor Martin
Placeholder Image

The past week was an interesting one for me and for many of us in the technical division at Barton. We were involved in the annual Breaking Traditions two-day event that exposed high school age young women and men to careers that they may not have considered as part of their future. Careers ranged from working on gas pipelines to criminal justice, automotive technician and agriculture. Even in today’s world we all tend to assign certain careers by gender and this was a chance for these highschoolers to “think outside the box.”
I had the privilege to interact with eight students over two days. As we discussed all the careers that encompass “agriculture” they were surprised not only how many areas are touched by the agriculture industry but the background and education now necessary to do these jobs well. They were also a bit amazed at the possible income opportunities available for those willing to learn, work hard, and move. Discussing the various careers ranging from farmer/rancher to chemical applicator to salesman and even banker, they were surprised at how important a background in the sciences, mathematics, and basic accounting have become. While not a big deal for this generation who grew up using them, they hadn’t considered the importance of computers in 21st Century agriculture, starting with the tractor.  While they may not choose a career related to agriculture, they walked away with a new appreciation for those involved in producing food, fiber, and fuel.
Over the two days I met with these students, I started thinking about how much the makeup of people in agriculture has changed since moving to Kansas in 1991. There are now more than a few very successful women county extension agents in agriculture throughout the state. The Department of Agronomy at K-State has well-respected women faculty members and the current state extension specialist in what we used to term soil conservation is DeAnn Presley.  The number of women in charge of the farm or ranch is steadily growing. Seed and chemical companies are hiring more and more women as agronomists, salespeople, and district sales managers. Typically now for most vet schools, more than half of the incoming classes are women. I have even met several women who are independent crop consultants.
The other neat event I was involved with was a little north and west of Susank. As Barton County is presently without an agriculture agent, I filled in and discussed the wheat planted at a 4-H wheat tour plot. What was “neat” about the event?  First, a 4-Her took the time to plant a wheat variety test with help from her family.  Second, members of the community came out at seven a.m. on a Tuesday morning to support her efforts. It’s hard to think of an event more representative of where we live than a 4-H event that involved the whole family and was supported by members of the farming community.
On a side note, wheat harvest has begun. Several fields were cut in Stafford County by June 8. Harvest is in full swing on the Kansas/Oklahoma border. While not a “great” harvest in terms of quantity, reports have indicated test weights over sixty pounds and protein levels over twelve percent. Comments from these areas indicated yields from 0 to 60 bushels per acre. So while things aren’t great the good quality combined with current prices at least makes it worthwhile to pull into the field.