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Dr. Victor L. Martin

Before we get to fall planted crops, let’s take a week off and see what’s going on that may be of interest to producers in the area. This is the time of year when K-State is hot and heavy into the season of Fall Field Days, even if it is August. While none are in Barton County, some are close enough to have some benefit.
· South Central Experiment Field, Hutchinson. The field day takes place Tuesday, Aug. 23 starting at 6 p.m. The event is located at 7904 South Highpoint Rd which is 2 miles west of Partridge on Trails West Road, then ½ mile south on Highpoint Rd or 1.5 miles south of the Miller Seed Farm sign on U.S. 50. Topics include: Weather Information and Field Conditions; Annual Vegetable Oil Production in Kansas from Crop Combinations; Evaluating Center Pivot Nozzle Packages; Nutrient Management After Failed Corn; and  iWheat: Using Smartphone Technologies to Manage Wheat Pests. Pizza and soft drinks are part of the evening. You can find out more by calling 620-662-9021.
· Agricultural Research Center, Hays. The field day takes place Wednesday, Aug. 24 starting at 9 a.m. Unfortunately, the only information available is that it will concern the culture and management of summer grown crops. Normally a lunch of some sort is included and attendees are able to observe a variety of ongoing research projects of interest. For more information call 785-625-3425
· The great part of these events is that they are typically free, open to anyone and allow you to interact with research and extension personnel, obtain information and express concerns/ask questions.
Classes started this past week at Barton. We have an excellent group of new and returning students ready to learn and assume the challenges of producing food in an ever changing and complex world. While we can provide the technical and scientific education they need, one item we can struggle with is helping students grow into and learn the industry. Things like making contacts, networking, opportunities for leadership and challenges to help students wrap their heads around what exactly the agricultural “world” is.
Fortunately for our students, the Barton County Farm Bureau sponsors, with assistance from the Kansas Farm Bureau, a Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter. This organization can provide that “missing” aspect of maturing into the agriculture industry; provides additional opportunities for education regarding the real world challenges facing food, fiber, and fuel production; allows students to become involved in the community through service; allows them to attend conferences and seminars to hear a variety of excellent speakers; and have fun. One of the aspects of agriculture that students normally don’t comprehend is the complex and proactive effort necessary by groups like Farm Bureau to make sure that agriculture maintains its voice at all levels of government. The other item that students are made aware of is the lack of education regarding agriculture possessed by the general public. Next week, let’s see where we are as we head into fall planting. Hopefully after several inches of rain.