GARDEN PLAIN — Larry and Carla Steckline plan to donate proceeds of their self-published book to Kansas FFA, a representative for the Future Farmers of America announced.
Larry, a former FFA member, is “the voice of Kansas agriculture” – broadcasting his farm reports on radio and television throughout a four-state area. His wife, Carla Stovall Steckline, is the former Kansas Attorney General, having served from 1995-2002.
The couple recently self-published “Larry Steckline: A Half Century as the Voice of Kansas Agriculture” that Carla wrote describing Larry’s childhood on a 200-acre leased farm in Trego County where he and his parents raised wheat and milked 20 head of cattle. After high school, he enrolled at the Wichita Business College and accepted a bookkeeping job at the Wichita Union Stockyards that led him inadvertently – and reluctantly – into a television broadcasting career.
“After my boss told me I had to deliver the live market report at noon – in 3 hours – I prayed I would be in a car wreck as I drove to KTVH. I was 24 years old and scared senseless to go on TV,” he said.
He made it through that broadcast and continued on television for 45 years on both KTVH (now KWCH) and KSN. He went on to create the Mid-America Ag Network that carried his agri-business reports throughout Kansas, and parts of Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska. Today his reports can be found on KWLS 107.9 FM and on the Internet at larrysteckline.com.
Over the years, Larry bought and sold 27 radio stations, and hosted concerts with country music legends including Roy Clark, Reba McIntire and Charlie Pride. He and his late wife, Wah-leeta, also led tours around the world that took Kansas farmers to Russia, China, South America, Australia and Africa. Throughout it all, he raised wheat and had an active cow/calf operation on “The Ponderosa,” which he still operates.
“After we were married nearly 13 years ago, I began jotting down interesting stories Larry told me about his childhood and career so they would not be lost to his children and grandchildren,” Carla said. “Before long, we had a book!”
The purchase price for the book, complete with old family recipes and approximately 200 pictures from the 1800s to today, is $20 and the entire amount will be donated to local FFA chapters across Kansas. The book may be purchased from local FFA members or online at larrysteckline.com. Online buyers may designate the local chapter they wish to receive their donation.
“Farmers and ranchers made my career and we wanted to benefit a charity that recognized the ag community. FFA was a good fit,” Larry said.
The book also describes Carla’s legal and political career, as well as their blind date, marriage and her exit from politics.
Kansas’ agricultural educators were in Overland Park recently for a conference and heard from the Stecklines about the book.
“The teachers were so excited at the chance to sell Larry’s book and appreciative of the Steckline’s generosity,” said Jodi Mason, Kansas FFA Foundation Executive Director. “At the end of Carla’s remarks, teachers grabbed every box of books we had available and I told Larry and Carla they better have more printed!”