Page 1

Spring 2017 • Volume 63 • Number 1

12 Got Bots? 17 Worldwide Wildcats 34 Bearly Beginning 47 Through the Flames Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   1

One Purple, Many Paths,

All K-State Ag. - (785)532-6151 Agriculturist • Spring 2017 1192 Waters Hall - 1603 Old Claflin Place, Manhattan, Kansas 66506


IS IN YOUR BLOOD Whatever you need for your cattle operation — purchasing livestock, leasing equipment, improving facilities — we’re here to help with financial services tailored to your unique needs.

Our business is agriculture. Our business is finance. Our business is you.

Call 800.466.1146 today or visit A part of the Farm Credit System. Equal Opportunity Lender.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   1





K-State alumni raise five children and an abundance or produce.

18 2


Newly retired professor of Horticulture and Natural Resources is off on a new adventure.


College of Agriculture students take on language minors.


Students from large metropolitan areas study in the College of Agriculture.


Dual institution students share the joys and struggles of crossing campuses.


Robots replace people on Kansas dairy.


Students learn about different cultures and themselves.


A K-State graduate brings new views and hope to a village in Guatemala.

2  Agriculturist • Spring 2017


K-State students travel to Hutchinson to participate in the Kansas State Fair.


Global Food Systems Lecture prompts action to save groundwater.


Two College of Agriculture assistant professors study brown bears.

0 34 52 54 36 ROOTED RIGHT HERE

The Kansas forest industry contributes to the state economy and natural resource conservation.


Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows learn how to set goals, give back.


Each semester KSU becomes home to students of all walks of life.


Many students in the College of Agriculture find intramurals a fun way to get involved.


When a fire consumed students' possessions, the College of Agriculture stepped in to save the day.


Professor puts students first inside and out of class.


Students share their passion with others interested in learning about the College of Agriculture.

54 A FAMILY 1st

First-generation college students are starting a new tradition.


Four students find their passion in one-of-a-kind programs.


K-State College of Agriculture students and staff are in the news.


Spring 2017 Kansas State Agriculturist staff directory.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   3


Undergraduate Programs: • Agricultural Communications and Journalism Options: Agriculture and Environment • Agricultural Education • Global Food Systems Leadership secondary major Graduate Programs: • Master of Science in Agricultural Education and Communication Department of Communications and Agricultural Education 301 Umberger Hall • 1612 Claflin Rd. • Manhattan, KS 66506 785-532-5804 •

4  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

A G R I C U LT U R I S T S T A F F Meet the Staff on Page 71

Top Row (Left to Right): Lisa Moser, Audrey Green, Mikhayla DeMott, Jill Seiler, Mallory Diekmann, Amanda Sales, Sam Capoun and Emily Writer. Bottom Row (Left to Right): Anissa Zagonel, Hannah Johlman, Janet Attanasio, Jackie Newland, Brittney Blum, Jamie Morrissey, Leigh Ann Maurath and Celine Beggs.


ON THE COVER Read more on page 8. Photo by Leigh Ann Maurath.

Colophon: Volume 63, Number 1, of the Kansas State Agriculturist was produced by the Fall 2016 agricultural student magazine class and printed by Jostens. This 72-page magazine, plus covers, was created using Mac computers. Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator were used in layout and design. Images not credited were obtained from Adobe Stock Images. All pages were designed by the Agriculturist staff and its contributors. Advertisements were designed by the Agriculturist staff or came from original artwork. Pat Hackenberg of the IGP Institute provided technical advice and assistance during production. Inquiries about this issue should be addressed to Lisa Moser, Kansas State University, Department of Communications and Agricultural Education, 301 Umberger Hall, Manhattan, Kansas 66506.

We are so proud to be a small part in carrying on the tradition of producing the Kansas State Agriculturist. The memories held in this magazine run deep, the lessons learned are vast and the growth of friendship will last a lifetime. We’re thankful to be a part of the K-State family and offer just a glimpse of the faces behind the College of Agriculture, making it the great institution that it is. In this issue, you will find stories about non-traditional students who have selected to attend K-State as well as students who are choosing to attend two institutions at once. Our alumni make us proud and you’ll see why when you read about the Sleichter and Meier families, who share their stories of family, K-State pride and innovative agriculture. These stories can all be found in the opening section of the magazine. In the Worldwide Wildcats section, you’ll read about how current and former Wildcats are making a difference abroad through their education and service to others.

K-State also works to maintain our beautiful view in Kansas. Read what a NASA scientist spoke about on campus, hear how two professors are researching brown bears and the ways the forest industry plays a role in the Kansas economy in the Maintaining the View section. In our Beyond the Classroom and College Close Up sections we share the ways K-State can become a second family and provide opportunities to change your life. On behalf of the staff of the Spring 2017 Agriculturist, thank you for investing your time in reading our work. We hope you enjoy getting to know the people who make us K-State proud. Go Cats!

- Leigh Ann Maurath, Anissa Zagonel, Mallory Diekmann and Emily Writer

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   5


K-State alumni raise five children and an abundance of produce. Story by Hannah Johlman


ay and Linda Sleichter’s romance sparked in Aggieville in the 1990s. The week following, Linda, an agricultural communications and journalism major, knew that “he was the one.” Nine months later, she wore an engagement ring on her finger and six months later a wedding band. “We make a good team,” Linda says. Seventeen years, five children and five acres later, teamwork has always been vital to the Sleichter family. Jay, who was an animal sciences and industry major, now jokingly calls himself a micro-farmer. In 2007, Jay’s Jellies, Produce and More was born. An abundant garden resulted in selling extra produce at the hometown farmers market in Clay Center, Kansas. From there, it grew into a successful family business.

From the Ground Up “We were more of a hobby garden then,” Jay says of the initial garden. His interest in gardening and produce led him to a vegetable grower’s conference in Missouri. “I was blown away learning about how people have been growing produce in hoop buildings, and I wanted to give that a try.” Hoop buildings, also called high tunnels, are plastic-wrapped buildings with a dirt foundation. They differ from greenhouses because plants are grown directly in the ground rather than in pots. Jay says they protect produce from the

6  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

elements and allow for earlier and longer growing seasons. He adds, with such a controllable environment, harvest quality and higher yields are major benefits. “Inside the hoop building, all the plant has to worry about is growing and producing,” Jay says. “If I wanted to grow my business, I had to have things earlier in the year. Definitely the hoop buildings were the way to do it,” Jay says. “Linda thought I was crazy.” Linda somewhat reluctantly agreed that Jay could have $200 for his first hoop building. The low budget forced Jay to get creative. The first buildings Jay designed consisted of a pig panel, plastic and PVC pipe. “The profit from that was enough to build our first real building that he made from scratch, just looking at different plans, taking what we had already and modifying it to fit our resources, Linda says. "And then that building paid for the second one, and that one paid for the third and so on.” Now the Sleichters have six hoop buildings that produce about 1,000 tomato plants, 6,000 garlic plants, 6,000 onions and roughly 200 pounds of sweet potatoes. “I don’t even know how many pepper plants,” Linda says.

Jellies, Produce and More With Linda working nights as a nurse and Jay teaching school during the day, it

is the hoop buildings that allow Jay’s Jellies, Produce and More to be so successful. “Most people assume I do the jelly making, but no, Jay is the primary cook,” Linda says. “We started with jalapeno jelly as a way to use excess peppers and have since expanded to a lot of different flavors.” Because the Sleichters use fresh produce for the jellies they make, availability varies throughout the year. For example, in the fall there is a surplus of bell peppers and hot peppers, so that is when the jalapeno and habanero jellies are made. “The value-added products, like the jellies, just gives us a way to not waste produce,” Linda says. “We are proud that we throw little produce away, that we can find an outlet to sell our produce and that we have been able to adjust our planting schedule to match the market demand.” In addition to the jellies and fresh produce, the Sleichters sell plant seedlings in the spring: tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers. “We also plant hanging baskets of cherry tomatoes. Those are popular with the old farmers who have had to move to town but still want some fresh produce or a few plants to manage,” Linda says. Five years ago, the couple started a community supported agriculture group. Every Monday night, Jay and Linda deliver prepackaged baskets of fresh

produce to 25 customers complete with recipe ideas. Even without having a traditional farm or ranch, all five of the Sleichter children are learning how to cultivate produce, talk to consumers and play a part in Kansas agriculture. In one way or another, the entire family has been involved. John, the 3-year-old, is learning how to pick cherry tomatoes this year. Natalie, 7, loves the carrots and is usually the first to volunteer to wash and bag them. Lainie, 10, is pretty easy going and does a lot of weeding. Maggie, 12, is more likely to manage things in the house while the family is outside. Katie, 15, is selling at the Clay Center Farmers Market on her own and has been able to have some say as to what is planted and what the customers are wanting. “The best part of our family farm is that we can be together,” says Linda. “Not every day is sunshine and roses, but I know that in the future I will be grateful for all the family time the operation has allowed us to have.”

Produce Production Jay grew up on a diversified hog operation with hopes of returning to the family farm, and says that the high startup costs made it nearly impossible to break into the industry.

“You can do it,” Jay says. “But you’re going to have a lot of lean years until you can get everything up and going.” Jay encourages those who want to be involved in production agriculture to think differently. “When most people think of farming in Kansas, they think of corn, soybeans, wheat and milo,” Jay says. “They might assume I have cattle or hogs.” But to him, there is much more to Kansas agriculture than conventional crops or livestock, such as produce farming. People tend to view produce farming in Kansas as a new concept, he says. But it’s not. “If you talk to some of the older people in your communities, there used to be produce farms,” Jay says. “But they’re not here anymore because it is cheaper to grow elsewhere and ship it here.” If those who want to get into agriculture or want to start their own farm would look at produce as a way to stay involved in agriculture, Jay believes it could be a profitable venture, especially with the opportunities within farmers markets. “What we do, it doesn’t sound like much,” Jay says. “But when you have almost an acre of produce, spaced 30 inches apart in rows, it adds up pretty quick.” When the family is outside picking radishes by hand, Jay smiles when he sees a $300,000 combine driving by to go pick corn. “That’s why I joke and say that I’m a micro-farmer,” Jay says. “What we do and the tools we use are completely different, but by definition, we’re both farmers.” K

Jay and Linda Sleichter stand in one of their hoop buildings with their family, Katie, Maggie, Lainie, Natalie and John.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   7

GROWING IN THE CITY Students from large metropolitan areas study in the College of Agriculture. Story by Jill Seiler


common perception is that all students in the College of Agriculture grow up on farms and have experience with agriculture. However, more than 66 percent of the college’s students have never lived on a farm. Some students even grew up in large metropolitan areas such as New York City and St. Louis. Raised 20 minutes from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Max Roby, third-year agribusiness student, had no background in agriculture prior to high school. It was not until he was part of a veterinary assistance program through a local technical school that he learned what agriculture had to offer. “I was naive to the agriculture industry in general,” Roby says. “There are a lot of misconceptions about what agriculture is, especially when you get into a big city. We don’t know a whole lot. We just know what the media tells us.” Similarly, second-year agribusiness student Maria Martinez grew up in Queens, New York, and had never seen a cow until her sophomore year of high school as part of her school’s FFA program. “I’m from a place where there are many cultures, people and characters, but the one thing that’s not really prevalent is

8  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

agriculture. So it was a new experience,” Martinez says.

A Gateway to Agriculture In high school, Roby took a career assessment test that listed veterinary medicine as one of his top options. This encouraged him to apply to a dual credit technical school his junior and senior year. Through that program, Roby spent around 400 hours in a veterinary clinic and was certified as a veterinary assistant. “I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it,” Roby says. “I am grateful for the experience because it exposed me to the agriculture industry and led me to where I am today.” After a suggestion from his dad, Roby visited Kansas State University and met with Don Boggs, associate dean of academic programs. Roby discussed his uncertainty about what he wanted to do and Boggs suggested the College of Agriculture general agriculture option, which allowed Roby to explore his many interests and take classes that helped him select his major. The contemporary issues in global food and agricultural systems class with Nathan Hendricks, assistant professor in agricultural economics, sparked Roby’s interest in global agriculture and

led him to pursue agribusiness with an international agriculture option. “I realized there is a need for agriculture to improve not only here in the states, but overseas as well. I have the opportunity to learn more about global agriculture and to possibly improve and change it,” Roby says. This summer Roby has the option, if he chooses to do so, to put to use what he has been learning about global food systems by conducting agriculture research in a small village in Burkina Faso, Africa. Currently, the village only grows enough food to support itself for eight months. Roby would be working to help make the village more sustainable using aquaponics. “It is a great opportunity. Even if I go down there and just look at the challenge in front of them, hopefully I will be able to benefit the community as a whole for whoever comes after me,” Roby says.

From the Big Apple to the Little Apple Veterinary science was also Martinez’s first connection with agriculture. She grew up seven miles from Manhattan, New York, and watched a television show on the Animal Planet about veterinarians.

“Growing up, I wanted to be a vet like every other little girl in the world,” Martinez says. “I was really fascinated by it.” For that reason, Martinez applied to John Bowne High School in New York City. John Bowne specializes in agriculture, the creative arts and a science-based curriculum. There are about 600 students in its agriculture program. For every one student they accept into the program, the school rejects four.

“Agriculture pertains to everybody. Whether you are in a city or in a small town, it’s food. That’s what agriculture is — it’s food.” MAX ROBY AGRIBUSINESS STUDENT During high school, Martinez was active in her school’s agriculture program as well as FFA and even served as a state officer. As an officer, she was able to travel to different parts of New York and see agriculture’s influence in the rest of the state.

“New York is a large dairy producing state,” Martinez says. “We’re number three in milk production.” FFA also led Martinez to K-State. During her first year at the National FFA Convention, Martinez visited the College of Agriculture Ambassador’s booth. The Ag Ambassadors stayed in touch and recruited Martinez to enroll at K-State. “I really felt like they saw something in me,” Martinez says. She came to K-State and enrolled in the animal sciences and industry pre-veterinary option, but switched to agribusiness to pursue agricultural law. After graduation Martinez hopes to attend law school and work with agricultural policy. Because her dad is a native of New York City and mother is a Greek immigrant, Martinez feels her background provides a unique perspective. She loves to advocate for agriculture and believes she can relate to people from the city and country, which helps her connect with others.

Opportunities in Agriculture Martinez and Roby agree there are many opportunities in agriculture even for all students. “People are going hungry every single day and we have the ability to produce

a lot of food,” Martinez says. “With our growing population we need marketers, engineers and people in all sorts of different fields to come and help us feed the world.” Roby believes there will always be jobs in agriculture because people are always going to need to eat. “Agriculture pertains to everybody. Whether you are in a city or in a small town, it’s food. That’s what agriculture is – it’s food,” Roby says. Martinez and Roby take advantage of breaks during the holidays to advocate for agriculture when they are home. Roby enjoys talking to his friends and family about what he is learning and says they are open minded to hearing what he has to say. “Whenever I see people I haven’t seen in awhile, I hope that they ask me what I’m doing and what I’m studying, because I love talking about it,” Roby says. “I have the opportunity to advocate for agriculture as a whole, and I really enjoy doing that.” Martinez says her parents even advocate for agriculture by taking what she tells them and sharing it with their friends. “The more people they talk to, the more of a domino effect happens. So, they are doing their part too without even realizing it,” Martinez says. While Martinez and Roby are at K-State to get an education, they have also become unlikely advocates for the agriculture industry. They are sharing what they have learned back home because they feel what they are learning is important to those they encounter in their cities. “Just because agriculture is not prevalent in New York City or big cities, does not mean it doesn’t affect us,” Martinez says. “I really love it because it’s something I believe in.” K

Maria Martinez and Max Roby grew up in large cities but through experiences in high school found their way to Kansas State University and the College of Agriculture.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   9



Dual institution students share the joys and struggles of crossing campuses. Story by Audrey Green


hew. Balancing classes, extracurricular activities, homework, Kansas State University football games and a social life can be a real challenge. Why aren’t there more hours in a day? Now, add to that trying to receive two different degrees from two different universities, at the same time. Impossible? Some K-State students are making the impossible, possible. Students in the College of Agriculture, students at Manhattan Christian College and members of the MCC soccer team Emmalie Hurla and Matt Briggs are balancing some tight schedules. Hurla is an animal sciences and industry major and Briggs studies horticulture. Both Hurla and Briggs plan to work in the agricultural field after they graduate. Although their careers will be in agriculture, both students hope to use their MCC degrees to help in their churches and communities. Through a unique partnership between K-State and MCC, students are able to complete a degree in Bible and leadership while also completing a

10  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

bachelor’s degree at K-State. Typically, this dual degree program takes only five years to complete. “At first I was a little worried about managing both schools,” Hurla says. Even though Hurla and Briggs have full schedules, they believe they are able to find a balance.

Bunch serves as a communication liaison at her home church. Both of her degrees help her to best serve in this role. Bunch hopes she can use the communication skills she developed at K-State to help share her love of God with others.

Practical Application

Like many students, Hurla, Briggs and Bunch all understand the ups and downs of college. All three students jokingly agreed that the walk from Throckmorton to the MCC campus is one of the most difficult parts of being a dual institution student. Although the walk is less than enjoyable, Bunch was able to find humor in her experiences. “One of my favorite spots on campus…well actually I have two, but both of them are in bathrooms,” Bunch says. “One of them is McCain and it’s my favorite because in the wintertime that bathroom is always so warm. So on my walk from MCC to K-State I would stop to warm up and then continue on my way.”

So how are degrees in agriculture and religion used together? A 2010 graduate of agricultural communications and journalism and also Bible and leadership, Robyn Bunch, is trying to solve the question. “I was born and raised on a farm and kind of had that heartbeat from a young age,” Bunch says. “My dad put me on a tractor at a very young age, so I experienced the agriculture mentality my entire life.” Two key mentors helped influence Bunch’s decision to obtain degrees from both institutions. The dual degree program gave her the opportunity to study programs that were meaningful to her.

The Struggle

Briggs also shared about the walk to Throckmorton. “K-State people complain about how big campus is, but going from one campus to the other and having to turn right back around is tough,” Briggs says. Although they joke about the transportation, the dual college students are making it work. Enrolling in two different majors at two universities is also a difficult task. But luckily, the advisers in the College of Agriculture are more than willing to help. An adviser in the horticulture department, Kathy Lavis has helped Briggs set his coursework with ease. “I’ve been lucky enough to have two good advisers at both schools,” Briggs says. “So I would send an email to them both and then they are able to talk to each other.” Not only are Hurla and Briggs full time students, they are also student athletes. As members of the MCC soccer team, both students travel to compete on a

regular basis. Even while traveling, the students manage to keep up on their studies at K-State and MCC. Briggs says that many of his favorite college memories happened on the field.

The Success After graduation, Briggs plans to work at a large production greenhouse. He spent a spring internship at Tagawa Gardens in Colorado where he was reassured that horticulture was the career path right for him. Hurla decided early in her college career to focus her final year on her animal science nutrition goals. As planned, she will finish her associate degree at MCC in time to devote her senior year to becoming an animal nutritionist. “Having a degree from both colleges has made me extremely well rounded,” Bunch says. She says having two degrees is beneficial not only because of classroom

education, but also because of the experiences that she had at both colleges. “Employers will see you were able to balance two degrees at once, so they know that you are a hard worker,” Hurla says. “They will be able to see your accomplishments even if one of your degrees doesn’t go with your job.” The students all agree that even though crossing campuses is challenging, it is worth the walk. “Although walks were sometimes long and balancing two college schedules was confusing, there are only a handful of students who have the privilege of attending two colleges at once,” Bunch says. “The benefits of pushing through four and a half years of double the college work far outweigh the cost.” K

“Only a handful of students have the privilege of attending two colleges at once.” ROBYN BUNCH K-STATE ALUMNUS

Top Left: Matt Briggs dribbles for a MMC goal. Top Right: Robyn Bunch poses for the camera. Bottom Left: Emmalie Hurla and Matt Briggs show their K-State and MCC pride. Bottom Right: Emmalie Hurla blocks a MCC goal.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   11

got bots?

Robots replace people on Kansas dairy. Story by Jill Seiler


ilking time at the Duane Meier Dairy in Palmer, Kansas, might look like a scene out of a science-fiction film because the cows are treated differently than at most dairy farms. The 650-cow herd is milked by robots. The cows choose when to come to the milking stall. Then a robotic arm cleans, pre-dips and attaches the milking unit using lasers to locate the teats. The cows are fed while in the unit to encourage them to return for milking. Some are milked up to five times a day. In September 2015, Duane and Ronda Meier installed 12 robotic milking systems at their family’s farm, making it the first robotic dairy in Kansas. More than a year later, the Meiers acknowledge the advantages the robots give. “He’s back to managing cows instead of people. That’s the biggest change I have seen,” Ronda says. Meier switched to robots because of labor management. With the installation of the robots, the family went from 14 hired employees to six family members operating the farm. “Duane coined the phrase that our employees were holding us hostage,”

12  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

Ronda says. “We were so afraid of losing them that we would do about anything to keep them. There comes a point where you just can’t do that anymore, and we were at that point.” Duane appreciates that the robots allow him to be more active in the milking process now. “I couldn’t pull a full eight-hour shift in the parlor anymore. I’m just not humanly capable of doing that, but I can come up here and cover now,” Duane says.

“He’s back to managing cows instead of people.” RONDA MEIER DAIRYWOMAN Kansas State University dairy specialist Mike Brouk, was active in bringing robots to Kansas. He talked with the companies that sell the systems, worked with the state milk inspection program to get the robots approved in Kansas and identified dealers in the state. “The biggest issue we faced is there were no dealers in Kansas trained to

service the equipment,” Brouk says. “If a company is going to sell robots you have to have service close because if something goes down it needs to be fixed quickly.” Without Brouk’s encouragement, the Meiers admit they would not have gotten robots. “Mike was instrumental in helping us and getting us to the right people,” Ronda says. During the first month of milking with the robots, the family had to train their herd to go to the robotic stalls by themselves. Both students and faculty from K-State, including Brouk, visited the farm to help bring cows to the milking unit. The Meiers explained that there is not less work with the robots, but a different kind of work. The family, including four of their five children, focuses more on interpreting the data the robots collect about each cow’s health and reproduction. They also pay more attention to cow rations and feeding rather than milking. Each robot can track the milk production per udder quarter for every milking, collect milk samples for pregnancy checking, detect rumination

issues, track the cow’s feed consumption and report somatic cell counts (the number of white blood cells in the milk) for each cow. “There is just a lot of data that you can go back and check,” Meier says.

Researchers Use Robots This wealth of information is one of the reasons that researchers conduct trials at the Meier’s dairy. According to Brouk, K-State dairy specialists and researchers have worked with the Meiers family for more than three decades. A graduate student in ruminant nutrition, Katie Olagaray, completed a feed additive trial with the robots and transitioning cows. Olagaray tested a plant extract product aimed at reducing systemic inflammation in cows after calving. The large herd allowed Olagaray to complete the trial quicker than if she had tested it at the K-State dairy. The robots enabled her to treat each cow as an experimental unit. This increased her statistical power because the robots feed each individual cow a treatment and also collect the milk samples. Using robots also decreased the cost of the study

because the design of a tie-stall study is more expensive. “With the robots there is a lot of data that I have been able to use,” Olagaray says. “It’s great that they are open to doing research with us. It’s been an awesome opportunity for me and will be for future students as well.” The Meier family agrees that the working relationship with K-State has been very successful. “When we ask the questions or they ask the questions, we need answers,” Duane says. “Most of the trials they could probably do down at K-State, but it’s helpful to do them on a large commercial farm.”

Robots of the Future According to the Hoard’s Dairyman, there are 22,000 robotic milking units in the world and the number is expected to climb in coming years. Duane believes that in the next five to eight years 50 percent of cows will be milked by robot. After the Meiers installed their robots, two additional farms in Kansas made the switch to robotic milking systems including Foster

Dairy in Hiattville and Benfer Dairy in Concordia. Ronda believes more dairies will adopt robots in Kansas because farmers have a nearby farm to visit and see how the robots work. “I think that’s one of the benefits of having a robotic farm in Kansas; people can get to one and see it,” Ronda says. Brouk is on sabbatical from K-State through spring 2017 working with DeLaval, a dairy equipment company that sells robotic milking systems, to learn more about the systems and everything that goes into them. Brouk believes that robots have a bright future in the dairy industry. “In the next 10 years, 30 percent of the equipment companies sell will be robotic and I think it could be greater than that,” Brouk says. “It is a technology that is being very quickly adopted into the industry.” K

Duane and Ronda Meier own and operate a 650-cow dairy in Palmer, Kansas, that is completely milked by robotic milking systems. The farm is comprised of Holsteins and Jerseys.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   13

in·teg·ri·ty : the quality of being honest and fair For more than 20 years Harms Plainview Ranch has focused on offering the highest quality seedstock to a dynamic beef industry. Built on trust, the success of our customers continues to be the greatest mark of achievement. We realize genetic selection is a critical decision. Our low pressure, private treaty method based on mutual respect and honesty assures you will make the right choice. Over 250 18- month- old Fall and Spring yearling bulls will sell exclusively by private treaty. We look forward to the opportunity to earn your business.



Your Partner In Progress

2017 PRIVATE TREATY BULL SALE Photos and Videos and sale information is available on our web site in February Please contact us to request a print catalog. Harms Plainview Ranch • Mark & Kim Harms & Family 2528 250th Street • Lincolnville, Kansas 66858 Office: (620) 924-5544 • Cell: (620) 382-6388 •

January 21 to May 14 Come fly with on a healthy food


To My Plate and Beyond was organized by the Purdue Agriculture Exhibit Design Center and made possible through the support of the American Dairy Association and Indiana’s Dairy Farm Families.

14  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

Always on. Always there.

Online programs available in


Kansas State University College of Agriculture offers opportunities to enhance your career and achieve your educational goals. Complete your bachelor’s degree, begin your master’s, or expand your knowledge with graduate certificates and minor programs.

• • • • • • • • •

Animal Sciences and Industry bachelor’s Food Science bachelor’s, master’s or certificate Agribusiness master’s Agricultural Education and Communication master’s Advanced Horticulture graduate certificate Food Safety and Defense graduate certificate Grassland Management graduate certificate Horticultural Therapy graduate certificate Bakery Science minor

VISIT 800-622-2578

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   15





16+ 86 114



16  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

Mid Campus Drive +

Claflin Avenue


he world of agriculture expands far beyond the United States. While the traditions and practices may differ from country to country, tradition, passions and dedication remain at its core. Students and faculty further their agricultural experience through learning other languages, studying and teaching abroad and internships. These opportunities provide a greater understanding of other cultures and inspire the future of agricultural college experience.

INSIDE 18 LEARNING THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Students learn about different cultures and themselves.

20 PLANTING HOPE A K-State graduate uses a drone to bring new views and hope to a village in Guatemala.


Newly retired professor of Horticulture and Natural Resources is off on a new adventure.

24 Universal Conversations

College of Agriculture students take on language minors. Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   17

Learning Through The Students learn about different cultures and themselves. Story by Celine Beggs


ach year thousands of Kansas State University College of Agriculture students scan emails, attend career fairs and network with hundreds of the industry’s finest just to land the perfect internship. But what happens when the student does not feel the connection with a company or wants to experience something totally different? The student looks elsewhere. Two agriculture students have decided to take a chance and create their own unique summer internship experience, outside Kansas, the Midwest and the United States. Emily Beneda, fourthyear food science and industry student, and Ryan Pasco, third-year agricultural

18  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

economics student, decided to take on international internship experiences. Although on opposite sides of the world, Beneda and Pasco both found their passion in the viticulture industries in Chile and France, respectively. Viticulture is the study of the cultivation of grapevines primarily to be used for winemaking.

Thinking Global “Agriculture is global,” says Beneda. After two summers with Cargill, she decided it was best to look for an internship that was different from her previous experiences. She wanted to go abroad, but was unsure of where she wanted to go.

Beneda started her search at the K-State International Study Abroad Office. “They introduced me to a program provider called World Endeavors. That’s when I found the viticulture internship just outside of Vina del Mar.” Pasco discovered his internship a little differently. During the semester, he received an email from Don Boggs, associate dean of academic programs, about the French program. After looking deeper into it, he decided that it was something that looked interesting. While the students were traveling in two different directions, they took many of the same steps to get the most out of their experiences.

In France, Pasco built his French repertoire by taking language courses during the first four weeks of his summer while studying at the Ecole Superieure d’Agriculture de Purpan in Toulouse, France. Understanding the importance of learning another language while in school, Beneda had already taken many Spanish courses before she decided to travel to Chile. “I also took a wine tasting class at K-State that helped a lot when giving tours. They had scripts I could memorize, but by using the knowledge that I had learned at K-State I could easily give the tour,” says Beneda.

Responsibilities Abroad Although both were working on vineyards, each had different responsibilities and challenges. In France, Pasco’s daily work consisted of working in the fields with his host family’s farm crew. They worked together to organize the grapevines to maximize water efficiency and ensure all of the fruit were receiving adequate sunlight. “They are a lot more eco-conscious and the requirements before we could apply fertilizer were a lot more conservative,” says Pasco as he recaps the difference between Kansas agriculture and the French grape production. In the southern hemisphere, Beneda led winery tours to a diverse group of visitors. Most of her visitors were from Australia, while others were from Brazil and the United States. During her summer, she saw many cultural differences from Kansas. She noticed Chileans tend to work more than the average American. “They work Tuesday through Sunday and the bus left from Casablanca at 7:30 a.m. and returned at 7:30 p.m.” She also noticed some environmental similarities. “They are actually struggling a lot with water, much like Kansas,” Beneda says. In the past five years, Chile’s aquifer table has dropped nearly

100 meters. The deficit is due to Chile’s fruit production, which is an extremely water intensive process. “They are almost worse off than we are.”

Unexpected Benefits Each student returned home with new skills that enhanced their educational experience and added depth to their resumes. While the experiences abroad are important, Beneda furthered her skills in other areas. She explains, “A lot of people don’t think of the soft skills they are getting while studying or working abroad like organization and time management as well as the ability to problem solve in another country.” All of these skills helped Beneda as she conducted tours in a laid back Chilean environment. She used her previous experiences and passion for building quality relationships to help create a network of professionals across the world. “There was one group of first-star generals from the Pentagon. One gave me his business card and kept in touch since. He will be a great resource as I move forward with my career,” says Beneda as she recaps some of her favorite tour groups. After returning from France, Pasco truly values his experience and enjoyed his time learning about the French culture and marketplace. “In the global market that we are in right now, it’s good to know how to sell to and work with people in different countries.” K

“A lot of people don’t think of the soft skills they are getting while studying or working abroad like organization and time management as well as the ability to problem solve in another country.”

Emily Beneda Food Science and Industry

“In the global market that we are in right now, it’s good to know how to sell to and work with people in different countries.”

Ryan Pasco Agricultural Economics

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   19

planting HOPE A K-State graduate uses a drone to bring new views and hope to a village in Guatemala. Story by Leigh Ann Maurath


ver 2,000 miles away from his family farm, people huddle around Josh Kejr with excitement and anticipation. His steady hands guide a drone 100 feet above green fields in Guatemala. With a kind smile, Kejr spends time explaining what he sees from above and showing the villagers their crops from a new view. For the last three years, Kejr and his family have traveled to Guatemala to

20  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

love and serve people in a new way. Sharing the story of Kansas has given the Kejr family the opportunity to show their love for agriculture, K-State and Christ. In a typical year, the Kejrs raise wheat, soybeans, milo and corn on their fifthgeneration farm in Salina, Kansas. Since graduating from Kansas State University in 2013, Kejr has been working on the farm with his father, uncle and cousin.

A K-State Start Kejr has always been interested in the technology side of agriculture and K-State gave him the opportunity to pursue his desire to combine the two. Although he didn’t start in the College of Agriculture, after his first class in agriculture technology management, he knew he had found the right major. Kejr has always been and will always be a proud fan of his alma mater, sporting it wherever he goes, even in Guatemala.

“It's what we know,” Kejr says. Farming is not simply a job for the Kejrs, it is a way of life. So, traveling to share their story only seemed natural. Kejr’s father, Joe, started dreaming up what it might look like to do missions with a new twist years prior to their first trip. When they finally had the chance to explore their options and possible locations, Kejr accompanied his parents. Joe gathered with area farmers, including Kejr, to discuss possible projects, costs and locations. The “Farm Team”–Faith, Agriculture, Relationships and Missions - is a group of farmers that are really intentional about improving their farms and a community in Guatemala. “Agriculture is our group of expertise,” Joe says.

The Trips Over three years, their visits to El Cuje, Guatemala, have been different. But one thing remains the same – the people and the relationships being built. The village people respect the Kejr’s knowledge and experience. After their last visit, some farmers chose to change their farming method based on what the Kejrs suggested. Rather than planting two seeds in each hole, the Kejrs shared how they only use one seed per hole when they are

planting their crops. This helps save seed and increases field production. The people call it the “Gringo” method, or the “American” method after the Kejrs. Now, there are some farmers in the village who use solely the Gringo method when planting their crops.

New Views For the first time ever, many farmers are also learning what their fields look like from above. The first trip, Kejr took the smallest drone he owned. The piece of equipment was minimal with low picture quality. However, he was still able to show the people the pictures on his computer. Time was spent huddled around the computer taking in the sights of the beautiful country in a way they had never seen before. Since then, Kejr has been thinking of more ways to improve the pictures and products he can create for his new friends with his drones. Recently, he purchased a drone that is capable of folding into a small compact bag about the size of a football that still yields greater pictures, has more lights on it and can be viewed directly off his phone. The next trip, he hopes to have even more information to share with them. “Eventually I want to be able to have it programed to fly over a field, and map it using an infrared camera, so you can actually see the plant health of their crop,” Kejr says. He also believes there could be a way to find more water sources for the people through an arial view of the village and the terrain. “They only get water every two days and they share it with another village,”

Kejr says. “They hike to a spring area and we are talking about how they can maybe use that spring and pipe it to their village.” Kejr’s interest in technology is viewed as a service to the community. He is able to get a view of the city and crops for the farmers. The Kejrs hope to keep going back. “It’s all about the people,” Kejr says. Many felt like this community was hopeless, until someone came in and started caring. They started caring about their community and school building more. That is why they will keep going back. In down time, Kejr can be found throwing a Frisbee, playing a game of basketball or chatting with the children of the village. More than corn has been planted in El Cuje. Hope, relationships and lots of purple have made their way into the tiny village over 2,000 miles away, thanks to Kejr and his family. K

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   21


ABROAD Newly retired professor of Horticulture and Natural Resources, Rhonda Janke, is off on her own new adventure. Story by Brittney Blum


s people in Kansas are waking up Sunday morning Rhonda Janke is finishing her Sunday dinner. Her husband Raad Al Ani returns home from teaching class and is just now sitting down and unwinding from the day. Janke and Al-Ani are professors teaching in Oman, eight hours ahead of people in Kansas and nearly 8,000 miles away.

Changing A new opportunity is underway for Janke as she takes a position as a professor in crop sciences at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, Oman. With her husband Al-Ani at her side, Janke embarked on an opportunity and moved to Oman in fall 2015. Janke, a former professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Kansas State University, spent decades teaching. Through her stories it seems that Janke always kept an open mind to new ideas from students and had an artistic style of teaching. Janke has been influential in many of her students’ lives through the years. Many of her pupils have gone on to receive master’s and doctorate degrees as well as join the work force with the

22  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

knowledge she has shared. Now Janke is taking her knowledge and passion for agriculture to the Middle East. While Janke has spent time traveling internationally, she has always wanted to live abroad. In 2014, Janke completed a sabbatical in Jordan where she grew to appreciate and enjoy a new challenge and culture. Her dream became reality when she was offered a position at one of Oman’s top institutions, Sultan Qaboos University.

Learning Between teaching, learning Arabic and discovering a new culture, Janke has plenty to keep busy. She teaches two or three classes each semester covering plant propagation and fruit and vegetable production. Janke teaches all of her classes in English. She has already connected with graduate students to begin working on long-term projects. She is leading a project that will change a section of land into organic land. The land will be used as an experimental research station for teaching and outreach. “The farm managers are intrigued by the idea of organic,” Janke says, so she has submitted a grant and is

looking forward to hearing more about the opportunity. Janke explains this organic effort would bear a resemblance to the K-State Willow Lake student farm. The Student Farm was formed in 2008 by Janke and K-State alumnus Lani Myer. The farm is a 2-acre plot of land within Tuttle Creek Park. The farm is managed and run exclusively by K-State students. In this capacity, students learn the operations of a fruit and vegetable farm from plowing, planting and harvesting to selling, gaining real world application. Janke would like to see this learning opportunity come to Sultan Qaboos University. There are many similarities between Sultan Qaboos University and K-State Janke explains. At Sultan Qaboos University there are farms and greenhouses similar to the K-State farms, greenhouses and animal science farms all used for applied learning and research. Sultan Qaboos University students have the opportunity for hands-on experience with agriculture. There is even an Omani version of Call

Hall. There, students auction off food and sell fresh items. Milk is a popular item at the store. Janke says “The milk sells out as fast as they bring it. People love fresh milk.” While there are many similarities, there are also several differences. In Oman students call their professors by their titles and first name, thus referring to Janke as Dr. Rhonda. The growing season is also opposite of Kansas. People plant their tomatoes in the winter since the summers are too hot and harvest October through March. Even little things, such as converting to different units of measurements, are new to Janke.

"The people and the government of Oman pride themselves in being a peaceful country," RHONDA JANKE RETIRED PROFESSOR

Living Janke explains that Oman is like the “Switzerland of the Middle East” and it is not like the war-torn Middle East that Americans see on television. “The people and the government of Oman pride themselves in being a peaceful country,” she says. She explains that freedom of religion is in the Oman constitution and all religions are practiced and respected. With the sociopolitical climate of neighboring countries Oman continues to flourish. Men and women in Oman dress conservatively, which for them includes pants, dresses below the knee and long sleeve shirts, Janke says. She explains that adapting to long sleeve shirts actually provides some protection from the sun. In Oman, it is up to the women whether or not they want to wear a head or face covering. Omani men however are all required to wear a head covering “Kumma” (cap) or “Musar” (formal head covering) and a white dishdasha. Janke explains that this is part of how the people of Oman hold on to their heritage.

Men and women socialize separately and do not date. They normally live with their parents indefinitely, which saves on cost of housing and food. At Sultan Qaboos University men and women sit on opposite sides of the classroom. They use different hallways and separate doors to enter the room. “In the West, we interpret it as disrespectful, but here what people tell me is it’s out of respect,” Janke says. She adds that in Oman woman generally have a lot of self-confidence and do well in school. There are still many things for Janke to learn and discover, but she says she is enjoying her journey. She is making new friends and learning about a different culture. She says, “I am stimulated by being in new environments, and being around people with different backgrounds.” There are many things that Janke has taken from this experience and offers this advice to others, “It is never too late to start a new chapter in your life.” K

There have been changes in the way Janke teaches her lectures as well. Janke explains that in Kansas she had two or three lectures on apples. In her lectures she would cover the topics of apple management, apple insects and an overview orchard management. She would cover “the ancient fruits” including olives, figs and date palms in a shorter lecture. In Oman it is different. Janke says, “here they have 50 to 60 varieties of date palm.” Janke’s date palm lectures now include date palm pollination, varieties, methods, harvest and post-harvest care. Students grow the date palms as part of their research and auction them off. The catch is that the buyers have to pick the date palms themselves, an ideal situation for a farmer. Omanin student recording data on tomatoes in a greenhouse during class.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   23


CONVERSATIONS College of Agriculture students take on language minors. Story by Amanda Sales


griculture continues growing connections as paths across the world meet. Globalization enhances the importance of communication, but often presents greater challenges when communication is lacking. Chloe Shearon and Wyatt Pracht believe the need for stronger communication is best met by intertwining a language minor with their degrees from the College of Agriculture. “Speaking another language can help in a host of different areas,” Pracht says, a student in agricultural economics minoring in French. He says communication will be key as the economy globalizes and different economic segments intertwine and depend on one another. Shearon’s high school Spanish class traveled to Spain to dig into the language and cultural experience. As a student in bakery science minoring in Spanish Shearon recognizes the practical application of the language in agriculture as well as its academic value. “I decided right away to study Spanish, maybe even before I decided on bakery science,” Shearon says. “I thought

24  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

a minor would be a good way to keep up with and refine my Spanish skills." For Pracht, a study abroad trip during college beckoned him to learn French. Knowing he wanted to end up in an international setting, Pracht enrolled in the Purpan Program to study agriculture in Toulouse, France, for one month. The trip included working on a farm. “I worked on a swine farm and it turns out I couldn't really communicate that well with the people,” Pracht says. “It was really hard for me, but I learned that communication has a big impact no matter where you are. It made me want to come back and learn a second language."

Step Two: Dream Big Once Shearon and Pracht decided on which language to study at Kansas State University, their future career plans began to align with the chosen language. Shearon chose to pair a Spanish minor with her bakery science degree to build relations with food companies around the world. Though her career aspirations are not definite, she says Spanish will likely be a deciding factor in what she chooses. Shearon hopes to travel through

South America and Spain to learn how baking and milling companies operate. "Having the ability to go and directly speak with people in these countries will be more beneficial than having a translator," Shearon says. Pracht decided fusing French with agricultural economics would complement his dreams of working internationally. He set his eyes on nongovernmental organizations and international agriculture development to help improve practices abroad. "Speaking French will allow me to communicate with others no matter where I go abroad,” he says. “You never know where you will run into someone who speaks another language that you do.” Pracht’s motivation to study French over other languages stems from his desire to stand out and differentiate himself. “It diversifies your skill set and what you can do,” he says.

Step Three: Inspire Others Shearon applies her Spanish minor in realms outside of academics, too. Early in 2016, she accepted a job as a Spanish tutor on campus. At the time, a

scheduling conflict meant she could not enroll in a Spanish class. Wishing to keep up her language skills, the job seemed like a perfect combination of refreshing skills and helping others learn and appreciate the language. “I want people to see the language as beautiful,” Shearon says. Though she since enrolled in a Spanish class, she continues tutoring because of her love for the language. When it comes to tackling the communication challenges introduced by globalization, Shearon and Pracht are ready. Both acknowledge the benefits of diverse academics, and encourage other

students in the College of Agriculture to consider studies outside of the college.

“Having the ability to learn about things outside of agriculture can grow you as a student and it forces you to think differently.” CHLOE SHEARON BAKERY SCIENCE STUDENT

“You gain something by having a more rounded experience,” Shearon says. “Having the ability to learn about things outside of agriculture can grow you as a student, and it forces you to think differently and look outside of your focus area." Pracht advises choosing additional studies that are challenging and exceed comfort zone limits. He says, "It has been refreshing for me to get a totally different perspective and think in a different way than you do in your general agriculture classes.” K

Chloe Shearon explains “los mandatos,” the Spanish imperative verb tense, to one of her Spanish II tutees. Top Right and Bottom left: Wyatt Pracht explores Toulouse, France.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   25


Kansas State University summer is a great time to continue your studies and stay on track toward graduation from K-State. Take courses on campus, online or study abroad. Mix and match with summer jobs, internships and experiences to create your custom K-State summer!


research study abroad intern online

ACCELERATED COURSE OPTIONS Intersession Students can get ahead with short on-campus or online classes between standard university semesters.

Evening College

Students can fit more into their schedule with eight-week or 16-week classes on campus between 5:30 and 10:30 p.m.

Online Students can stay on track to finish their degree with online classes in eight-week and 16-week schedules. VISIT

26  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

10087 9636

@KSUwsac Wheat State Agronomy Club

The Wheat State Agronomy Club meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. Join us for industry speakers, professional development, delicious food and fun with friends.

Department of Agronomy • 2002 Throckmorton Hall • 785-532-7258 WWW.AGRONOMY.KSU.EDU Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   27

AT THE STATE FAIR K-State students travel to Hutchinson to participate in the Kansas State Fair. Photos by Emily Writer




very year, Kansas State students travel from Manhattan to Hutchinson to take part in the Kansas State Fair. Students can be found working, competing, volunteering and enjoying the fair. A few of the campus organizations represented at the fair include Ag Ambassadors, Collegiate Cattlewomen and the Dairy Science Club. The livestock judging team takes advantage of the opportunity to practice on exhibited animals, and some students travel with their own livestock to compete in youth and open shows.


28  Agriculturist • Spring 2017





“Working with livestock is what makes me the happiest in life. I’ve made irreplaceable friends and memories at shows that will forever be a major part of my life. One of the best days of my life was when I had supreme champion heifer at the Kansas State Fair in 2013.” MADISON LOSCHKE ANIMAL SCIENCES AND INDUSTRY STUDENT



STEPHANIE GEVEN Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   29

Winchester, Kansas

Integrating Technology with Tradition • Pioneer Seed Sales • • Grid Sampling • Crop Scouting • • Variable Rate Fertilizer Prescriptions • • Variable Rate Seed Recommendations •


Mitch Feldkamp Brian Lee Bill Manville Neil Manville John Navinsky

785-331-8322 913-683-4532 785-231-8449 785-331-9984 913-775-0427

Department of Agricultural Economics Find Your Path, Build Your Future

Agricultural Economics: Farm Management Specialty Pre-Vet Pre-Law Natural Resources Quantitative

Agribusiness: Agribusiness International Food Industry

Majors and Minors in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics Cherie Hodgson | Undergraduate Academic Program Coordinator | 343 Waters Hall 785.532.4559. | |

30  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

Blueville Nursery Inc.

Complete Landscape Service

Welcoming K-State students to our family for over 50 years!

Blueville Nursery Inc. Landscape Design & Installation Lawn Maintenance · Garden Store Nursery · Irrigation Systems 4359 Anderson Ave. Manhattan, KS 66503 Garden Store: 785-539-2217 Landscape Office: 785-539-2671

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   31


Drop Count

Global Food Systems Lecture prompts action to save groundwater. Story by Amanda Sales


magine if groundwater was simply gone. If it was all used up on lush lawns and crisp, irrigated fields. In a domino effect, productivity of the land decreases and crops yield less. With less food to go around, more hungry people exist. “To have food security, we must have water security,” Jay Famiglietti says. In other words, to have a steady food supply to share, a sufficient source of water is crucial. Famiglietti, who is a professor of earth sciences at the University of CaliforniaIrvine and a senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, visited Kansas State University as the speaker for the Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems Lecture Series in October 2016. His message stated that having a secure source of water isn’t promising if action is not taken. Lack of water security is a challenge that future generations may have to

32  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

deal with sooner than many realize. According to a study by David Steward, professor of civil engineering, the Ogallala Aquifer will be 70 percent depleted by 2064 at current use rates. “Conserving and extending what remains of the aquifer must be the mentality going forward,” says Katie Ingels, communications director at the Kansas Water Office and Kansas State University agricultural communications and journalism alumna. Famiglietti’s lecture touched on the importance of preserving groundwater first and foremost. Aquifers and soil moisture store this vital source of water, in contrast to the surface water held by lakes and rivers. “We spend too much time managing our surface water and not our groundwater,” he says. Famiglietti explained in the lecture a key piece of research he is working

on. GRACE, or Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, consists of two small spacecraft that orbit the earth and measure gravitational variation across the globe. Water’s weight helps indicate its rise or decline in specific regions. GRACE imagery appears bright red in the southern parts of the United States— meaning water sources are depleting. “We are trying to do too much with too little water,” he says. “We are literally running out.”

Running Dry Famiglietti says the driving reason for widespread groundwater depletion is food production and the likelihood that dry regions can continuously maintain large yields is not high. In contrast, the challenge remains that groundwater is the only way to combat symptoms of drought. “You either have to move water in, move food out, or grow with less,” he says.

With over half of the major aquifers vanishing right out from under the biggest food producing regions, leaving water and cropland for future generations presents a problem. K-State College of Agriculture students are the key to this sustainability, says Mark Gardiner, K-State animal sciences and industry alumnus. He believes that the younger generations will play a vital role in sustaining our resources for the future.

“Superman is not coming. It’s up to us.” JAY FAMIGLIET TI NASA SCIENTIST His family established the Henry C. Gardiner lecture series to provide education and insights on topics related to the global food system. The College of Agriculture hosts the lectures,

which debuted in 2015 in honor of the Gardiner patriarch. “To solve a problem, we must identify a problem and then learn how to deal with it,” Gardiner says. “At the end of the day we have to start that discussion and work toward solutions.”

Reining in Solutions Some growers with land over the aquifer already act to save the water supply. Ingels described the Sheridan County Local Enhanced Management Area as one successful solution to vanishing water. The northwest Kansas farmers in the voluntary program agreed to reduce irrigation inputs to measure the economic feasibility. “The local producers utilizing these tools are the ones who have voluntarily said ‘I am not going to do it as we have always done,’” Ingels says. “They looked for new ways to adapt and be more efficient. Part of this is adopting more technology and efficient irrigation practices to evaluate

when water truly needs to be applied, leading to water savings.” She says the program shows that increases in water use efficiency can lead to sustained yields and even potential economic gain. The Kansas Water Office, along with K-State Research and Extension, also sponsors Water Technology Farms. These model farms aim to combine irrigation technology to improve efficiency. Famiglietti's lecture highlighted that efficiency is the best solution. “The cheapest and easiest thing we can do is conservation and efficiency,” he says. “We have to work together to slow the flow and not count on someone else. Superman is not coming. It’s up to us.” K

Jay Famiglietti (center), speaker of the Henry Gardiner Global Food Systems Lecture on water security, poses with College of Agriculture Dean John Floros (left) and Henry’s son, Mark Gardiner (right).

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   33


Two College of Agriculture assistant professors study brown bears. Story by Hannah Johlman


air-raising encounters with brown bears aren’t typical experiences for Kansas State University College of Agriculture faculty. Yet when Ryan Sharp, an assistant professor of park management and conservation at K-State spent last July at Katmai National Park and Preserve in

34  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

Alaska as part of his research, he had a bear experience that he will never forget. One night, while preparing for bed, Sharp heard a bear rummaging outside of his yurt, a collapsible, circular, tentlike dwelling for wilderness living. All was well though, as an electric fence surrounded the yurt.

“Although, I don’t think it was on,” Sharp says. While Katmai hasn’t had a bear encounter in 40 years, the hair still stands up on his arms when Sharp shares his story from Alaska.

“I came out and here comes mama bear with her two cubs, 5 feet away. And they tell you, ‘Don’t run. Slowly back away.’ So I did,” Sharp says, shrugging off the close call.

Bearcams at K-State Back at K-State, Sharp’s research partner, Jeffrey Skibins, also an assistant professor of park management and conservation, performed his own bear watching research. Sitting at his desk in the Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, he studied the collected surveys from a live feed webcam focused on the bears. The two are working to assess if people have the same emotional connections to the bears by watching them in real life versus a live feed webcam. Findings will impact park management and conservation in the future. “People are so inundated with requests for money these days,” Skibins says. “Give $5 to save the elephant, $10 to save the polar bear … do this, do this; they’re sick of it. We need to figure out our next step other than just asking for money.” By asking online viewers and onsite visitors to fill out identical surveys, Sharp and Skibins are trying to discover how far people are willing to go to protect wildlife based on their experiences. While they aren’t trying to tell park visitors to stay home and watch on their computers, they are looking into how the two can be combined to benefit both visitors and wildlife. Perhaps, like at a football game, the viewing platform is another 50 yards back, but with a large screen so that visitors can still see live bear action. For national parks, combining a realistic and satisfactory experience while keeping visitors and wildlife safe

is a challenge. Sharp and Skibins are looking for a solution. This is just the beginning, the K-State professors say, but it is already apparent that the brown bears of Katmai have provided a strong data set to kick off the study.

North to Alaska Katmai receives about 30,000 to 40,000 visitors per year. About half of those visitors are in July, which is the month of the salmon run, says Sharp. “The salmon come out of the Pacific Ocean and swim up the rivers to spawn,” he says. “The fish have to then swim upstream and jump the waterfall where the bears are waiting,” Skibins says. The salmon run is an annual event, and knowing when the bears will be there is what entices so many visitors to line up for a chance to photograph the wildlife. “People are just interested in watching bears,” Sharp says. “They’re already popular. It’s so easy to talk about what we’re doing, and I hope that makes us more accessible to the public.” One well-known bear, both online and at the park, was affectionately named Otis by his following. “He has his own corner. It’s called Otis’s Corner and nobody else is allowed,” Sharp says. Otis is massive - 1,200 to 1,300 pounds, Sharp estimates. While each of the bears has its own technique for fishing such as snorkeling, diving or various catching methods, Otis sits. “He basically waits for a fish to run into him and then he eats it,” Sharp says. There are so many bears within a 1-mile radius that Sharp says there are often “bear jams” along the trail, and the cooperation between park rangers and visitors is clear-cut. Stand and wait, or walk up to the nearly 1,000-pound animal that could potentially kill you. “It’s pretty easy to figure out what to do,” Sharp says.

Jeffry Skibins and Ryan Sharp study human behaviors through bearcams at K-State.

Looking to the Future Online, a vibrant community follows the bears year-round. These bearcam enthusiasts are often able to identify individual animals. That, Skibins says, is very a different experience when compared to bear viewing in other national parks, such as Yellowstone National Park or Rocky Mountain National Park. “There, if you see a bear, it’s such a remote experience and probably far away,” Sharp says. It is differences like these that are being examined as the study branches to other species and locations in the future. Where? They aren’t sure yet, but many possibilities are in the works. “If we were doing fire ants, I’m not sure we would have quite the response,” Sharp says. “Although, they are probably fascinating as well.” The park management and conservation professors are breaking new ground, so who knows where the study will go next. “Slothcam,” Skibins says. “We wouldn’t even have to move it.” K

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   35


right HERE

The Kansas forest industry contributes to the state economy and plays a large role in natural resource conservation. Story by Jamie Morrissey


hen people think of Kansas the image of wheat, cattle, sunflowers, tornadoes and wide open spaces come to mind. Surprising to many, however, is that Kansas also has a forest industry that contributes $2.1 billion to the state economy and is a key part of statewide conservation efforts.

Kansas Forests According to the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University, there are 5.2 million acres of forests, woodlands and trees in Kansas on 10 percent of the state’s total land area. The forests in Kansas are broken down into three categories: rural forests, agroforests and community forests. This industry supports more than 9,000 jobs across the state. Those jobs

36  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

are spread out over several smaller industries. “The numbers include Kansas logging and sawmill operations as well as the secondary wood products industry,” says Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator for the Kansas Forest Service. Most of Kansas' forests are in the eastern part of the state. “Some of our most valuable species come from northeast Kansas, and that is also where some of our best mills are too,” Atchinson says.

Conservation Tree Planting Along with monitoring the state’s forests, foresters manage the Conservation Tree Planting Program, Atchinson says. Through this program Kansans can gather

tree and shrub seedlings along with other items for use in conservation plantings. The seedlings for this program are a by product of research conducted by K-State scientists within the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources. The research is conducted at Tuttle Creek State Park and led by Charles Barden, the director of the Tuttle Forestry Research Center and forestry professor. “We used this area to plant walnut seeds that would grow the best,” Barden says. “We selected the best for research purposes and now, we are using those seeds and selling them through the forest service as approved walnuts for this area.” In addition, the trees planted as a part of this program have several functions including: wildlife, habitat, windbreaks,

wood lots, timber plantations and Christmas tree farms. “We sell both bare root and containerized trees,” Barden says. “We offer low cost trees for conservation purposes. We don't want to compete with the private nurseries so the seedlings that we offer are 12 to 18 inches in height, and they are something that people can plant relatively easily.” Planting trees, whether that be on the banks of rivers or on the farm, helps mitigate soil erosion and other environmental pollution. Another conservation effort by the Kansas Forest Service is a grant to help conserve water.

“Do you remember the dust bowl? Well, some people are calling this the mud bowl. BOB ATCHISON RURAL FORESTRY COORDINATOR

Benefits of these forests also include water quality enhancement, streambank stabilization, wildlife habitat and recreational activities. K-State Research and Extension through the Kansas Forest Service work to maintain and establish streamside forests. This effort is key in ensuring that we have high-quality water resources in the future. The forests along waterways help water quality in numerous ways. Streamside forests can trap pollutants found in surface runoff before they are able to reach the waterways. The deep root systems absorb the pollutants underground. The tree canopies help keep the water cool, which maintains a healthy oxygen level that benefits aquatic life. The forest service and the Kansas forest industry not only seek to conserve natural resources, but to stimulate the state’s economy and to help the loggers and other people in the industry. Barden feels the best way to do that is to buy local.

Buying Local “Many people don't even realize we have a forest industry,” Bardon says. “With my position, I want to make people aware and encourage them to go to the sawmills that are around and buy their lumber there.” People in the crafting sector are tied in with where to get local wood and their local sawmills, but not the general public. The sawmills in the state don't have the capacity to dry a lot of lumber, so when people buy the rough cut wood, they need to put it in their homes to completely dry it out. Often times they aren’t willing to do that. “Many people, myself included, tend to go to the outlet type stores that sell dried wood when they are working on home improvement projects but my goal is to get people to have a farmer’s market type of mentality,” Barden says. “This would give people the opportunity to get some neat pieces of wood because not all boards are the same.” K

Forestry and Water “We have a $13 million grant from the Resource Conservation Partnership Program that allows us to work on water quality issues in the state and it focuses on planting trees above the underground federal reservoirs,” Atchison says. The federal reservoirs in Kansas supply water to roughly two-thirds of the state’s population. Due to failing spring banks, those reservoirs are filling with sludge and mud. Many of the reservoirs were man-made for flood control in the 1950s, making this a large issue moving forward. "You’ve heard of the dust bowl?” Atchison says. “Well, some people are calling this the mud bowl.” Streamside forests in Kansas protect water quality for more than 134,400 miles of streams, creeks and rivers.

The Kansas Forest Service maintains lists of contact information for over 50 sawmills, 40 timber buyers and 200 secondary manufacturers who rely on local timber harvests.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   37









n o i l l i b 6 . $64


of output an

Begin your agricultural career as an intern or a student worker at the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Student employment applications are accepted all year. Visit: for more information.


Kansas exp

n o i l l i b 9 $4. ral in agricultu



of Agricultur

38  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

products. Department of Agriculture

Finding your place: In front of or behind the camera Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, or ACT, is a

national organization helping students develop the skills

and contacts necessary for communicating the complexities of food systems and processes. Join today and find your place to grow and communicate about agriculture.

Meetings 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., 312 Umberger Hall @KState.ACT



Wrenn Bird Photography Wrenn Pacheco | Photographer & Owner

Specializing in Wedding Photography

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   39



Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows learn how to set goals, give back to the community and improve themselves in the process. Story by Jackie Newland

Story By: Jackie Newland


he crowd roars, sweat runs down the teams faces and the voice of coach Bill Snyder resonates through their heads as he leads them to victory. Few outside the Kansas State University’s football team get such an experience during their time at K-State. Yet 40 lucky seniors each year get to do just that through the Snyder Legacy Leadership Fellows program.

Agricultural Impacts This year, two College of Agriculture students were chosen for the second class of Snyder Legacy Leadership Fellows. Animal sciences and industry student Lauren Prill, was excited to build her leadership skills. “I have always been a natural born leader,” Prill says. “I grew up in 4-H and that has heavily impacted my life by going to club meetings, learning parliamentary procedure and taking on leadership roles. When I came to K-State, I was able to continue my leadership experience through the livestock judging team.” During her time at K-State, Prill has learned to take what she calls a “natural” approach to leadership. “I’m not always necessarily involved in a specific position, but I always lead by example where I can and try to be a leader without needing the title,” Prill says. These characteristics have served her well as a Snyder Legacy Leadership Fellow. The program itself focuses heavily on Bill Snyder’s 16 Goals for Success. Prill says she connected best with “Expect to Win” because it is the most relevant in her life right now. “I love that goal because I have always been competitive and like to achieve new things. Whether that is winning in the classroom, livestock judging or even

in my personal life. I think it is a good expectation to set for myself,” Prill says.

Serving Others Food science and industry student, Jacob Wilson, says he feels strongest about the “Improve” goal because it pushes him to be better each day. “The best way to look at this goal is that nobody is perfect,” Wilson says. “Even if you’re a strong leader now, if you set goals to better yourself every single day and improving, you can do more, influence more people and make a greater impact.” Wilson has always been dedicated to serving others. While at K-State he has been actively involved in housing and dining services to work closely with other students and have an impact on them during their time in the residence halls. “People are what motivate me as a person,” Wilson says. “I love working with other people and helping others, and establishing those connections is very important to me.”

Manhattan Connections Prill and Wilson are passionate about the connections they have made in the Manhattan community. Each fellow has the opportunity to work with kids by coaching youth sports teams in partnership with Manhattan Parks and Recreation.

“For students who want to work at leadership and better themselves as a person, this program is for you!” LAUREN PRILL ANIMAL SCIENCES AND INDUSTRY STUDENT

It has definitely been a valuable learning experience for me.” Wilson coaches a youth soccer team, while Prill explores her coaching abilities in volleyball. “Coaching youth volleyball has been my way of reaching out in the community,” Prill says. “It’s also one of the best ways for the other fellows to get to know each other and really learn from each other.”

Calling All Students The program is open to all students across K-State’s campus. Prill noted that students do not have to be enrolled in the Staley School of Leadership Studies to apply. She encourages College of Agriculture students to take the initiative and give the program a try. K

“Working with them is incredibly exciting and stressful,” Wilson says. “You run through all the emotions you could possibly have with these kids, but it’s so much fun getting to see them improve.

Pictured left: Animal sciences and industry student Lauren Prill poses with coach Bill Snyder. Pictured above: The second class of Snyder Legacy Leadership Fellows are all smiles with Coach Snyder at their first meeting together.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   41

Choosing FAMILY

Each semester Kansas State University becomes home to students of all walks of life. Story by Jackie Newland


tudents come to Kansas State University hoping to find a home away from home. Making the move for the first, or in some cases, the second time can be scary. College is not always easy but with the help of students and faculty across campus, students can find their fit and, in time, their K-State family.

Fresh on Campus When Ethan Sylvester came to K-State, he found his transition easier than most. He is from the Manhattan area and is studying animal science and nutrition. Ethan moved to K-State the same time as a few friends from high school, but he was eager to continue to expand his circle of friends throughout the semester. “I had people who just offered to help me move in and invited me to hang out,” says Sylvester. “I immediately built a group of people to hang out with. Most are on my dorm floor.” Freshman students often find a place through their experiences in dorm life but for transfer students, finding a spot on campus can require joining student organizations and campus clubs.

42  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

Getting Involved Ashley Fitzsimmons transferred to K-State as a third-year student in agricultural communications and journalism after already completing a four-year degree in leadership at Fort Hays State University. “I think I am making the adjustment well. It’s easier since I have already been to a four-year college because I know a little about what to expect,” Fitzsimmons says. “But K-State is different in its own right; it’s a change, but I love Manhattan and the school and department are phenomenal.”

“We’re family and we are genuinely interested in taking care of each other.” SHANNON WASHBURN ASSISTANT DEAN Fitzsimmons says that joining clubs within her major played a major role in finding her place on campus.

“The clubs I’m involved in such as Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow have definitely helped make the transition,” Fitzsimmons says. “I’m very personable and don’t have a hard time making friends, but people in my major have definitely welcomed me with open arms and helped me to see what the university has to offer while I’m here.”

Helping Hands While peers play a major role in a student’s time at K-State, many of the faculty play an active part in helping students succeed early on. Assistant dean of academic programs Shannon Washburn helps students make the adjustment. Washburn notes that the faculty at K-State genuinely care for the students’ well being, and they are always there to lend a helping hand to those who ask. “We have outstanding faculty at K-State who want to help students get connected and find their best fit,” Washburn says. “They guide student organizations, mentor research projects, advise students, but most importantly, faculty members are people too. They are

here to listen to students' concerns and offer suggestions.” Washburn says that students need to take the initiative when they are having a problem so the faculty can best serve their needs. “We aren’t mind readers. If students aren’t willing to talk about their challenges and goals with faculty members, we often aren’t able to discern what an individual student might be facing,” he says.

Getting Out of the Comfort Zone It can be difficult for some students to know where to start. Sylvester offered a few pieces of advice to those who may have a hard time opening up. “The best thing you can do as an introverted person is to go out and try to find groups that interest you. But if that doesn’t work for you the good news is that people will come to you,” Sylvester says. “Upperclassman will come to you and you just need to be willing to let them in and accept them.” Washburn says that students find the most success connecting with others if they start the process early on. “I think the sooner new students make the effort to invest in relationships with other K-Staters, the sooner they will realize we all have more similarities than differences,” Washburn says. Every student at K-State has a story. Some are more alike than others, but each can be traced back to the constant support of the K-State family. “We’re all part of this family that learns together, and part of that learning involves learning from each other,” Washburn says. “We try to help students see that from their first visit to campus. We’re family and we are genuinely interested in taking care of each other.” K

Top: Agricultural communications and journalism student Ashley Fitzsimmons of Pratt, Kansas. Bottom: Animal sciences and industry student Ethan Sylvester of Wamego, Kansas.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   43


for Success

Many students in the College of Agriculture find intramurals a fun way to get involved. Story by Jamie Morrissey


n any given afternoon, many students can be found playing flag football or volleyball at the Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex. The intramural program at Kansas State University has a variety of team and individual sports that thousands of students participate in each year. Teams include people from all over campus, but a common way to organize a team is residence hall floors.

Intramurals in the Dorms The Rec Complex offers almost 50 opportunities to play an intramural sport, individually or with a team. Students can go to the Rec Complex website to register; then they are put into a league schedule.

44  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

“The intramural chair on my floor put together a team,” says Mallory Meek, an animal sciences and industry student. “We all knew each other, but we were not really close friends, so we decided to play to get to know each other better.” Athletic ability is not key in playing intramurals at K-State. The Rec puts an emphasis on having fun in the name of competition. Sportsmanship and playing to one’s best are highly encouraged, no matter the skill level of the team. “It’s fun, even though we are really bad,” Meek says. “We were mercy-ruled, which is pretty embarrassing especially since it was the first time they have done it; but, we ended up going to get ice cream and celebrating.”

Students who have not previously participated in a team sport can get more than new friends out of playing an intramural sport. Among team building, Meek has learned the responsibility of having a team counting on her and what it means to contribute to the success of a team when it comes down to the wire. Intramural chairmen for residence hall floors are great facilitators of intramural teams, but so are fraternities, sororities and faculty and staff organizations, as well as student organizations.

Club Intramural Teams College of Agriculture Ambassadors is one of the student organizations that puts together an intramural team and encourages its members to take part.

“We thought it would be a really fun way for ambassadors to get to hang out, outside of recruiting students,” says Carrie Carlson, a grain science and industry student. “Intramurals are a good way to bond and build that friendship culture within our organization.” This is the first season in a while that Ag Ambassadors are putting together an intramural team; there has been a lot of interest from club members. The organization has a flag football team and is working on putting together a volleyball team. “We can be competitive, but we also have fun,” Carlson says. “Of course we want to win, but for us, it is more important that people have fun rather than being really good.” Team building is an important factor to the Ag Ambassadors team. People with a wide range of athletic ability are put together to accomplish a goal. “We have guys who have played football and then we have girls who have never

played before. It teaches us to laugh at ourselves,” Carlson says. Many people involved in student organizations on campus play intramurals with their clubs, but there are co-ed teams that are looking for

“We were mercy-ruled, which is pretty embarrassing especially since it was the first time they had done it; but we ended up going to get ice cream and celebrating.” MALLORY MEEK ANIMAL SCIENCES AND INDUSTRY STUDENT students wanting to get involved. If incoming freshman are struggling to make new friends, intramurals might be a good place to start.

Getting Involved When people first come to campus, students are encouraged to get involved, but for some that can be easier said than done. Intramurals are a great way to meet a variety of people on campus, have fun and get a little exercise in the process. “In high school, I had very structured ways to work out,” Carlson says. “In college it can be really hard because it is completely dependent on you. Intramurals are a good way to stay active and start to build friendships.” People from all backgrounds are encouraged to participate. Being successful does not depend on ability – a positive attitude and a little perseverance can make all the difference. “I chose to play because it is a way to be active in the K-State community,” Meek says. “As a freshman you do not know a lot of people so this is a great way to do that. I get to meet my teammates, the other teams and make some memories too.” K

The Ag Ambassadors team prepares for their match with a pre-game huddle to discuss strategy.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   45


YOU can help find the solutions to the grand challenges Kansans face. Jobs and internships available at

46  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

Registered & Commercial Angus Cattle Red Clover & Eastern Gamagrass Hay

Sales Farms

Daryl and Justin Sales 19607 Coal Creek Rd. • Valley Falls, KS 66088 785-945-3701




When a fire consumed students' possessions, the College of Agriculture stepped in to save the day. Story by Leigh Ann Maurath

The Blaze On October 17, 2016 seven College of Agriculture students lost their possessions in the fire that burned in the Founders Hill Apartment complex in Manhattan. The Manhattan Fire Department reported it caused an estimated $3.5 million in damages and displaced 91 people. “Statistically speaking, our college had the second most students impacted,” says Shannon Washburn, Kansas State University College of Agriculture assistant dean of academic programs. Many buildings were evacuated, but that paled in comparison to the complete loss of Building G located at 1410 College Ave. Building G of the complex had the most extensive fire damage and its residents lost all their personal belongings. “The first week when I was not able to get back into the building I was quite lost about what to do and how to get through the week,” says Hannah DeVoss, Building G tenant and student in animal sciences and industry. Immediately, upon learning of the fire, the College of Agriculture faculty, staff

and students took action. Washburn says they wanted students who lost their materials or had smoke damage to be able to continue with their education without tremendous upheaval. The college offered scholarship support and resources to help students like DeVoss as well as temporary housing arrangements.

Fueling Good Will The support of the misplaced students did not end there. Shortly after the fire, College of Agriculture students did their part to take care of their peers. “It was important to us to let those students know that they are part of the K-State family and the College of Agriculture family,” says Hayden Walker, president of Ag Council. “We are here to help.” The Ag Council voted to sponsor a donation drive for the fire victims. In the College of Agriculture, 15 different

student organizations donated, at least 10 individuals gave out of their own pocket and more than $5,000 was raised. The Call Hall Dairy Bar put a donation jar on the counter and raised over $150. “It is hard to count how many individuals really gave,” Washburn says. “We have so much bad news going on right now, things that happen on campus or around the country, it is such a cool story about the family atmosphere we have in the College of Agriculture.”Many things have changed in Devoss’ life, but through the flames, her K-State family was present. “After all of this, I can say I have never been more proud to be a member of the K-State family,” says Devoss. “Especially in the College of Ag. So many people have been so wonderful and I can’t imagine going through this without the help and support of these people.” K PHOTO BY AUSTIN FULLER


idwesterners are known for their willingness to pitch in and help where needed. That value was evident this fall as Kansas State University students quickly moved to action to help peers who lost their possessions in an off-campus fire.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   47



785-532-6101 48  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

| |

The first locally produced television ag show in the state.

Watch us on a station near you Topeka KTMJ-TV 43

5 & 6:30am

Wichita KSCW-TV 33


Joplin KSNF-TV 16


Or anytime day or night online

MONDAYS @ 4:30 PM/ET Rebroadcast Times FRIDAYS SUNDAYS 6:00 AM/ET 7:30 AM/ET or watch online at

AGam_DTad_7_5 x 4_9.indd 1

12/19/16 11:04 AM

123 N. Cedar St / PO Box 511 Stockton, KS 67669 785-425-6721 *Free Internet Banking & Bill Pay *Mobile Banking *Credit Cards *Auto/Consumer Loans *Home Loans *Ag Loans *Commercial *Checking *Savings *Debit Cards *IRA’S *Certificate of Deposit STOCKTON — WAKEENEY — HILL CITY — BOGUE — NORTON — LENORA Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   49


SUCCESS Professor puts students first inside and out of class. Story by Jill Seiler


or many students in the College of Agriculture, Throckmorton Hall can be a confusing place. But for students in the agronomy department, 1022 is a spot they can escape the maze to study between classes, ask questions and find a man always willing to help. Mickey Ransom, professor of soil classification and mineralogy, has been teaching at Kansas State University for 32 years. During that time students have been his top priority. “There’s not many things about my job that I don’t like, but the thing that I enjoy most is working with students,” Ransom says.

Students First Known as Mickey by students and colleagues, Ransom is a professor and the department’s assistant head for teaching. From his open-door policy to coaching the soils judging team, Ransom’s commitment to student development is obvious. “For Mickey, students come first,” says Kim Kerschen, agronomy instructor. Ransom has a full load of advising students and always tries to make them his priority. He finds time management the most challenging part of his day. “The thing you find when you work with undergraduates is it’s hard to plan out your schedule,” Ransom says.

“You can plan the day perfectly at the beginning, but that will quickly change.” Additionally, Ransom believes it is important to be involved in student development outside of the classroom, which is why he has been helping with the soils judging team since coming to K-State.

Outside the Classroom Under his coaching, the K-State team has been successful, placing high at the regional contests each year and competing at the national soils judging contest most years, with winning teams in 2008 and 2009. “I’ve essentially been involved in soil judging my whole career,” Ransom says. Ransom enjoys helping the team and adds that judging teaches students skills and decision making that they will use in their professional careers as well as imparting how to work with others as a team. “I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but students say they learn more in soil judging than they do in the classroom,” Ransom says. Students agree that one of the reasons they get involved in the judging team is because of Ransom himself. Erin Bush, a December graduate in agronomy, was on the soils judging team every year while at K-State.

Mickey Ransom explains soil horizons to Erin Bush. Ransom has been teaching soils at Kansas State University since 1984. “The soils team would have a different composition without him,” Bush says. “Mickey is so great to be around during the trips. He is well respected by the team and other coaches.” This respect could be seen at the 2016 National Collegiate Soils Contest hosted in Manhattan by K-State. Ransom received at least two standing ovations and according to Kerschen, who helps coach the team, that doesn’t happen often at soils judging banquets. “His breadth of knowledge in the field of soil judging is amazing. When we go to coaches meetings and there is a question people look at Mickey for an answer,” says Kerschen. “He’s an expert in his field.”

A Mentorship Legacy Kerschen and Bush both enjoyed their time on the team and learning from Ransom so much that they decided to pursue graduate school with him as their major professor. Bush began her

graduate program in soil pedology in January 2017. “Graduate school was always on the radar, but Mickey encouraged me to pursue undergraduate research, which has made me more comfortable in pursuing a master’s degree,” Bush says. Kerschen completed her master’s program in 2014 before accepting her position with the department. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. I had no intention of pursuing graduate school until Mickey encouraged me to,” Kerschen says. Just as Bush and Kerschen have pursued soils because of Ransom, he also had a mentor who encouraged him to study soils. Ransom attended the University of Arkansas and his freshman year studied engineering because he was interested in math and science. After taking a design class that he did not enjoy, Ransom switched to agronomy at the advice of a professor he was working for at the time. That professor was Moye Rutledge of the University

of Arkansas. Rutledge was a researcher and instructor in soil pedology and encouraged Ransom to join the soils judging team. “Moye was the one that really got me interested in soil sciences,” Ransom says. Perhaps this is why Ransom takes such an interest in students and works closely with graduate students. “I have had some opportunities that would basically take me out of the classroom, and I didn’t want to do that,” Ransom says. That is the reason why after three decades of teaching, Ransom can still be found helping students reach their full potential with a smile, and what Kerschen describes as his southern charm. “I can work with him all day, and I can be passing him in the hallway and he just lights up,” Kerschen says. “He’s genuinely excited to see you and is about as nice as they come.” K

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   51




Students share their passion with others interested in learning about the College of Agriculture. Story by Janet Attanasio


hortly after 8 a.m on a Monday morning, three students gather around a table inside Waters Hall to discuss their plans for the upcoming week. Like other college students, they too have jobs, classes to attend and homework to complete, but these students have one more commitment than most of their peers. Along with serving as agriculture ambassadors for the College of Agriculture, they also lead the College of Agriculture Training Program, as CAT Coordinators. Serving these dual roles, they are responsible for promoting the Kansas State University College of Agriculture and teaching students about the many opportunities within the College of Agriculture.

Finding Their Niche “CAT class is a program designed for students interested in the College of Agriculture who have any questions about where exactly they fit in or where they can see themselves getting involved,”

52  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

says Kyler Langvardt, second-year student in agricultural communications and journalism. Joining Langvardt in teaching the CAT Program are Aubrey Davis, thirdyear agricultural economics student, and Molly Bertz, a second-year student with a dual major in agricultural communications and journalism as well as food science and industry. The College of Agriculture is diverse, and the CAT Program allows students to see opportunities available in almost every agriculture-related area that K-State has to offer, Langvardt says. The CAT Program is promoted primarily at the Watermelon Feed, held at the beginning of every fall semester. “We hand out fliers, talk to students and advertise what the purpose of this class is,” Davis says. In the first three weeks of school there is an enrollment period where students, first-through fourth-year, can sign up for the CAT program. Coordinators place them in the class that best fits the student.

The class educates students about majors, minors, and clubs and activities. Students take field trips and tours to discover many ways to be involved and find a career path that interests them. The program is zero credit hours, allowing students to participate in an educational program without putting any extra stress on the students’ budgets.

Becoming a Leader The course is a prerequisite for students interested in becoming an Ag Ambassador. In spring 2016, Langvardt, Bertz and Davis ran for cabinet officer position as Ag Ambassadors. The nominating committee selected them to serve as CAT Coordinators the following fall. The officer position includes teaching the nine-week course in the fall. In the spring, the coordinators spend their time out of the classroom educating and training the new CAT Coordinators who will teach the following year. “It’s a full year term, pretty heavy in the fall, but in the spring, we are still

involved as being CAT Coordinators,” Langvardt says. Every week, various majors are highlighted. Speakers involved in that program are invited to explain the different opportunities in that major or minor as well as talk about the clubs and organizations. “We will go on tours to give students the opportunity to see what the College of Agriculture has to offer,” Langvardt says. Tours such as the feed and flour mills, the dairy, the greenhouse and gardens are just a few of the places that CAT Program leaders take students.

Opening New Doors The CAT Program allows students to become more involved on campus by educating students on the many opportunities within the college. “When I came to college, I just focused on my major, but it was good to learn about all of the opportunities,” Davis says. “Whether or not the students in the CAT class ends up applying for Ag Ambassadors, it is good to educate them on the different options available.” Coming to college can be an overwhelming experience, especially if students are not fully aware of what career path to choose.

“The great thing about the College of Agriculture is that it is diverse and overlaps a lot, which can allow students to obtain a minor that they may have been unaware of before the CAT class,” Bertz says. The program also allows networking opportunities with individuals in different majors within agriculture. “The CAT class is a connected group and it tends to keep those connections

“I would not know about these opportunities unless someone had invested in me and shown me. ” KYLER LANGVARDT CAT COORDINATOR throughout their time at K-State. It just creates a tight-knit group in the College of Agriculture,” Langvardt says.

Paying it Forward For Langvardt, Bertz and Davis, participating in this program was extremely beneficial. “Taking this class was a really great experience, but we also had ideas that

we wanted to implement in this class,” Davis says. “We are constantly trying to make it better and find ways to make this class more interactive and interesting for students.” The opportunities available through K-State and the College of Agriculture continue to amaze Bertz. “I would not know about these opportunities unless someone had invested in me and shown me, which is why I really loved taking CAT class,” Bertz says. When the opportunity of taking CAT Program was presented to Langvardt, he was ready to become involved and take full advantage of it. After having a CAT Coordinator who was very invested in him, he was ready to give back. “Being on the other side of the classroom, it feels like I am making that investment and students are able to come to me with things whether or not they are related to CAT class,” Langvardt says. As K-State prides itself on being a family, so does the College of Agriculture CAT Program. Educating students on the many educational opportunities is a chain of influence that starts in the CAT classroom. K

Molly Bertz, Kyler Langvardt and Aubrey Davis, the CAT Coordinators of 2016.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   53



First-generation college students are starting a new tradition. Story by Sam Capoun


very semester first-generation college students join the College of Agriculture and become a part of the iconic K-State “family” that is rooted deep in tradition. These students are starting a tradition by being the first in their family to attend college, which was considered an “unfathomable feat” to previous generations.

Bright New Stars For the last nine years, 46.1 percent of transfer students and 31.9 percent of incoming freshman in the College of Agriculture have been first-generation students, according to Chris Urban, assistant director at the Office of Assessment. That statistic remained steady for fall 2016 with 30.3 percent of the incoming freshmen considered firstgeneration students. The reasons these students decide to attend institutions of higher education vary. Some make the choice for better job opportunities with higher income, while others may crave more knowledge to bring back to their family operation. Shelby Zink, a student in agribusiness, says four years ago she had a reason to pack her belongings into a vehicle and travel 10 hours from Indiana to a state she had never even visited. “I did it because I’m pursuing an education that propels me to learn more about the industry that I have the

54  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

upmost passion for at one of the best agriculture institutions in the nation,” Zink says. When she made that decision she became the first in her family to attend college. After graduation, Zink would like to become a loan officer for an agricultural business. Most likely this will require a degree in agribusiness or a related field, she says. “Agriculture has helped form and mold me, my life and my future,” Zink says. “Now, I plan on returning the favor by helping farmers and ranchers in any way I can. And if that means getting a college degree, I will.” For another College of Agriculture student the story is a little different. For Kristen Knackstedt, student in animal sciences and industry, it is about learning innovative ways to continue the legacy on her family’s dairy farm. Knackstedt

“I plan on returning the favor by helping farmers and ranchers in any way I can. And if that means getting a college degree, I will.” SHELBY ZINK AGRIBUSINESS STUDENT

. .


Shelby Zink works with her adviser, Jason Bergtold, Associate Professor, to plan her 2017 school semester. is a fourth-generation dairy farmer. After graduation, she plans to return to the dairy farm her great-grandparents started back in 1952. “Growing up on a dairy is a lifestyle. From a young age you learn to love what you do and the animals you work with,” Knackstedt says. “I chose to go to college so I could learn how to make our dairy farm more efficient so we continue on with the legacy that was started 65 years ago with hopes that I can pass it on to future generations.”

advantages so they aren’t able to provide the extra support.” For Zink, the frustrations and challenges first began when she started the process of applying for college and scheduling college visits. “It was the little things that were so frustrating to figure out like how to fill out my application or even trying to decide what classes to take, ” she says. “My parents tried to help me the best they could, but I really turned to my academic advisers in the college for help.”


Support from the College of Agriculture

First-generation students are expected to complete the same curriculum as any other student. But, along with the common curriculum come uncommon obstacles. Don Boggs, associated dean of academic programs, says, “Firstgeneration students don’t have some of the background and perspectives for some of the processes of college. Also, some don’t have the home support, because family members don’t know what this is leading to and some of the

Because a large percentage of college students are first-generation, the College of Agriculture faculty and staff are there to help them. “K-State is good at welcoming students,” Boggs says. “In the College of Ag we try to get our students paired up with their faculty adviser early on so they have a contact point. And we always encourage students to come in for visits.” Boggs also described a unique feature that sets the College of Agriculture

apart from other K-State colleges- an orientation class specific to each major that all new students are required to take their first semester. “This is designed so students can learn who their contact points are early on,” Boggs says.

Looking into the Future Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” First-generation students are on the path to doing just that. Along their journey to get a degree, these students develop lifelong relationships and connections that empower them to achieve more than they ever thought they could. They are pushed harder in more ways than they ever have before. By seizing these opportunities, they will help change and protect the future of agriculture. “I’ve been advised by my teachers ‘to make a living doing what I love,’” Knackstedt says. “So far I’m on the path to doing just that, thanks to the College of Ag.” K

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   55



Four students find their passion in one-of-a-kind programs. Story by Mikhayla DeMott


sk around and often the word family is used to describe the Kansas State University culture. Many students feel a sense of inclusiveness at K-State, especially in the College of Agriculture. Along with a caring atmosphere, the College of Agriculture also offers four unique programs and students have found a home within these programs. They are wildlife and outdoor enterprise management (WOEM), feed science, bakery science and milling science. Each program is its own family with outstanding advisers, great experiences and excellent opportunities.

A Passion for the Outdoors Columbus, Kansas, native Marty Shanks knew he would one day be a K-Stater, but it was not until later in life that he decided what he wanted to do. Shanks has always immersed himself in the outdoor culture. “I started hunting when I was little with my dad and I’ve shot competitively ever since,” says Shanks, a first-year student. He learned of the WOEM program through friends and knew right away it was the one for him. Shanks is new to K-State and the program, but he quickly realized he hit the bullseye.

56  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

His love for the outdoors and the WOEM program keeps him engaged with hands-on courses and trips. “Eventually I want to own my own shooting course and hunting preserve, but after college I’ll want to work for someone else,” says Shanks. Shanks has felt a strong sense of family through his adviser, Andrew Rickets. “I can talk to him about anything. He used to live 10 miles from where I grew up so it’s been great to have met someone from home,” Shanks says. WOEM is the first bachelor of science degree to be created to train professional operational managers for hunting/shooting preserves and resorts, game bird production, fishing resorts, and outdoor experience companies. The program is selective and only admits about 25 students a year. Starting salaries for gradates fall in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.

A Different Side of Animal Agriculture Second year feed and animal sciences and industry student, Milan Hunter, travels far from home to pursue her passion for ruminant nutrition. Hunter, from Buffalo Creek, Colorado has always

been around livestock and has developed a love for learning, especially about cattle. Hunter initially sought out K-State for the animal science program, but on a campus tour she learned about feed science and decided to explore that option. “I’ve always been interested in ruminant nutrition so I thought it would be a different perspective than just the animal side,” Hunter says. Hunter’s adviser, Cassandra Jones, has mentored her since her first semester. “The fall of my first year here, I met with her and she already had my four years planned out,” Hunter says. Hunter plans to pursue her master’s and doctorate degrees in ruminant nutrition following her undergraduate graduation. After her schooling is complete, she hopes to be an independent nutrition consultant for a feedlot or dairy. Hunter feels fortunate to be in the program because of its uniqueness, scholarships and experiences. The smallness allows for one-on-one help, hands-on classes and greater scholarship opportunities. Starting salaries for undergraduates in this field are between $55,000 and $65,000.

Hunter says, “It’s great to be a part of such a unique major and to know that companies really seek us out is really exciting.” Feed science is housed in Shellenberger Hall, along with the bakery science major, which is another special program at K-State.

“I really fell in love with the department and the program and the uniqueness of it.”

Baking Down to a Science


K-State is a little closer to home for Sophia Pitney, fourth-year bakery and food science student, and unlike the others, K-State was not her first choice. But the Abilene, Kansas, native was instantly sold on the school and program when she came on a visit. “I really fell in love with the department and the program,” Pitney says. Baking in 4-H and growing up alongside her mother and grandma instilled a love for cooking and baking. Pitney’s adviser, Dave Krishock, has continued to feed her with his enthusiasm. “He has been my biggest influence. He’s not only my adviser, but also the person who gave me the passion for bakery science,” Pitney says.

In spring 2017, she pursue a career in product development and then eventually transition into brand marketing. A typical starting salary for a bakery science majors is $55,000-$65,000.

A Future in Flour Milling K-State and the milling science management program were Tanner Elliott’s one and only choice. Elliot, from Mankato, Minnesota, has always known what he wanted to do. Elliott is a fourth-year student in the program, and around fourth grade he recognized that his dad, who is a flour mill manager, had an interesting job.

“My father is in the industry and I recognized when I was little that he always came home happy,” Elliott says. K-State was his only pick so he was hopeful he would like his decision. “It’s the only thing I thought I wanted to do, thank goodness I ended falling in love with it,” Elliott says. The program and industry are small and tight-knit. Elliott has had an internship each summer since he began college and his last internship turned into a career. Elliott says, “I got a full-time position for Graincraft in Ogden, Utah, and they are the largest privately owned milling company.” Elliott can expect a starting salary between $58,000 and $65,000. Students in this program will have 100 percent job placement. It is the only four-year bachelor of science degree in milling. These four students represent the family experience they feel in their respective unique majors. The College of Agriculture has an outstanding reputation and continues to grow with one-of-a-kind programs like these. K

These students have found their place in four special majors. Left to right: Marty Shanks, Milan Hunter, Sophia Pitney and Tanner Elliott.

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   57





58  Agriculturist • Spring 2017


Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   59



With arms raised above her head, Temple Grandin, worldrenowned autism spokesperson, livestock industry expert on animal behavior, author and professor at Colorado State University, concluded the 175th Landon Lecture on Public Issues on Nov. 29. Grandin spoke before a full McCain Auditorium about “Educating students who have different kinds of minds.” Her fast-paced, enthusiastic speech drew audience members from across the university and community. Grandin spoke about the different types of thinking and how students on the autism spectrum need to be exposed to hands-on career work. Grandin cited her own experiences at a young age in the livestock industry with her career success. She also shared her concern that the current public school system is eliminating students like her from careers where they could succeed because they do not pass algebra. “We need all different kinds of minds,” Grandin says. “I’m seeing smart kids getting addicted to video games when they need to be in the maintenance shed at the Cargill plant.”

In addition to speaking in the lecture series, Grandin was a guest presenter in a Department of Animal Sciences and Industry course during the week of Nov. 28. Ninety students from across the College of Agriculture received nine hours of hands-on training from Grandin in animal welfare and humane livestock handling Temple Grandin speaks at the during a special course hosted 175th Landon Lecture. by Lindsey Hulbert, assistant professor in animal sciences and industry. Second-year student in agricultural technology management, Will Moreland, attended the livestock handling course and says he will implement what he learned from Grandin on his family’s operation to more efficiently work cattle. K


In October, Sandy Klein was selected to be the assistant dean of academic programs within the Kansas State University College of Agriculture. Klein previously served the College of Agriculture as the program and events coordinator since 2011. Klein replaces Sharon Theilen. Klein says she is excited about the new opportunity and will strive to enhance the college’s recruitment efforts. “The College of Agriculture exemplifies the K-State family atmosphere," says Klein. "I am really excited to be a part of it and continue building the feeling for all current and future K-State College of Agriculture students." In her new position, Klein will lead the college’s new student services and recruitment activities. This includes coordinating all of the College of Agriculture’s marketing efforts, overseeing new student orientation and enrollment, advising general agriculture students and co-advising international students and representing

60  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

the college on university committees as assigned. Klein will also continue to advise the College of Agriculture Ambassadors program. K

Newly selected assistant dean of academic programs, Sandy Klein.


The College of Agriculture at Kansas State University has been awarded four Feed the Future Innovation Labs, totaling more than $100 million in investment from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the next five years. The Feed the Future Innovation Labs focus on improving crop resiliency and production and preventing losses in specific countries as a part of an effort to end world hunger. The labs are a collaboration between universities, industry and non-government organizations to address these challenges through research, education and outreach in the focus countries. USAID has recently changed their system in how the innovation labs are distributed and the process is highly competitive. “There is no other school in the country that has four of the new Feed the Future labs,” says John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture. “This says that K-State is recognized nationally and internationally for what we do in agriculture and the life sciences.” K-State is home to the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet, Feed the Future

Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Sustainable Intensification. “We can extend all of our expertise beyond the borders of the state and the country,” Floros says. “We go to Africa, Southeast Asia or Latin America, we go to places where they need some help and we provide that help in a way that helps the local farmers and citizens improve their lives. The faculty and students that are doing this work are then able to bring back new knowledge that we can apply to what we do to help the Kansas farmer.” K


In September, the Kansas State University Crops Team took first place at an international competition in Australia. The two-day competition took place outside of Temora, New South Wales. Representing K-State was Samantha L'Ecuyer, Nicole Sudbeck, Michaela Simmelink, Jessi Bramhall and Sarah Zerger, accompanied by coach Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy, and Kim Kerschen, academic coordinator in agronomy. “We go to Australia every other year,” Donnelly says. “We put two teams together, combining the past team and the projected team for the next year.” This year, the K-State team was accompanied by U.S. teams from Iowa State, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin. Six teams from Australia were also in the competition. The team had to work to overcome a slight language barrier for crop names.

“We have to do scientific names because they call everything a different name than what we do,” Donnelly says. “We may know The Kansas State University Crops Team the plant, but if took first place at an international we don’t know the competition in Australia. scientific name or the Australian name, we get no credit.” Donnelly says his team members have earned their spots on the team through hard work, both in and out of the classroom. “For them to be successful, they had to study evenly,” he says. “But they also have to rely on what they know. They are the cream of our crop.” K

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   61



When Fusarium head blight strikes a wheat crop, it bleaches the spikes and florets, discolors and shrivels the seeds, reduces yield and may deem the crop unsafe for human consumption. Kansas State University plant pathology professors teamed up with others from the University of Maryland, Washington State University and the University of Minnesota to isolate the gene resistant to the fungus Fusarium graminearum. “The breakthrough that we’re reporting is the cloning of a resistance gene,” says Bikram Gill, university distinguished professor of plant pathology. “We have identified the DNA and protein sequence, and we are getting some idea of how this gene provides resistance to the wheat plant for controlling the disease. The cloning of this gene is the key to unlock quicker progress for control of this disease.” The team had a long journey to reach the breakthrough. The wheat variety with the most success resisting the blight is a Chinese cultivar named Sumai 3; the team utilized this cultivar

to find the resistant DNA sequence. K-State plant pathology professor Eduard Akhunov prepared a clone library of Sumai 3 DNA and from that point, the professors in Washington and Maryland analyzed the library to find the right sequence. Gill says the discovery speeds up the process of creating FHB-resistant varieties and is applicable to traditional and molecular wheat breeding. K


Formerly known as the Department of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources, the leadership opted to rename the department it in fall 2016. They are now known as the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources. Since the name change, current students in the department say they have not seen a difference in their class material, but that the new name is simpler and easier to explain when talking about their major. Horticulture and natural resources major Miranda Alumbaugh says that she was not aware until halfway through her fall semester that the department name had been changed. “I didn’t realize the name was different until someone else pointed it out to me,” Alumbaugh says. “As far as the actual major, it didn’t change any of the courses that I needed in order to graduate.” Associate professor and extension specialist in landscape management, Cathie Lavis, says that the name is more practical and easier for everyone to use.

62  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

Lavis says, “Students seem to like it because it is shorter, easier to “spill out” during conversation and is more concise.” K


A Kansas State University College of Agriculture associate professor in soil fertility, Nathan Nelson, has been awarded a three-year, $468,599 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. The grant will support research on cover crops and fertilizer management with an emphasis on phosphorus loss in surface runoff. This research is a larger part of the Kansas Agricultural Watershed Field Laboratory research that began in 2014. The KAW research was conducted to analyze the effects that agricultural management practices have on nutrient, chemical, water and sediment losses. Consisting of 18 small watersheds, the goal of the KAW land is to develop sustainable conservation practices that will in turn increase crop yield and profitability. “This is a water quality study,” Nelson says. “It will look at the effects of cover crops and fertilizer management on water quality and phosphorus loss in surface runoff.”

The new grant will provide additional funding to study how water quality influences phosphorous, water and sediment loss. Four monitoring stations will be installed on farmers’ fields to demonstrate the results of the research. The K-State professor seeks to improve producer will be able to see crop production water quality. the effects that cover crops have on their land and the how the crops can increase soil health. “The producers are interested in knowing how their practices influence overall natural resource stewardship,” Nelson says. “They want to be good stewards and they want to know that what they are doing with their extra efforts is going to pay off in improved natural resource conservation.” K

DAY OF DAIRY By Janet Attanasio

On October 5, Kansas State University’s Dairy Unit and the dairy industry as a whole was promoted in an attempt to reach out to college students during the Day of Dairy sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Association. “It was a great way to show students who are not involved in the dairy industry or who are not in the College of Agriculture what happens here on our campus,” says Rachel Footit, Dairy Science Club president. Approximately 30 students attended, many studying human nutrition. Participants were split into two groups where they were able to tour the K-State Dairy Processing Center, behind Call Hall Dairy Bar and the K-State Dairy Unit. They also sampled dairy products while listening to industry professionals speak. This event was beneficial for students to learn the behind the scenes of the dairy industry, Footit says. It was especially beneficial for students working with dairy products who have not been exposed to dairy farms.

“I hope that we as a college can continue this event in years to come to keep promoting the dairy industry,” Footit says. Midwest Dairy Association has held Day of Dairy at Minnesota State University as well as The K-State Day of Dairy showed participants different aspects of the Iowa State University, dairy industry from calves to the milk and hopes to make processing center. this an annual event at K-State where they can continue to reach students and promote the industry. K

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   63



The second annual Animal Sciences and Industry Family and Friends reunion took place on Oct.7, drawing a crowd of K-State ASI alumni, students, faculty and staff. A highlight of the reunion was the presentation of the Don L. Good Impact Award. This prestigious award was established in 2015 and is awarded to a person or entity that has shown an exceptional influence on the livestock and meat industry or agriculture. The Livestock and Meat Industry Council selected Certified Angus Beef LLC as the 2016 winner. Also recognized were many of the K-State alumni who had an impact on CAB’s success. The reunion is also a place for people to come together to find out what new and exciting things are happening on campus and in animal science. More than 100 students helped with the

KA AN N SS A A K W W H H EE AA Rediscover Wheat Rediscover Wheat


® ®

Investing in the future through wheat genetics research. 1990 Kimball Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502 Phone: 785-539-0255 |

64  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

event from parking to talking about the products that were served. Entertainment was provided for the younger members of the family in the Junior Wildcat Barnyard. Children Impact Award winners at the second had the opportunity annual Animal Science and Industry’s Family and Friends Reunion. to play and win prizes. “We try and make the event very family oriented,” says Angie Denton, animal science communications coordinator. K





Look for the logo at farmers’ markets, specialty stores, grocery stores and restaurants. By buying locally grown, raised and processed food and agricultural products, you not only receive high quality fresh products, you also support farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and the Kansas economy.


Alma Creamery is “Home of the famous Alma Cheese.” All cheeses are produced on site and sold in their retail outlet as well as in stores throughout Kansas.


KC Wine Co. is a boutique winery in a unique, vintage-inspired space that can beautifully host events for any occasion.


Oz Winery makes all of their wines on site and is a place where visitors can sample wine and browse local chocolates, cheese and souvenirs.


A fourth-generation family farm that produces, processes and distributes their dairy products to more than 120 stores across Kansas.


Munson’s Prime provides high quality beef produced by their cow/calf herd and sold at their beef market and steakhouse.


Sunflower Food Company is home of the original chocolate covered sunflower seeds called “Sunny Seeds.”


Jack Stack has five restaurants in Kansas City and a catering division. They also sell premium items in many retail locations and online.


A restaurant and sports bar serving locally raised meat and homemade pies in a family atmosphere.


Wright Farms Sunflower Oil is an edible, cold-pressed sunflower oil locally grown and processed.

Visit us at Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   65

Who Can Apply? n Student who will be juniors or seniors at K-State1 n Background or major related to animal agriculture n Interest in animal genetics, animal nutrition, animal health, agribusiness, ag economics, reproductive management or marketing of purebred cattle

How to Apply? n Complete K-State scholarship application by February 1, 2017 at n Complete Henry C. Gardiner Scholarship application by February 1, 2017 at Henry C. Gardiner applications must be turned in to Dr. Dave Nichols, 133 Weber Hall,

Apply for the

Henry C. Gardiner Scholarship(s)

Awarded for the 2017-2018 School Year

Gardiner Angus Ranch 1182 CR Y n Ashland, Kansas 67831 n (620) 635-2156 n n 1

66  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

College transfer students entering their junior year will be considered. Preference will be given to current K-State students.

B eggsCLEARFIELD C onstruction I OWA ,

Kansas State University Co lleg i ate Cattlewo m en Jack Beggs 641-344-8000 Chris England 641-344-8001 join us for

B eef M eet o n A pr i l 7 - details to follow -


Meetings on the second Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm in Call Hall 205

Alpha of Clovia

M-S 9a- 8p Sun 11a- 6p

4-H Cooperative Leadership House

“Growing Together, Sisters Forever”

Connecting people to agriculture

1620 Fort Riley Blvd. 785-539-4811

Cooperative Memberships Deli • Health • Grocery

Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


1200 Pioneer Lane Manhattan, KS 66502 785-320-7970

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   67

FarmHouse Fraternity’s motto, “Builder of

Men,” is best explained by the four-part approach we take to building our members: men must have a strong spiritual foundation, be intellectually keen, be adept both socially and morally, and value physical wellness. While great strides can be made in these four areas during one’s time in college, members know that the true process of building men is more long-term; in reality, the building of men is never finished and is best viewed from a life-long perspective.

68  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

Member Benefits & Services Weekly KLA News & Market Report Kansas Stockman magazine – 10 issues annually – website updated daily KLA Today – timely email updates on industry issues Legislative representation and troubleshooting assistance with state and federal agencies Educational Seminars, Ranch Management Field Days Annual Convention, County & Area Meetings Leadership Conference, Young Stockmen’s Academy KLA is a proud supporter of K-State, and through its foundation, offers several scholarships annually. Check out for the offering.

Attention Ag Graduates!

K-State College of Agriculture,

To help young people get connected in the industry, complimentary one-year memberships are given to those completing their degrees in ag or a related field as well as new DVMs. Visit for more information. • (785) 273-5115

we know the future is in good hands with you.

877-KS-SOYBEAN (877-577-6923)

Performance Horses Colt Starting • Lessons Horse Training • Clinics Equine Buying and Selling Consultation NRCHA Professional with 30 years of experience, specializing in reined cow horse. Mentoring under world champion Al Dunning

We s t e r n I H S A Est. 2015

• Western Show Team • • Club Activities • • Collegiate Level Competition • • No Experience Necessary •

Monte Wedel

13325 Brush Creek Road Westmoreland, KS 66549 785-410-1655

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   69



Spring 2017 • Volume 63 • Number 1

12 Got Bots? 17 Worldwide Wildcats 34 Bearly Beginning 47 Through the Flames Spring 2017 • Agriculturist 1

ADVERTISING INDEX ACJ/Ag Ed Department........................................................ 4 Ag AM in Kansas..................................................................... 49 Agricultural Economics Department........................ 30 Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow........... 39 Agronomy Department..................................................... 48 Alpha of Clovia........................................................................ 67 American Ag Credit................................................................. 1 Animal Science & Industry Department................. 46 Beggs Construction............................................................. 67 Blueville Nursery.................................................................... 31 Call Hall Dairy Bar................................................................... 16 College of Agriculture......................Inside Front Cover Farmhouse Fraternity.......................................................... 68 Flint Hills Discovery Center.............................................. 14 From the Land of Kansas.................................................. 65 Gardiner Angus Ranch....................................................... 66 Harms Plainview Ranch..................................................... 14 Hrabe Farms.............................................................................. 58 K-State Research and Extension................................... 46 Kansas 4-H Foundation.................... Inside Back Cover Kansas Department of Agriculture............................. 38 Kansas Farm Bureau..........................................Back Cover Kansas Livestock Association......................................... 69 Kansas Soybean Commission........................................ 69 Kansas Wheat........................................................................... 64 KSU Collegiate Cattlewomen......................................... 67 70  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

KSU Global Campus Intersession....................................... 26 KSU Global Campus Online Courses............................... 15 KSU Meat Lab................................................................................. 31 KSU Rodeo Club........................................................................... 64 Michaelis Show Cattle.............................................................. 31 Modern Ag Seeds & Services............................................... 30 Monte Wedel Performance Horses.................................. 69 People's Grocery Coop............................................................. 67 Purple Wave Auction................................................................. 58 Rezac Livestock Commission............................................... 31 Sales Farms...................................................................................... 46 Sigma Alpha Professional Sorority.................................... 67 Solutions North Bank................................................................ 49 Vanderbilt's Wamego................................................................ 59 Wesley Rahjes and Sons.......................................................... 58 Wheat State Agronomy Club............................................... 27 Wrenn Bird Photography........................................................ 39


Hannah Johlman Jamie Morrissey Mikhayla DeMott Sheridan, Wyoming

Omaha, Nebraska

Rio, Illinois

Jackie Newland

Celine Beggs

Jill Seiler

Neodesha, Kansas

Bedford, Iowa

Valley Center, Kansas


Amanda Sales Valley Falls, Kansas

Brittney Blum

Janet Attanasio

Audrey Green

Sam Capoun

Shawnee, Kansas

Otego, New York

Stockton, Kansas

Alma, Kansas


Leigh Ann Maurath

Mallory Diekmann

Emily Writer

Anissa Zagonel

Oakley, Kansas Editor

Saint Paul, Minnesota Assistant Editor

Roxbury, Kansas Design Editor

Advertising Manager

Girard, Kansas

Spring 2017 • Agriculturist   71


MISS? 12

12 robots are replacing people on the Meier dairy.

46.1 percent of transfer students in the College of Agriculture have been firstgeneration in the last nine years.


36 54

Two K-State professors are watching brown bears in Alaska.

72  Agriculturist • Spring 2017

The Kansas forest industry contributes $2.1 billion to the state economy.

The Sleichters have six hoop buildings that produce an abundance of produce each year.



The K-State Rec Center offers almost 50 opportunities to play intramural sports, individually or with a team.

A TRUE LEADER SEES LIFE AS A TEAM ACTIVITY. Give kids the support they need and watch them make the world a better place for all of us. 4-H empowers kids with the skills they need in life. Help grow more true leaders at


Visit to learn how you can help grow true leaders in Kansas.

Kansas State Agriculturist Spring 2017  
Kansas State Agriculturist Spring 2017