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Fall 2016 • Volume 62 • Number 2

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We’ve been here since 1916 helping you grow, raise, harvest and nurture the future of agriculture. Here’s looking forward to the next century of success.

Call 800.466.1146 today or visit

2016Opportunity • Agriculturist  3 A part of the Farm Credit System.Fall Equal Lender.

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Agriculturalists join together to support communities and families in need.


Kansas State University is home to two National Hereford Queens.


Steve Harbstreit leaves a legacy in the agricultural education program.


Why K-State students should care about the presidential election.


This young Kansas State University alumnus is not your average Kansas farmer.


Kansas orchard converts its operation to solar energy.


A living green wall brings new life and learning opportunities to students and professors.


Kansas weather can’t stop students from growing their own produce.


A young scholar seeks to appreciate a new world perspective.



Agricultural student develops communication skills through diverging interests.

28 DIFFERENT ROOTS, SAME BOOTS The Swingin’ Spurs dance team is like being part of a family.


Students battle music and agricultural stereotypes.


A pictorial account of students exhibiting at the 88th Annual K-State Little American Royal.

Students represent the school they love through the Student Governing Association.


Students and alumna turn handmade products into profits.


Members hit the banks to fish out competition.

AGRICULTURIST INSIGHTS 64 COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE NEWS K-State College of Agriculture students and staff are in the news.


Fall 2016 Kansas State Agriculturist staff directory.

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Fall 2016 • Volume 62 • Number 2

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

Top Row (Left to Right): Lisa Moser, Chance Hunley, Marie Annexstad, Jacob Pletcher, Carlee Meeks, Kenzie Curran and Sam Pearson. Bottom Row (Left to Right): Leigh Ann Maurath, Anissa Zagonel, Deven King, Emily Velisek, Melissa Grimmel, Audrey Schmitz, Lindsey Ashmore and Mallory Diekmann.


Fall 2016 • Volume 62 • Number 2

ON THE COVER Read more on page 36. Photo by Melissa Grimmel.

Colophon: Volume 62, Number 2, of the Kansas State Agriculturist was produced by the Spring 2016 agricultural student magazine class and printed by Jostens. This 72-page magazine, including covers, was created using Apple MacIntosh 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, 315 Umberger Hall, Manhattan, Kansas 66506.

The phrase “good things come in small packages” couldn’t be any truer than this semester’s Agriculturist magazine. This high-class masterpiece is brought to you through the fearless leadership of our petite, sassy, redheaded editor Melissa Grimmel. We, as editors, have been honored to showcase our talents and serve such a prestigious K-State tradition and publication. Through the process of creating this magazine we have each grown as writers, designers and overall communicators. It is quite apparent that this semester’s staff of student reporters is incredible, as they went above and beyond to obtain advertisements for the magazine. With their passion and determination, this issue of the Agriculturist reached a record 72 pages. Within these pages you will find College of Agriculture students who took action after a tragic wildfire this spring and a retiring agricultural education professor whose teaching has inspired thousands of students, as well as a photo story of the K-State Little American Royal showmanship contest. An Arts in Agriculture feature section highlights students in the

College of Agriculture who deserve the recognition they don’t always receive as they participate in campus performance organizations such as the In-A-Chord choir, Swingin’ Spurs dance team and K-State Orchestra. Our Rooted in Purple section is home to stories about a K-State alumnus’s peach and apple orchard, the prospect of growing gardens in available containers, and a living plant wall on campus. In our Beyond the Classroom section, learn how students are devoting their time outside of coursework to starting their own businesses, influencing student government and traveling halfway around the world. To Lisa Moser, our class instructor, we extend our greatest appreciation. We thank you for your guidance in the classroom and the wisdom you instilled in us as we prepared this publication. You have inspired us to become the young professionals we are today. To our readers, we hope this edition of our magazine fills you with pride in the College of Agriculture students and alumni of Kansas State University who are shaping the future of agriculture. Go Cats!

- Melissa, Audrey, Marie and Lindsey

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Agriculturalists join together to support communities and families in need. Story by Jacob Pletcher


hen the largest wildfire in Kansas history consumed more than 400,000 acres in south central Kansas, many Kansas State University College of Agriculture alumni and students responded in the Wildcat Way. Support poured into many rural Kansas communities from generous organizations and volunteers.

College Support K-State’s Agricultural Education Club realized how many K-State students were affected by the wildfire and immediately responded. Their goal was to raise money to relieve a portion of the financial stress that the wildfire was causing Kansans. After a meeting and some major brainstorming, they came up with a plan to sell meat sticks donated by Riverstar Farms. They reached their goal and then some. “A group of students came together and decided on how they wanted to be active,” says Brandie Disberger, the Ag Education club’s adviser. “They created a timeline and set goals, and they

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surpassed their goals about four times over what they thought they could do.” Selling the meat sticks was not an easy task. Most of the students that sold them loaded up their backpacks each morning and sold them to fellow classmates and faculty members during and in between classes. Their efforts paid off, as they were able to sell around 1,400 meat sticks in one week and quickly helped people in need of assistance. “The focus was on the fundraiser because it could be done fast and the impact would be immediate,” Disberger says.

High School Support South Barber High School agriculture instructor and Kansas State College of Agriculture alumnus Kyle Jacobs saw firsthand the devastation that his community had received when he was out fighting the flames as a volunteer firefighter. Jacobs was fighting the wildfire from the day it started to when it was put out. Since he was out in the trenches, knowing exactly what was

going on, he knew that action needed to be taken. “I knew the fire was going to be a long, drawn-out process, and it was going to be a while before we got anything under control,” Jacobs says. “We needed to find some way as a school and an FFA chapter to give back to the community that has given us so much.” After the commotion died down, a Medicine Lodge woman reached out to Jacobs. She was looking for a place to store fencing supplies. “They were needing some place secure to store fencing supplies, and we have an area behind our school’s mechanics shop that we can lock up and keep everything secure. I actually became one of the fencing coordinators and a drop off point. At this point, the kids stepped up and volunteered in any way they could: helping unload trucks, organizing the materials and loading fencing supplies in trucks to be distributed.” In addition, they plan on volunteering their time to rebuild fence for the farmers and ranchers in need.

“At this point, the kids stepped up and volunteered in any way they could: helping unload trucks, organizing the materials and loading fencing supplies in trucks to be distributed.” - KYLE JACOBS, SOUTH BARBER HIGH SCHOOL INSTRUCTOR

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“Farmers and ranchers have been giving to our chapter so generously for years, and they’re in a time of need. They have helped us out in our times of need, so we are trying to reciprocate the favor.”

Agency Support Agriculture is not only the state’s leading industry, but is an economic driver. So when a wildfire of this magnitude affects multiple agricultural families and communities, the state’s lead agency for agriculture, the Kansas Department of Agriculture, provided support in the recovery process for the victims of the wildfire. “The role that we have taken on is to be a liaison between the public and all of these entities that have an actual program that they are running, or an actual action that they can put into

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place,” says Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture and K-State College of Agriculture alumna. “We have developed one website that has all the wildfire information on it. We are trying to create that one place that people can go to who have either been affected by the wildfires or people trying to help them.” Kansas farmers and ranchers who have been affected by the wildfire will be facing hardships for the next several years and looking past short-term solutions could make or break these families and communities. “In the short-term, we have to get fences rebuilt and people have to start thinking about what their grazing and range management plans are going to be. Long-term, our biggest issues will be rebuilding the actual herds. Especially

the families that have lost genetics,” McClaskey says. “But, the piece that we haven’t got ahold of yet is the emotional and psychological impact that people experienced in this kind of loss, and I think that is a bigger issue than we understand at this point.” When the coals turn to ashes, it is easy to forget the hardships that people are still enduring, but McClaskey encourages all not to lose focus on the Kansas communities in need. “One of the most important things is not to stop thinking about this when the flames are out and the fences are built,” McClaskey says. “This is a long-term recovery, and there are things that this area and region might need that go beyond the next few weeks or months.” K

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Kansas State University is home to two National Hereford Queens.


espite being in the show ring all day, the National Hereford Queen still looks flawless in her classic white outfit as she stands at the photo backdrop holding each banner. The current National Hereford Queen and a former queen attend Kansas State University’s College of Agriculture. The reigning queen, Taylor Belle Matheny, is an agricultural communications and journalism student, and Brooke Jensen, who served as the 2013-2014 queen, is an agricultural economics student. As National Hereford Queen, these young ladies represent one of the largest adult and junior beef breed associations in the country. The queen serves as an ambassador for the American Hereford Association and the National Junior Hereford Association.

The Experience Being National Hereford Queen is much more than spending the day in the show ring. There are moments these girls will never forget. Matheny says she is always surprised by the number of people who want to meet her. She also loves interacting with the younger girls who aspire to be the National Hereford Queen, as well as telling people with no agricultural background about her story and the Hereford breed. During Jensen’s reign there was one moment she will always remember.

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Story by Emily Velisek Photos by Melissa Grimmel

At the National Western Stock Show during the National Hereford Bull Show she witnessed a bull awarded grand champion named C Miles McKee 2103 ET. He was named after a Kansas State animal science professor emeritus. “This bull brought a lot of publicity and history into the Hereford breed in a short period of time,” Jensen says. “He sold for a world record value of $600,000 just one year before being named the 2014 NWSS Grand Champion Bull and Supreme Champion Hereford. The experience was overwhelmingly exciting to be a part of during my reign. I was nearly in tears after he was slapped champion.”

Outside the Ring Along with attending shows, the national queen also travels to sales and meetings. Jensen enjoyed sharing her knowledge of the Hereford breed with people in the airport, in taxis or at sales while traveling. “Whenever I was asked why I was wearing my crown or what Hereford is, I showed those people pictures and explained my ambassador role,” Jensen says. She also wrote articles for many livestock publications, such as the Showtimes Magazine and the Hereford World. She also experienced a live TV

interview on a special about Herefords in the Mile High City.

Countless Hours From a young age, Matheny knew she wanted to run for National Hereford Queen as her mother held the title of National Polled Hereford Queen in 1988. “Growing up, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of my mom as queen and knew I wanted the chance to have the same experience,” Matheny says. However, Jensen had a slightly different path leading her to run for National Hereford Queen. It wasn’t until halfway through her reign as Kansas Hereford Queen she aspired to compete for the national title. Her time spent with the other queens at the Junior National Hereford Expo, as well as learning the process of the contest, convinced her to pursue representing the Hereford breed as a national queen. To become National Hereford Queen, Matheny and Jensen put in long hours of studying the Hereford breed before competing. The annual contest is in Kansas City at the American Royal in conjunction with the junior and open Hereford show. For the contest, the girls were required to send in an application and résumé. They then traveled to Kansas City to compete for the title along with several other state queens.

Royal Legacy

“Growing up I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of my mom as queen and knew I wanted the chance to have the same experience as her.” - TAYLOR MATHENY, 2015-2016 NATIONAL HEREFORD QUEEN

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“There are three judges throughout the weekend evaluating us on our poise, character, interaction with the other girls as well as ring presence,” Jensen says. Along with the above criteria, Jensen also gave a public speech and had a formal interview with the three judges.

Royalty Calls The National Hereford Queen is required to attend seven national shows: the American Royal, North American International Livestock Exposition, Western Nugget, National Western Stock Show, Southwestern Exposition, Junior National Hereford Expo and Keystone International Livestock Exposition. The Junior National Hereford Expo is the biggest event for the queen. Not only is the queen in the ring all week handing out ribbons, but she also hosts the queen’s tea. “The queen’s tea is a time for the younger girls and the state queens to spend the afternoon getting to know each other and doing activities,” Matheny says. The tea is important because the girls get the chance to bond and know each other before spending days together in

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the ring. It gives them time to make new friends, who also love the Hereford breed and are interested in advocating for the breed.

Show Ring Presence While holding the title of National Hereford Queen, Matheny and Jensen were still allowed to show their cattle. In years previous, the association had not allowed the girls to show. For these girls, representing the Hereford breed and showing is what they love. People want to see them not only at the photo backdrop, but also with their heifers in the show ring. Since they are allowed to show, their families are a huge help and the girls rely on them to take care of their cattle, while they are in the show ring. “You are there before and after the judge leaves,” Jensen says. “So you have to have your family to depend on to take care of everything back at the stalls.”

Balancing School Balancing school and being the national queen is a challenge. Since many of their duties land during the school

year, they are gone a lot, which means they have to work even harder to keep up their grades. Jensen was in high school for most of her reign. She passed on the crown a few months after coming to K-State. Being queen taught Jensen how to organize her time. As the reigning queen, Matheny is here at K-State, and she has been fortunate that all her professors have been great about helping her when she misses class. She has learned that she usually has to take tests early and be extremely organized to stay on top of her school work. “I make sure to talk to my teachers at least a week ahead of time,” Matheny says. “When I tell them I am National Hereford Queen, I make sure to expand a little to explain that I’m not just a queen, but I’m an ambassador. They are usually really supportive and let me make up my work before I leave so that I am not behind when I get back.” K

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Story and photo by Deven King

6,812 students this school year. If that’s one year, imagine the impact he’s had over the course of his career.

Childhood and Education


n the third floor of Umberger Hall sits a man in an office chair next to a desk covered in family photos. The office walls are covered in awards, and shelves are full of books and binders. As the gentleman pulls a binder off the shelf, the pictures inside show he has stood the test of time. The man in the pictures is Agricultural Education Professor Steven Harbstreit — a teacher who has dedicated more than half of his life educating young minds not only about agriculture, but also to carry on his passion for teaching agriculture. To get a sense of his teaching impact, look at the number of former students actively teaching in Kansas. This year alone Harbstreit has taught 128 of the 217 teachers in Kansas agricultural education programs, and those 128 teachers are teaching approximately

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For Harbstreit, the path to becoming a teacher began with a simple childhood conversation at a 4-H event in his home state of Indiana. It was there that an agricultural education teacher took an interest in him. “I just thought it was so cool that an adult came to talk with me with a specific reason; he was interested in my projects and me,” Harbstreit says. He later moved to Missouri, where his parents grew corn and soybeans and raised commercial hogs. He was active in his school’s agriculture programs. A 1967 graduate of Cameron High School, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Missouri in 1971. He continued his studies at Northwest Missouri State University, where he earned a master’s in education in 1976. Eventually he finished his education at the University of Missouri with a Ph.D. in 1987.

Long-Standing Career After spending many years teaching Missouri high school students, he then worked training educators at the University of Missouri. In 1987, he found his new home at Kansas State University, where he spent the next 29 years shaping young Wildcat minds. During his time at Kansas State, he helped move the program of agricultural education from the College of Education to the College of Agriculture. He was in charge of many beneficial grants and helped ensure that as agriculture evolved so did the program. He served on the state standards board, in order to be a part of the group that sets the standard for licensing Kansas agriculture teachers. Long time friend and former colleague Mike Wamitchelle, program director of ag energy and natural resources with the Colorado Community College System, talked about his time at Kansas State. He knew Harbstreit on a more personal level as he spent 25 years teaching agricultural education in Kansas. “The majority of teachers in Kansas are K-State graduates, there are not too many of us that predate Steve. He has probably impacted 90 percent of teachers in Kansas agriculture education,” says Wamitchelle.

Harbstreit says he’s taught 432 students over the course of his agricultural education career. Harbstreit didn’t just affect students, but also staff. Kristina Boone, professor and department head of communications and agricultural education, talks about how his passion and care set him apart from others at Kansas State. “Most agricultural educators are passionate about teaching and the value of experiential learning through FFA and the supervised agricultural experience,” Boone says. “Steve certainly upholds those values and instills them in the students who have studied here.” Harbstreit has spent most of his career helping train new teachers and working with colleagues to better the program. He also has helped evolve all agricultural education programs in Kansas. “From the day he walked into K-State, he had as much passion to help teachers in the field as the students,” Wamitchelle says. “As a past high school teacher, I really respect and appreciate his desire to improve and impact professional development.”

Kansas State Pride When asked why he has stayed at Kansas State for so many years, with a smile on his face he says, “It’s the hardworking honest people.” He adds, “I’m proud of our agricultural education program here. We produce a great

brings a lot of joy to his world. Harbstreit product and our students become the has toyed with the idea of substitute kind of role models that got me started.” teaching, but is also excited about the As he prepares to box up his office and opportunity to travel. Now he prepares enjoy his retirement in December 2016, to pack up, move out and start a new he says not only will he miss the daily chapter in life. encounters with both current and former Boone says, “I hope he has a wonderful students, but also the ongoing feeling time in retirement and gets to pursue all that came with the job. the hobbies and interests he has. And, I “The most joy is seeing our students know he will be spending lots of happy get jobs teaching high school agriculture, times as grandpa.” K and feeling like I had a small part in them helping today’s youth. It’s humbling to think about the longterm influence. Some of my first students are now getting close to retirement,” Harbstreit says. The staff at K-State makes it no secret that he will be missed. “Many times during his tenure here, he was the only person keeping agricultural education moving along,” Boone says. “He also was essential in recruiting our high-quality faculty.” During retirement, Harbstreit plans to spend time with his family. He is a father of two and a husband to his wife Elizabeth. His grandson Steve Harbstreit sits at his desk as he reviews students’ work.

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Why K-State students should care about the presidential election. Story by Chance Hunley


eneration Y: the generation that has seen massive changes in societies and countries all around the world; the generation that strives to be fiercely independent and show the generations before them that they want to make a difference and the generation that may not be showing up to the voting polls. Studies have shown that a younger voice is being underrepresented in national elections. For college students, this means that those affected by higher education policies aren’t voicing their concerns. For those that will be the next generation of agriculturists, their way of life is being called into question with little argument.

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Living, Working, Voting Agriculture is a large part of everyone’s lives, whether they hop off the tractor in the evening or eat a bowl of cereal in the morning. At the government level, many policies affect crops that are grown, the water used to grow them and what happens to the crops after they are harvested. It can be difficult to keep all the issues straight, especially when political candidates may have radically different ideas for the future of agriculture. With several points of view being brought to the table, voters need to pay close attention to the issues. Lindy Bilberry, student in agricultural economics, says since agriculture is a big

part of the U.S., it is in our best interests to make sure those in office are the people who support agriculture. “Although those in agriculture make up a minority of our population, we produce products that are vitally important to feeding and clothing Americans and people around the globe. We should be working hard to elect representatives that will protect our best interests,” Bilberry says. Voters should still be mindful of the individual views of the representatives. Barry Flinchbaugh, professor of agricultural policy at Kansas State University, says that both sides of the political spectrum could have negative effects on the industry if left unchecked.

“Both sides have very different views on economic and social issues,” Flinchbaugh says. “One side may do away with ag policy altogether, while the other side may turn it into a social program and completely disregard the economic side of things. You may say I’m taking it to the extreme, but we are dealing with an election of the extremes.” While it may be easy to forget how this decision may affect the future of the younger generation, Flinchbaugh expressed how important it is for their voices to be heard. “If I was your age, I wouldn’t want us old people voting for you,” Flinchbaugh says. “We have the luxury of our vote not affecting us much. But this is your future. The people who have the most at stake in this election are the young people, so they need to vote.”

between the two and just decide to not vote at all.” Another part of the problem may be a lack of information, which can come from a lack of concern for the election. Bilberry says when multiple people make the decision not to vote, the results can be very negative. “Our generation doesn’t make an effort to educate themselves on the issues, and they also don’t believe that their vote individually makes a difference. The culmination of so many with this attitude results in a major problem,” Bilberry says. If students do not know what is at stake in the election or how big a role their individual votes play, it can be hard to convince even one person to get to the polls on the second Tuesday in November. For a student involved in agriculture, the importance of a candidate’s views on the industry may have a significant impact.

“Honestly, I talk to my mom a lot about how she feels on topics in order to gain a new perspective of an issue,” Comstock says. “Otherwise, I try to watch the debates whenever I get a chance. I also talk to my friends to see how they feel about current issues, and sometimes I learn something new from them.” As a professor, Flinchbaugh understands that finding reliable information can sometimes be a struggle. He recommends tuning into the CableSatellite Public Affairs Network, or C-SPAN, and learning a little bit about economic and agricultural policy. “It’s really difficult to get the facts,” Flinchbaugh says. “You can watch Fox and MSNBC, and assume that the truth is somewhere in between. You also have to rely on the sense of what is in your best interest. It’s difficult, but in the end that’s what you’ve got to do.” Not Showing Up An unbiased resource available to the The younger demographic has long public is the website isidewith. been known for low turnout com. The site allows users to take rates at the polls. According a survey covering a wide spectrum to a 2014 report by the U.S. of political views, and will then Census Bureau, only 38 calculate which presidential percent of people under the hopeful the person’s views most age of 24 voted in the 2012 align with. The survey can be as presidential election. In broad or as specific as the surveycontrast, nearly 70 percent of taker wants, allowing people to see those age 65 or older voted in how they align on major issues to the last election. The difficulty them. lies in trying to find just one Those who may know their reason behind young adults party affiliation but want to keep not voting. up on the latest news are able One key factor may be the - BARRY FLINCHBAUGH, PROFESSOR to view their respective party’s current political system as a official website. The official whole. Danielle Comstock, OF AGRICULTURAL POLICY Republican website is, a student in agricultural while the official website for the communications and Democratic Party is journalism, says having to choose among Learning Before Deciding From Bilberry’s perspective, speaking candidates in just two main parties is a When it comes to making an informed to those with experience may be one of potential issue. decision, it is never too early or too late the best courses of action. “I think a lot of our generation has to start reading up on issues, researching She says, “Speak to those who are older views that don’t really stand with a single candidates and forming personal views and smarter than you are. Be willing to party,” Comstock says. “People’s views and opinions. For those who find this to have an open mind.” K vary between conservative and liberal be a struggle, there are some simple ways so they don’t really know where to stand to start gathering facts.

“The people who have the most at stake in this election are the young people, so they need to vote.”

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to This young Kansas State University alumnus is not your average Kansas farmer. Story by Kenzie Curran


he spirits of the Wild West live on in the “Queen of Cowtowns” where cowboys once drove cattle and outlaws wore out their welcomes. In this case, the spirits take on a whole new meaning. One young, western Kansas farmer has turned what was once a municipal building in Dodge City, Kansas, into a microdistillery. In May 2015, Kansas State University graduate Hayes Kelman of Sublette, Kansas, headed home with his bachelor’s degree in agribusiness in one hand and a microdistillery license from the Kansas Department of Revenue in the other. Kelman grew up on a diversified grain operation and says he was always involved in the farm, “whether it was as a kid lying on the floor of the combine taking a nap or actually driving it.” He continued to work on the family farm in college during the summers. What began with him and his friends tasting different whiskeys in college turned into a dream of distilling his own. “We can make this. We can improve on this,” he thought. Kelman says he always planned to return to the family farm, but decided during his final semesters at K-State he wanted to convert his crops into a valueadded line of spirits. “I like the thought of being able to make the best of something,” Kelman says. “And, I’ve always wanted to do more with what we were farming. Creating a

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new product using an input you already produce multiplies the value of each.”

Sealing the Deal After a couple years of entertaining the idea of distilling his own whiskey, he knew he had to go for it. When Dodge City was looking for someone to breathe new life into an abandoned Spanish Colonial Revivalstyle building that was built in 1929, Kelman and his fellow investors, Roger Kelman and Chris Holovach, saw an opportunity. This community fixture had been empty for years and was beginning to show its age. After the building was declared slum and blight, the city was awarded a Community Development Block Grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce and received funds for repairs. The men applied and were chosen to be the new owners of the old building, which is now on both the State and National Register of Historic Places. Today, Boot Hill Distillery sits atop what was Boot Hill cemetery in the 1870s. Melissa McCoy, project development coordinator of Dodge City, says the community is eager to see this historical building brought back to life after it was under threat of being demolished. “People are extremely excited about it,” she adds.

Not only has the distillery rescued an important piece of history, it has brought a unique new business to the city. “It’s only fitting that there is now a whiskey distillery where outlaws were once buried,” says McCoy. “With Dodge City’s sordid past, the idea of a distillery is sort of enchanting.” She also admires Kelman’s hard work. “It’s so neat that he just finished school and is starting the business endeavor. I think it’s a really great thing for Dodge City, too,” says McCoy.

From Grain to Glass

“It’s kind of magic what happens in the barrel.” - HAYES KELMAN, K-STATE ALUMNUS While it is a lengthy and risky process, he says, “If you put quality in, you should get quality out.” Kelman believes that the quality of grain and dedication to product excellence gives them an edge. “We won’t sell anything we wouldn’t want to drink ourselves,” he says. “It will be the best, or we won’t sell it.”

Recipe for Success Through experience, he has found that white whiskey, vodka and gin are some of the quickest products to make. They require the same recipe each time with no aging and minimal variables. “A single barrel product will make about 300 to 350 80-proof bottles that will taste the same,” Kelman explains. “We will save records of every batch to keep product lines consistent.” There are rules that distillers must follow when it comes to production. For example, bourbon has to be at least 51 percent corn and must be produced in the U.S., distilled at no more than 160 proof and stored at no more than 125 proof in charred, new-oak containers. “We’re shooting for a wheated bourbon made of Kansas corn and bread basket wheat to make it a bit sweeter,” Kelman says. “But maybe something else will pop out and have a taste that I wasn’t aiming for that will be awesome.”

Blazing a Trail Boot Hill Distillery is the first legal distillery in western Kansas. It is the only distillery west of Wichita.


Quality is the main objective for Boot Hill Distillery. It is farmer-owned and operated, which makes the potential for quality greater. “The process is all controlled by us to make sure we have the best product,” Kelman says. “It’s made from the best grain in the world — Kansas grain.” Many distillers know the farmer their grain comes from or even visit the farm it comes from, but there are not many who grow the grain themselves. “We can go all the way back to the seed,” he says. “If we want a higher starch

content in the seed, we can do that, and we can choose when to harvest the grain.” Kelman also says the cool nights and warm days in Dodge City are beneficial to aging the whiskey. “It’s kind of magic what happens in the barrel,” Kelman says.

Hayes Kelman and his crew have been working to convert a historical munipical building into a functioning distillery since 2014.

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Distilled liquor is divided into several classes. Within these classes, there are types of spirits, which is where the more specific types of spirits are categorized. The main products the distillery will produce are bourbon, gin, vodka and whiskey.

GIN All Boot Hill Distillery products are made from grain produced on the Kelman family farm in Sublette, Kansas. “We are at the front of this boom,” Kelman says. “I think in 10 years or so we’ll see the number of distilleries peak out and some that aren’t high quality will be weeded out.” Not only is Boot Hill Distillery the first in western Kansas, it’s the only one that is run by a fourth-generation farmer. Kelman continues to support himself by farming while the new business builds. “As far as I know, no one has aged large amounts of whiskey in western Kansas before now,” he says. Kelman says he likes the microdistillery industry today as well as the craft beer brewing industry in the 1980s. The statute to obtain a microdistillery license in Kansas was passed in 2012. Kelman began bottling and selling as soon as the distillery was finished and running. They will sell only at the distillery, while they build up stock and gain more experience and demand. One of Kelman’s biggest fears is not being able to keep up with customer demand. “They won’t stick with our product unless they can rely on it,” he says. “It’s pretty nerve-racking.” Kelman says bourbon is popular right now, but he can’t predict what the

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demand will be in four years when this is ready.

Thirst for Knowledge It takes more than a passion for whiskey to do what Kelman is doing and he clearly takes his business seriously. Kelman says he drew a lot from his grandfathers. His business sense came mostly from his paternal grandfather, and creativity and ingenuity from his maternal grandfather. He says both were hardworking men who taught him the importance of persistence and honesty. Kelman also has taken various distilling classes and workshops that involve hands-on training and learning proper equipment use. He tours many other distilleries and always makes a point to talk to the head distiller to learn tricks of the trade. As for his degree, Kelman says he learned a lot from taking different business and economics classes at K-State. College is where he learned people skills and how to work through problems. Kelman says, “As long as you know how to solve problems, there’s nothing you can’t do.” K

Spirits with a main characteristic flavor derived from juniper berries produced by distillation or mixing of spirits with juniper berries and other aromatics or extracts derived from these materials and bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof ).

NEUTRAL SPIRITS OR ALCOHOL Spirits distilled from any material at or above 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof ), and if bottled, bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof ). This includes vodka.

WHISKEY Spirits distilled from a fermented mash of grain at less than 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof ) having the taste, aroma and characteristics generally attributed to whiskey and bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof ).

BOURBON Bourbon has to be at least 51% corn and must be produced in the U.S. It must be distilled at no more than 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof ) and stored at not more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof ) in charred, new-oak containers.

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common stereotype of different disciplines, such as art and agriculture, is they do not overlap. However, many students in the College of Agriculture have passions outside of agriculture – especially in the arts. Students involved in these disciplines have the opportunity to form friendships outside of their major and college, while also adding variety to their résumés and their individual college experience.



Agricultural student develops communication skills through diverging interests.

28 DIFFERENT ROOTS, SAME BOOTS The Swingin’ Spurs dance team is like being part of a family.

30 PERFORMANCE PERSPECTIVE Students battle music and agricultural stereotypes.

Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   25

Agricultural student develops communication skills through diverging interests. Story and photo by Mallory Diekmann


nterest in art and agriculture can overlap and flourish. Many students in the College of Agriculture have passions outside of agriculture — especially in the arts. Students involved in multiple disciplines form friendships outside their major and college, while also adding variety to their résumés and individual college experience. Jacqueline Newland, a student in agricultural communications and journalism, proves that looking at agriculture from an artistic perspective can change the way we think about certain situations and vice versa. Each discipline teaches specific values and skills used in both realms of life.

A Change of Course Newland transferred to Kansas State University in fall 2014. Leaving Oklahoma City University and her musical theatre major behind, Newland enrolled as a dual major in vocal performance and agricultural communications and journalism. Her commitment to the agricultural major

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and the related student organizations, along with her desire to graduate on time, left no room in her schedule for a double major. Despite giving up her musical theater major, Newland wasn’t ready to give up her love of music. So, she auditioned for In-A-Chord in spring 2015. Newland was accepted into the a cappella group and has been a member since.

Multiple Disciplines Sometimes it is hard for students to participate in organizations outside an academic path, because they are not in classes with their peers. As Newland progresses further into her agricultural communications and journalism coursework, she feels the disconnect. Newland spends most of her time in the world of agriculture. She is primarily enrolled in communication classes, is vice president of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow club, a member of K-State’s National AgriMarketing Association and is employed by IGP Institute.

She ends her days practicing with the In-A-Chord group. Because she is not enrolled in music performance classes, she doesn’t spend all day with her friends in the group. “I’m not around them as much as they are around each other, and I wish I could be. Even though that’s not really possible,” Newland says. “That’s why I have to be involved outside of classes. If I don’t do the choir or extra agriculture organizations, I get a little too disconnected from either group.” Newland finds support within the two colleges. Her music friends encourage and congratulate her advances toward an agricultural future, and her agricultural companions fill the seats at her various concerts and performances. Additionally, Newland acts as a resource for her two friend groups by breaking barriers and facilitating conversations. “It’s fun to educate people or find out what they do and don’t know about different areas of the school,” Newland says.

Overlapping Values Newland believes strong communication is important in all professions. She finds that students learn how to communicate thoughts and feelings to an audience. In musical theatre, she learned how to have confidence and stage presence. In turn, this enhanced her public speaking and ability to share her knowledge. Newland thinks this conviction is attractive to audiences, especially in the agricultural industry. “Learning to convey your thoughts, and your opinions and your emotions transfers into both,” Newland says. “I think that’s the biggest thing for me is that openness.” Kristina Boone, head of the communications and agricultural education department, appreciates how the arts mold the future of agricultural communicators. As Newland’s academic

adviser, Boone has always encouraged her to pursue her passion for music. “When we see students who pull together these divergent interests, they’re generally approachable for other people as well as being open-minded,” Boone says. “I think it enhances your communication skills, because it makes you better able to communicate with different types of people.”

Girl Lives on a Farm Newland enjoyed growing up on her family’s farm, but she did not spend a lot of time working it. “I’ve heard the comment, ‘you don’t look like you grew up on a farm,’ a lot. I think it’s because people have this idea of what that should look like,” Newland says. “I don’t necessarily fit it, but that’s OK.” She says people have misconceptions about how to look or act a certain way because of their involvement in the arts or agriculture. “There are people in every industry from all walks of life all over the world, and they don’t look or act a certain way,” Newland says. “You can still be really passionate about something without fitting its stereotype.” Despite their negative connotations, Newland finds strength in these judgments. She feels appearances and stereotypes do not define passions. “I still have a passion for agriculture, and I have a lot of knowledge of the industry. No one can take that away from me,” Newland says. She encourages students to follow their passions no matter how out-of-place they may seem. Newland says, “I would really encourage people who don’t necessarily fit the mold. If you’re passionate about something, pursue it anyway. Break that barrier. There’s a bunch of other people doing it with you.” K


Some days Newland begins with a couple hours of agricultural communications classes, work at IGP Institute, In-A-Chord rehearsal and ends with an Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow meeting. Other days she works first, followed by communications classes and a couple hours of research. Newland spends an average of eight hours on campus every day, but her day is not over when she drives home. As vice president of ACT, Newland schedules speakers and professional development events. As the business manager of In-A-Chord, she organizes and promotes the group through marketing and social media efforts.


In-A-Chord puts on fall and spring concerts every year. The group also performs in various events and fundraisers throughout the Kansas City area. If you would like to join In-A-Chord, the group auditions new members every semester. For more information, please visit kstatechoirs. com/in-a-chord or e-mail

Jacqueline Newland practicing with the In-A-Chord group.

Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   27

The Swingin’ Spurs dance team is like being part of a family. Story and photo by Leigh Ann Maurath


eople develop the love of dancing at different times, in different ways and in different places. For Maya Jane Wahl, an agricultural education student, it was at her homecoming dance. Zach Cooper, also a student in agricultural education, first danced at an FFA activity, and for Donita Whitney-Bammerlin, club adviser, it was a dance at the armory with her brother.

The Stories Members of the Kansas State University Swingin’ Spurs all have different stories, but the same love of dancing. Wahl’s first memory of a country swing dance was in high school. “I taught myself how to swing dance in high school off of YouTube,” says Wahl. “I started watching videos. Then I got my

date for homecoming to learn with me, and from then on it grew and grew.” At homecoming, Wahl says she and her date were the only two in the school that could swing dance. Little did she know her desire to learn how to swing dance would make her first year of college easier. “Being an out-of-state student is difficult, to say the least,” Wahl says. “This club and these people have kind of been a family to me since leaving home.” She says being able to have the Swingin’ Spurs as a home base and being able to talk to the people there has been really wonderful. Wahl is not the only one who considers the club a safe place away from home. “The people who are in the club are always friendly and like a second family in a way,” Cooper says.

The Swingin’ Spurs members share the same love for dancing to country music.

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Wahl asked Cooper to be her partner for the club’s tryouts. A couple of weeks later, he received a phone call from the coach inviting him to join the team. “In no way, did I think I would be doing this,” Cooper says. “I always thought I looked like a tall, baby giraffe trying to walk for the first time when I danced.” Cooper has gained self-confidence through his involvement with the team. “They teach you how to be a little better,” Cooper says. For Whitney-Bammerlin, the Swingin’ Spurs adviser, her love of dancing formed in one magical moment. Her mother’s cancer was in remission and Whitney-Bammerlin was on her way to the armory for the rodeo dance with her brother. The two were ready to celebrate. That night, Whitney-Bammerlin realized just how exhilarating swing dancing could be. She will forever remember the night. The song “White Lightning” played and she danced without a care in the world, while her brother led the way. “I could always anticipate his next move,” Whitney-Bammerlin says with a sparkle in her eye. When the song was nearly over, Whitney-Bammerlin noticed the empty dance floor.

“We had just cleaned the dance floor. There was a great big circle and everyone had stopped to watch us dance,” Whitney-Bammerlin says. “We were truly nobodies. He wasn’t the student body president, I wasn’t the homecoming queen, none of that. We were absolutely not celebrities, but we had a great time dancing.”

The Beginning In 2011, Whitney-Bammerlin was asked to serve as the adviser for the country swing dance club. Because of her personal and professional interests, it was not a difficult decision. “I hope to be a positive influence to these dancers and not just teach them to dance,” Whitney-Bammerlin says. “But also teach them about social skills and teamwork.” After three years of advising the club, Whitney-Bammerlin was ready to show off the talented K-State students she was teaching. “I started observing the students who were dancing and said, ‘there is too much talent here to let it go unharnessed,” Whitney-Bammerlin says. Whitney-Bammerlin put together a panel of three judges with backgrounds in dancing and held the first tryouts for the K-State Country two-step team. Seven couples were chosen to be members of the newly formed Swingin’ Spurs team. Just a week after the team was started, the College of Agriculture invited the team to dance at the annual fall barn dance. Since then, the team has returned to Weber Arena many times. From the beginning, WhitneyBammerlin developed the team with a specific mission and objective in mind. “Being in the heart of the Midwest and submerged in the Flint Hills of Kansas, country music and western dance is essential to understanding and communicating within and across cultures,” Whitney-Bammerlin says.

The Process “I had never done country dancing before K-State,” says Kate Brackebusch, student in food science and industry. “Anywhere I go, I like to do the kind of dancing they have, and here it was country dancing.” When students try out for the Swingin’ Spurs, Whitney-Bammerlin looks for two things: dance potential and attitude. “I can teach them anything if they have the right attitude,” WhitneyBammerlin says. Wahl says she appreciated the tryout process. “They sit down and talk with you and want to hear about your values, why you want to be on the team and what you have to offer as a teammate and not just a dancer,” Wahl says. The Spurs practice two or more times a week. In addition to practices, the team travels to performances and events. Whitney-Bammerlin expects the students to be at every practice and make it to all performances within reason. Each student must have the mentality and willingness to listen, take direction, respect authority and be a team player. “My overarching teaching philosophy is that you teach the whole person,” WhitneyBammerlin says. The students’ enthusiasm is Whitney-Bammerlin’s favorite part about being an adviser for the team because their contagious enthusiasm energizes her. “Life is short. You have to live it,” Whitney-Bammerlin says. “My heart, my true soul, is in boots.”

Equifest, the Kansas State Fair and the College of Agriculture Barn Dance. In 2015, the team competed in a benefit dance competition in Chicago, Illinois. There, dance styles ranged from belly dancing to East Coast swing, as well as tap and ballet. The Swingin’ Spurs was the only team classified as modern jazz, and the only country team. As a team, they won it all. The Swingin’ Spurs plans to increase competition participation in the future. Whitney-Bammerlin’s story and passion resonate with the saying, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” “I just hope in some way I have chipped away at some of the negative stereotypes about rural people being narrow-minded or not into the arts,” Whitney-Bammerlin says. “I hope I’ve made some headway.” K

The Future The Swingin’ Spurs perform for schools, clubs and various events including

Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   29

Students battle music and agricultural stereotypes. Story by Audrey Schmitz Photos by Melissa Grimmel


tepping onto the McCain Auditorium stage in boots, Ruth Bartel and Luke Willis take their seats as colored light splashes across their instruments. As they begin to play, music flows from their cello and viola as they glide horsehair bows across the strings. Bartel and Willis are members of the Kansas State University Orchestra. Willis, student in agribusiness, says most people don’t think of music and agriculture together. “They are almost totally opposite,” Willis says. “But I think we work hard in the College of Agriculture, and in

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orchestra we do hard work, too. I think the tenacity and the determination are really one and the same.” Bartel, student in agronomy, says the persistence to practice every day really does pay off when learning music and playing an instrument. She says it has greatly helped her complete coursework and study for tests. “Being diligent to go and practice every day has probably really helped my study habits to get things done every day,” Bartel says. She believes when someone works hard to practice an instrument; they can

see the results. They become able to play music they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to if they were not practicing. “This goes along with studying, because if you actually have good study habits you can perform better in your classes as well,” Bartel says. “When you put those practice or study inputs in you are going to get a better yield.”

Orchestrating Organization Not only does playing music produce good study habits, but it also can organize the brain.

“One of the things I have really noticed about orchestra is that playing music sometimes really clears your brain and gives you better focus for when you do go back to your other activities,” Bartel says. She explains that according to music research, listening to classical music affects the connections in the brain and organizes them. “My freshman year I took chemistry. Sometimes the night before a chemistry exam I just couldn’t study anymore, and my brain would be all fogged up,” Bartel says. “So I would just go practice for an hour, and it would really clear my brain.” These students have gained the ability to clear their minds and relax while playing music, along with useful study habits that add to their college experience. “There really are benefits to music that people wouldn’t normally realize,” Bartel says. “I think it is cool being able to be involved in both music and agriculture.”

Dynamic Duo

Luke Willis and Ruth Bartel practice their instruments on the McCain Auditorium stage. the concerts. “I like being in the spotlight, and I like showing what we have worked on for the last couple months with hours and hours of practice,” Willis says. Orchestra practice lasts for two hours, which is essential to learning all the music and perfecting performances. Willis says playing in the orchestra can also be a challenge. “The really hard music composition is not forgiving if you aren’t practicing or aren’t paying attention,” Willis says. “But overall it has been a rewarding experience.”

Together they believe that playing music not only can organize the brain and foster good study habits, but also be relaxing and enjoyable. “Orchestra is kind of like that time I don’t have to be studying,” Bartel says. “I am able to take a break by playing music, and it’s a fun way to relax.” In the K-State Orchestra, Willis plays the viola and Bartel plays the cello. The orchestra practices in McCain on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the fall and spring semesters with David Littrell as conductor. Bartel says she loves Littrell’s lively attitude. “I really enjoy his spontaneous jokes at practice,” Bartel says. To join the K-State Orchestra, both Bartel and Willis auditioned a solo piece for Littrell in his office. - LUKE WILLIS, Practice is not the only exciting aspect of orchestra. Willis says his favorite part is performing in

“I like being in the spotlight

and I like showing what we have worked on for the last couple months with hours and hours of practice.”

Performance Perspective Bartel says she has heard fellow orchestra members talk about how the north side of campus is the polar opposite of the south side of campus. She says this is due to differences in student interests and priorities; however, she believes being involved in music and agriculture allows her to be a mediator between the two groups. “I think it gives me a broader perspective of both sides of campus,” Bartel says. “It helps me to understand people better, having interacted with people from a farming background and those who may never have set foot on a farm.” Willis says playing music is a creative study of work. To him, this creativity can be applied to agriculture. “You can’t just look at the notes and play,” Willis says. “You have got to feel something more than the notes. And I feel like we need these creative ideas in agriculture.” K


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34  Agriculturist • Fall 2016

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Little Apple,

The 88th Annual Little American Royal is during K-State’s Open House. Experienced and novice participants compete in showmanship contests with animals raised on K-State units.

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Photos by Carlee Meeks and Melissa Grimmel

Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   37


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Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   39

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You might recognize members of the Walker family from the show ring, but their hearts remain in Prairie Grove, Arkansas where they operate their cattle ranch, Willow Springs Cattle Company (WSCC).

With a strong focus on faith and family, Eric and Linsay along with Mason (16), Whitney (15) and Catelyn (12) strive to raise nationally competitive cattle. Their select herd of 80 cows is dedicated to raising champions. Additionally, they utilize a pool of 600 head of recips from Willow Springs Ranch, which is owned by Eric’s parents, Larry & BeAnn Walker. Their operation also includes nearly 100 acres of row crops managed by the family to supplement the nutrition of their herd in the winter. As the Walker’s look toward the future, they plan to continue to grow their cattle operation around their foundation females. Their goal is to produce top end cattle for their customer base, while relying on their strong faith to guide them along the way. As the WSCC operation grows, the one thing that will always remain is their strong focus on family. The Walker’s run their operation as a family and they consider their partners and their customers a part of their family. They are striving to raise champions in the ring and in life.

Visitors AlwAys welcome!

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Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   41

Kansas orchard converts its operation to solar energy. Story by Jacob Pletcher


ike a typical Wildcat, Scott Tyron has always been up for a challenge. So when it came to his family, he wasn’t any different. With electricity prices continuing to rise, Tyron had to find the best way to cover the expense of an industrial refrigerator for Tyron’s Orchard in the summer heat of northeast Kansas. Tyron graduated from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. After graduation, he went straight into the agricultural sector and is currently in his 15th season of managing an independent crop consulting business. Even with the challenges of owning his own business, Tyron needed more. His

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need for challenge is what drove him and his family to create Tyron’s Orchard 12 years ago when he moved to Hiawatha, Kansas. “I wasn’t as familiar with fruit, and it was a challenge to see if I could do it,” Tyron says. “We had the ground, and I didn’t care to raise livestock. It was a challenge to see if I could get fruit to grow out there.” Tyron’s Orchard has grown to around 300 trees. Seventy-five percent are peach trees and the rest are apple trees. When they started, the orchard was closer to half peach and half apple. Tyron’s Orchard sells its peaches and apples at the local Lawrence and Topeka farmers markets.

Working Hard for Success An orchard takes time and manpower to be successful. Each year when the winter weather breaks, Tyron and his family have to prune back old shoots to let new ones grow. They also must spray the trees to prevent insects and fungal disease from ruining their fruit crop and trees. The most labor-intensive part is during the harvest season. During this time, they occasionally hire middle and high-school students to help pick the fruit. After their first successful fruit harvest, they realized they had a problem. Tyron’s Orchard did not have enough refrigerated storage to keep the fruit from spoiling before it

could be brought to market. To solve their problem, they decided to buy an industrial-sized refrigerator that would suit their needs, but still be able to expand with their growing orchard. Soon after the installation of the refrigerator, they noticed how large their electrical bill was growing. At that moment, they knew they had to look to alternative means to reduce the electric bill.

“We had the ground and I didn’t care to raise livestock. It was a challenge to see if I could get fruit to grow out there.” - SCOT T T YRON, K-STATE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS ALUMNUS

Researching a Solution Tyron met this challenge head on. He started researching various types of renewable energy to help offset his family’s rising electric bill. After doing his research and talking to industry experts, he decided to install solar panels on the roof of his garage. “Our decision had to deal with the maintenance of small wind energy units,” Tyron says. “Smaller units have more maintenance and they only have a projected life of 25 to 30 years for wind and they project the longevity of solar for 50 years. They both have their positives and negatives.” Tyron also researched who he wanted to install solar panels at his orchard. He chose Cromwell Solar out of Lawrence, Kansas. Not only did they install the solar panels, they also informed him of a grant through the Rural Energy for America Program. Through REAP and

with tax credits, solar energy became a viable option for Tyron’s Orchard.

Generating Success Tyron currently has 25 kilowatts of solar panels making energy for his orchard’s refrigerator and his home. During the summer months, the solar panels make more energy than the Tyron family can use. However, the downfall of the solar panels is most prominent during the winter. When the sun is not at the correct angle, solar panels are not able to convert the sun’s energy as efficiently. Because of this, the solar panels cannot make enough energy for Tyron’s home, even after he shuts off his industrial refrigerator. Being able to store energy is the problem Tyron sees with renewable energy. During the summer he is not able to sell the excess energy his panels create back to the electric company and during the winter he has to buy more energy on top of what his panels produce. Tyron has looked into buying storage systems for his solar panels, but the technology is not quite there yet. “They do not make an efficient enough battery that will store up enough energy to make storage effective,” Tyron says. Despite the downfalls of storage technology, Tyron is still considering adding more kilowatts to his already existing solar panels within the next year. Tyron says, “There is a future for solar panels on my orchard, the technology is continuing to get better and more practical.” K

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A living green wall brings new life and learning opportunities to students and professors.


urple is everywhere on the Kansas State University campus. It’s on books, folders, pens, furniture, classrooms and even in the ice cream. Look out purple, there’s a new color in town — green. More specifically a green, living plant wall in Throckmorton Hall. This new part of the wall is located on the first floor in the horticulture, forestry and recreation resources lobby area. K-State professors of horticulture, forestry and recreation resources, Kimberly Williams and Greg Davis, began planning this project in 2015 with hopes of attaining a green wall and using it for classroom purposes in their interior plantscaping class. After approximately one year of planning, the wall was installed a week before the spring 2016 semester in partnership with Ambius, a company that sells and installs the GSky manufactured green walls. As part of their bid for the green wall, they do weekly maintenance checks on the wall for the first year.

Behind the Scenes The green wall contains five different types of interior plants that do well in a low-light setting and are imported from Florida. In the bottom of the frame, there is an automated watering system. A pump pushes water and nutrients up to the top of the wall and then distributes them down in pipes to the plants every 10 days. The water is absorbed through holes in the four-inch pots that sit in the wall. Along with the specialized watering feature with the wall, the lighting on the wall also has to be specific and purposeful. A track lighting strip was

Story by Anissa Zagonel Photo by Melissa Grimmel

installed in the stainless steel frame and the plants were arranged in a specific grid pattern. The plants that need the most light are directly in the center beam of light. “It’s been great to see the process of adding light to the wall because now the students have had the opportunity to learn what the industry does. Now they can implement those practices in their design projects,” Williams says. With this green wall, students are able to learn about both the design aspect and the biology of the wall. “The wall is designed to basically keep plants alive, not promote active growth,” Davis says. “The watering system and light intensity are kept at a minimum purely to maintain the wall.”

Interior Plantscaping Together the professors teach an interior plantscaping class, where HORT 377 students learn about three different components in the horticulture industry: plant identification, design and the science behind plant growth and maintenance. In the course, students manage and care for the green wall in the lobby. The interior plantscaping class attracts a diverse audience. Not only are horticulture students enrolled, but majors ranging from interior architecture to hospitality management to agricultural education as well. “Interior plantscaping can be great for the high school agriculture teachers because even if you don’t have a greenhouse, there is always an opportunity to have interior plants,” Williams says.

The idea for a green wall was introduced during the redesign planning of the horticulture, forestry and recreation resources lobby area. The updated lobby is now home to many new couches, chairs, tables and one wall of plants. “Green walls are less common on college campuses versus commercial uses, such as hotel lobbies, but our course is a unique learning experience to our campus,” Davis says. The first semester with this green wall was in spring 2016 and it has been a learning experience for both professors and students alike. “I really love the perspective this class has given me. It’s extremely hands-on and has aspects that can be applied to real life,” says Beth Augustine, agricultural education student. In addition to benefiting students in the class, the green wall also has brought more activity to the lobby. “The green wall provides such a calming atmosphere when studying in the lobby, and it helps us understand concepts we learn in class better,” says Caitlynn McVey, horticulture student. In future semesters, they will continue to care for the green wall and take on new projects designing and implementing interior plantscaping around campus. “I love what plants bring into peoples’ lives,” Williams says. “It’s bringing nature into our work areas and making our environments healthier. Interior plantscaping is a field that brings all of these beneficial dimensions of horticulture into our lives.” K

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Kansas weather can’t stop students from growing their own produce.


ollege students look for fast and cheap food, which often leads them to the drive-thru. This desire for convenience often clashes with the healthy lifestyle many students say they want. Eating healthy may be easier said than done, but it is possible to grow fresh produce while attending college. “Food gardening is really big, from an industry standpoint,” says Cheryl Boyer, nursery and garden center extension specialist for K-State Research and Extension. “Through food gardening students can save money, have access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and gain control over some of their own food sources.”

Container Gardening Potted plants are often associated with succulents or sunflowers grown in clay pots, but container plants encompass more than just flowers. Container gardening can consist of a small produce plant. This allows for greater control of plant growth and less waste due to smaller yields. Boyer says there is a trend toward container gardening, especially for fruits and vegetables, because sometimes a container is all the space a person may have to garden. Breeders have noticed this trend and started developing and selling

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Story by Mallory Diekmann

special varieties of plants designed to grow in small containers. “They breed these dwarf varieties that wouldn’t make sense in any other situation, except for people that want to garden in a very small space, like a container,” Boyer says. New available varieties of fruit plants are specifically designed to grow in smaller spaces. Fall Creek Farm and Nursery, a wholesale berry plant grower, produces many of these fruit varieties. In Manhattan, Kansas, some of their plants can be purchased at Blueville Nursery. Boyer says one advantage of growing fruits such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in containers is that the soil pH is easier to monitor.

Creative Growth K-State Research and Extension hosts weekly gardening seminars at the Manhattan Farmers Market. The seminars are free and focus on what to grow and how to grow it. Master Gardener board member, Penny Sturr, teaches the seminars. “You can grow lettuce, red chard, flowering cabbage, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers,” Sturr says. “Basil, chives, thyme and mint are also popular.”

Sturr says that greens are a favorite because they produce greater yields and can fill extra space in big containers. Tomatoes and peppers grow nicely as well, but she says they may require a cage or trellis. Carrots are one of most popular vegetables in container gardens. In fact, The National Gardening Bureau announced 2016 as the year of the carrot. Boyer says she has even seen cantaloupe and corn grown in containers. Sturr explains that it is important to know that each season is more hospitable to certain produce. Beets, carrots, onions and lettuce thrive in the spring and fall. Beans, melons, tomatoes, and peppers, however, grow best in the summer. Students can grow produce in any kind of container because there is freedom in growing a container garden. “You can have any container you want,” Sturr says. “That’s what’s fun about container gardening. You can do it very economically, or you can go crazy and spend lots and lots of money. There’s a nice range of options.” Sturr says ideally containers should be between 16 and 24 inches in diameter. These larger containers are heavier and hold moisture better. Regardless of the container size, it needs to have holes

in the bottom. “It is essential that there are holes,” Sturr says. “Roots do not like sitting in water.”

Plant Nutrition One of the biggest differences in container gardening, compared to growing plants in the ground, is the dirt. Soil is too heavy for container gardening. Instead, a material called “potting media” is recommended. Sturr says a gardener can make their own by combining two parts sandy loam soil with one part sphagnum peat moss and one part perlite. Sturr notes that potting media provides air that roots need, but no actual nutrients. “Because of this, fertilizing is extremely important,” Sturr says. “If you’re going to spend money, that’s where you want to spend it.” Fertilizer provides nitrogen and phosphorus. Both nutrients are essential to plant growth. When fertilizing plants, it is important to avoid overdosing with these nutrients, especially phosphorus. This run off can negatively contribute to surface water pollution. Sturr says daily watering is essential; however, there are times when plants need even more hydration. Kansas can be very windy and hot, which means plants can become easily dehydrated. Additionally, most vegetables require sunny locations. Produce plants should receive 12 hours of sunlight every day with six hours being the minimum amount plants should receive.

It can be difficult to find a balance because the sun and wind may drive a gardener to overwater, which can be equally harmful. “If the surface of the potting media feels dry, then it is time to water,” Sturr says. “Containers should be watered until the water starts to leak out of the bottom.” While basic nutrition applies to nearly all container plants, the layout is seed specific.

Students in Action A student in horticulture, Spencer Hess, studied vegetable growth in containers. Hess has planted various microgreens as part of a research project. Through his research, Hess learned the importance of microgreens goes beyond topping an entrée at an upscale restaurant. He explains that microgreens are 20 to 60 percent more nutritious than traditional salad greens. “That’s why I’m interested in it, for the nutrition,” Hess says. Through his research, Hess also learned about seeding densities. Seeding densities are important in containers, because the container restricts where the plant can grow. For example, there are 12,000 seeds in 12.5 grams of microgreens. If the seeds are planted incorrectly, it can affect yields.

“There isn’t a lot of information available about microgreens because they are a fairly new food,” Hess says. “The only people with truly valuable information are the businesses that understandably, from their perspective, don’t want to share their information with potential competitors.” Hess is also the president of K-State’s Farm Club. The Farm Club grows various herbs and vegetables and sells them to students at the K-State Farmers Market. The greenhouses behind Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center allow the club to grow plants yearround. Hess recognizes the advantages of growing food in containers and he encourages students to give it a try. “I think growing food indoors is a cheap way to supplement your diet,” Hess says. “Gardening, in general, is a good thing to do. It allows you to gain a certain amount of control over your food supply. Instead of being an essentially passive consumer of whatever the grocery store serves up, you can participate in the creative process. That’s a powerful thing in a world where it increasingly feels like so much is outside of an individual’s control.” K

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A young scholar seeks to appreciate a new world perspective.


fter being selected to travel to Italy with 11 other students for the Kansas State University food science study abroad group, I couldn’t believe what I had gotten myself into. This would be my first trip outside the United States. I had a couple euros tucked away; a portable phone charger in my bag and in my hand was the key to my destination. A small navy, leather booklet clearly states my full name, Katelyn Conner Hagans, along with my best mug shot; my first ever passport. I was Italy bound and nothing could stop me. The adrenaline pumping

Story by Kate Hagans

through my veins was a natural source of energy for the next 30-hour traveling period. After hours of sitting and snoozing, we arrived in Milan, one of the largest and most historical cities in Italy. Many of the locals’ eyes were on us as we stood out exactly as you would think – American tourists. The study abroad trip was to learn and experience Italian food culture. We were able to tour several vineyards, olive oil facilities, learn how gelato is made and were even able to experience several hands-on cooking classes. Needless to say, not a soul went hungry. From cathedrals and towers to the endless four-course, carbohydrate-filled meals including authentic pizza and pasta, I rapidly adapted to the Italian culture. Even better, the different gelati (or gelatos) were mouthwatering. I also learned communication wasn’t complicated. Many Italians spoke English and signs were easy to comprehend. But immediately, my attention was taken by the Italian fashion.

Cultural Divide Italy is notably different from the American culture.

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Touring the Italian countryside and historic landmarks made this evident. We traveled from Milan to Florence and the surrounding countryside and culminated the trip in Rome. All of our visits had similar traditions, yet each city boasted its own history and architecture. Milan, known for its lifestyle of enjoying worldly pleasures, stands out as a paradise for shopping, football (soccer), opera and nightlife. Milan remains the marketplace for Italian fashion – fashion aficionados, supermodels and international paparazzi descend upon the city twice a year for its spring and autumn fairs. Not to be forgotten, the city has more than 26 centuries of history and heritage. Florence boasts more than 80 museums and is considered a cultural, artistic and architectural gem. It also was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement that began in Italy during the 14th century and lasted until the 16th century. Rome has the most tourist locations, with fanny packs and selfie sticks all too common. As the capital and largest city, it contains several districts full of sightseeing, restaurants and adventures. Walking down the narrow cobblestone Italian streets, I felt like I had the world at my fingertips. So much had been

experienced. Wine was freely offered at every meal, and I had escaped from almost 10 full days of work and decent wi-fi. It was a content feeling, almost an escape from reality. Italian citizens appreciate having quality living standards and classical items. For example, Italians encourage having one espresso shot after a meal. They claim it helps with food digestion. Health is a major consideration in day-to-day life for Italians. Olive oil and vinaigrette is offered at every table instead of the common salad dressings found in the United States. Red wine is a common meal accent and part of the Italian culture. We were able to take tours exploring the value of aged cheese or the artistic process of producing wine. Italians also presented themselves in a high state of fashion as a daily routine. While there I learned about the humorous line, “how to spot an American.” Often, the answer would always include “Nike shoes.” Shoes thought comfortable and sporty in the United States are frowned upon as unfashionable accessories in Italy. High-quality leather items were a popular product in the local markets at a significant discount compared to the United States. Another highly appreciated cultural aspect was the architecture – marble and granite floors with extravagant pillars. Featured museum pieces also were tied to architecture, but standing on marble and granite floors for hours wears on the body. Italy also made me appreciate the freedom and motivation to find success in the U.S. In Italy, the more we toured and explored it became evident if you were born into a family estate, such as a winery you were destined to stay and work in the family busy. In the United States, I personally feel there is opportunity everywhere in life for individuals.

Another part of my everyday lifestyle I was dearly missing was eating meatbased protein. It was rare to find meat in a meal and if there was, it was salami. Some of these changes may not seem extremely difficult to overcome. But, after being away from the comforts of home and living out of hotels for 10 days, each day brought a new set of challenges.

Motivation and Reflection For someone like me who had never ventured outside the United States before, I would highly recommend traveling now — while you’re young, have few worries and ample time. It’s the highest quality education money can buy. This study abroad trip offered credit hours. Taking it as a college-credit class makes it affordable and less stressful than traveling on my own. If visiting another country isn’t in your foreseeable future, bite the bullet and apply for a passport. I used not having a passport as an excuse to not leave the country. Having my passport is another right to freedom; I’m allowed to travel wherever I please. All it takes is a little effort and a nice photo. Ciao! K

TRAVEL ADVICE Stock up on fruits and healthy snacks before boarding a long plane flight. When traveling for an extended period, it’s easy to load up on junk food. Don’t make sleep a necessity. Keep going and going and then take an espresso shot (they’re awesome by the way). A 10-day Italian itinerary requires a lot, but the sights are worth it. If you’re ever able to tour the Vatican, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, ensure you have the proper footwear, purchase your entry tickets ahead of time and soak in every moment spent inside. It is truly extravagant. Do not expect Italians to treat pedestrians like the United States does. If you see a car speeding down an alley, get out of the way, pronto! If you do not enjoy coffee or wine, Italy is not the country for you. These become second nature to you. Walking into restaurants, you will be greeted by house wine and offered espresso shots after a meal. Guest Contributor Kate Hagans

The group of students who participated in the study abroad trip to Italy.

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Students represent the school they love through the Student Governing Association.


very Thursday night, Kansas State University’s Student Governing Association senators file into the Big 12 Conference Room for their weekly meeting. Students are clad in their best professional attire and friendly chatter quickly fills the space. The night’s agenda contains new bills, potential debates, various speakers and no time limit. Every meeting is different. One thing always remains the same — “Ag Row.” Nearly everyone knows that College of Agriculture senators sit in the in the middle of the third row. With an organization constantly in flux, the College of Agriculture senators pride themselves on being consistent. “The College of Ag senate is not just a group of senators. It’s more of a family environment,” says Carlos Flores, agricultural economics student. They are one of the few college groups that choose to sit together at meetings. “I think the College of Agriculture does a really good job of being a

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Story by Leigh Ann Maurath

specific unit and really knowing the way their college feels,” says Wyatt Pracht, agricultural economics student. “We always sit together, and it really feels like we are representing together, too.” It doesn’t matter which of the seven senators you talk with, they all claim the same camaraderie. Lindy Bilberry, agricultural economics student, also explains that the College of Agriculture senators are a unified team. “All of our senators meet and regularly talk about what is our college’s stance on the issue because we believe in voting together on things,” says Bilberry.

Considering the Constituents At a university with more than 22,000 students, one might think it impossible for students to have a voice in the everyday decisions made by leadership. “It would be difficult to not have a student government because SGA is the path students have to communicate

to the leadership,” Flores says. “If you don’t have senators, if you don’t have SGA, there is no communication or connection.” Kansas State’s SGA roles and positions are voted on through a campuswide general election process each year. The positions include: student body president, vice president, union governing board, student publications board of directors, student senate and college councils. Up to 60 students are elected as members of the student senate and represent their college each year. Senators are elected for one-year terms. The senators are responsible for allocating money to student organizations and funding services with the student privilege fee. Bills are written, voted on and, if passed, cause internal action to be taken. Advocating on behalf of students during policy decisions is another role of SGA. The team does this through

resolutions. Although they do not cause any action to be taken, resolutions voice how Student Senate feels about larger issues, such as smoking on campus or concealed carry being allowed. Resolutions are sent to university administration. From Bill Harlan’s perspective, one of the Student Governing Association’s advisers, the senators do a good job at listening to what students believe is best. “I would venture to say that the College of Agriculture understands more what’s going on than some of the other colleges,” Harlan says. “They are in touch with their constituents.”

Legislative Liaisons The senators rely on feedback from their constituents – other students in the college. “There are a lot of things that go on, and a lot of people probably don’t know what SGA does, or what its main function is,” Pracht says. “Bridging that gap is a big challenge for our college.” Bilberry notes that voter turnout is in direct correlation with student’s knowledge of SGA. “In elections, less than 20 percent of students vote. It shows that maybe students don’t realize how important it is.” The senator jobs rely on the involvement of students. There are roughly 2,500 students in the College of Agriculture, and the goal is to accurately represent the voice of each student. Flores explains that the bottom line is diversifying SGA. “I’m not talking about bringing a bunch of ethnic minorities in by diversifying,” Flores says. “I mean bringing a variety of ideas and beliefs and concerns to the table.”

“To be completely honest, the biggest challenge is probably that it’s a really big time commitment,” Bilberry says. “It is definitely worth it though, because the work we do in those hours is valuable.” The senators commit to meeting at least once a week. Because many senators also serve on other committees within SGA, they usually end up having additional meetings throughout the week. Students choose to serve on SGA for various reasons. “One of the reasons I was interested in student government is because I’ve always been passionate about public service and anything related to helping people or those in need,” Flores says. Thus, serving as a College of Agriculture senator seemed only natural to him. “One of my favorite parts of student government is that I’ve learned what true leadership is all about,” he says. “It isn’t about being popular or having a bunch of followers on Twitter, Facebook or whatever; it’s about creating more leaders by encouraging students to stay more engaged and to have their voices heard.” For a job this large, Bilberry says the classes she takes in the College of Agriculture leave her well prepared for student leadership. Her agricultural economics classes have helped her look at dollar amounts, budgeting and getting the best bang for their buck.

“Agricultural communications classes are valuable because we write a lot of legislation,” Bilberry says. “All the legislation we pass is written by us, so it’s valuable to know how to write.”

Running to Make Change Bilberry stresses it is important to be involved in the decision-making process that affects all students in the college. “Senate and student government as a whole get to play a big part in developing policies on campus.” The senators are always looking for students who are willing and ready to learn, represent and be another voice for the college. Harlan says it is a unique opportunity for students. “If you want to make a difference at K-State, whether it is just in your college or university as a whole, being involved in SGA is an effective way to make those changes.” Harlan says he has been involved in SGA for many years, and that his goal remains the same. “I always hope SGA is a place where a student can come turn their one concern to a group of people who are there to help tackle it,” he says. The senators in Ag Row strive to be a voice for those students. Bilberry says, “We really care about our college, and we really care about representing our students.” K

More than a Committee The senators have a big job. The commitment to SGA fills their calendar with meetings; debates require research and listening to others.

Carlos Flores is joined by his fellow College of Agriculture senators on “Ag Row.”

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Students and alumna turn handmade products into profits. Story by Anissa Zagonel


o be successful, especially in agriculture, hard work and quality products are key components. For some College of Agriculture students and alumna, these agriculture-instilled values have carried over into their entrepreneurial endeavors. College of Agriculture students Hannah Johlman, Mary Staub, Dixon Winn and alumna Erin Petrocci are applying their skills to hobbies and venturing into the world of small business.

Lavished in Leather Hannah Johlman, agricultural communications and journalism student, joined 4-H at the age of 10 and started working with leather as one of her many projects. She soon acquired her own set

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of tools to create leather goods and was on the road to becoming a leather-goods connoisseur. When Johlman was younger, her passion was constructing chinks and headstalls for personal use and even miniature saddles for her toy horses. Not long after creating goods for herself, she began working at King’s Saddlery in Sheridan, Wyoming, where she learned more about the leather business and acquired valuable mentors. “If I ever get stuck on anything or need advice for a project I’m making, I know I can call someone back home in Sheridan for assistance,” Johlman says. Today, Johlman operates as HM Custom Leather and she crafts mainly western tack, headstalls, chinks and spur straps.

In her free time, she creates her customers’ leather visions in her shop. Her work area is clad with leather projects for inspiration, animal crackers for snacking and her dachshund, named Weenie, for moral support. Johlman says she most enjoys making unique projects for her customers and the challenge of building new creations. Although she is accustomed to making certain items, she has stepped outside of her comfort zone and created many new items such as purses, koozies and binder covers. She says the most difficult part of new projects is envisioning how pieces are going to come together. “Leatherwork is not just having a good stamp,” Johlman says. “It’s knowing how and when it’s all going to fit together best.”

Johlman says her handmade items are not only appealing to the eyes, but they also are reliable and built to withstand wear and tear. “If you want me to build something, it’s going to last. Quality is something I take pride in. I want you to have a solid product that is also cool,” Johlman says. In the future, Johlman plans to continue her leatherwork as a side business to her career. “I just hope that people enjoy my work as much as I enjoy producing the leather products,” Johlman says.

Bankable Beadwork Animal sciences and industry students Mary Staub and Dixon Winn both began working with horses and competing in rodeo events at a young age. They kept their hobby saddled atop the horse until a year ago when Staub proposed the idea of creating western tack for horses. “Originally, I was going to make things for myself because I really liked the beaded tack, but it was just too expensive. I figured I could make it for myself cheaper,” Staub says. Not only was she able to make items for herself, but others were very interested in her work as well — and Reject Renegade Beadwork was born. Soon after Staub began beading, she asked Winn to make halters for beadwork and be her business partner. With the help of a few YouTube videos and a lot of determination, the duo now sells one-of-a-kind products ranging from halters to belts to breast collar inlays. Winn previously braided mule tape halters. He quickly taught himself to build halters able to support custombeaded horse nosebands created by Staub. Winn notes the two sides of their building process require a lot of patience, creativity and perseverance. One dyedhalter takes Winn approximately four hours to complete and five hours for Staub to create a matching noseband. “At first, I wasn’t really expecting others to be willing to pay for our

products, since I just started to make them for myself. But they did,” Staub says. “You’ve got to believe in yourself and believe that people want to buy your stuff,” Winn says. Together, they emphasized the excellence of the products and concluded by saying the best part of the business is seeing their finished products. “I think our products have a lot of quality to them. All the things I sell are something I would feel good about buying for myself. We’re not looking to sell anything that’s going to fall apart or not be exactly what they want,” Staub says. “We look forward to continuing our business in the future and taking on the challenge that each new product brings,” Winn says.

A Job in Jewelry During summer break, Kansas State University student Erin Petrocci took a a small jewelry-making class that quickly turned into a whirlwind of handmade jewelry and business decisions. Petrocci graduated from K-State in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and industry. She intended to return home and work on her family’s ranch in central Kansas. Petrocci says, “At the time, I didn’t know I would be making jewelry full-time.” Her jewelry creations started out as a fun hobby and have turned into a thriving small business known as Silo Silver. Her business has grown to the point where her last open order day in September of 2015 received 680 orders within a few minutes on Facebook. Petrocci has owned and operated Silo Silver for more than three years. From the accounting bookwork to the design process to the advertising, Petrocci does it all. Currently, she makes custom-brand rings, earrings, scarf slides, necklaces and bracelets.

“I try and take at least one jewelrymaking class a year to just learn and try new things. This year I am taking a belt buckle class. Overall though, I’ve tried to stick with making just jewelry. It keeps me busy enough,” Petrocci says. The production of the jewelry keeps her busy and it also allows her to channel her creativity into designs. With patience, steady hands and a good work ethic, Petrocci produces quality products. She can create some simple projects in as little as 30 minutes, while more complex projects can take more than three days. Each piece is custom-made. “Being able to take a customer’s vision and develop it into a piece of jewelry is one of my favorite parts of my job,” Petrocci says. “I also love seeing customers’ reactions since many of the pieces I make have ranch brands on them. That’s something that holds sentimental value to them and their family.” Petrocci says, “I don’t see me doing anything different anytime soon. I’m hoping to continue to grow and learn.” K

Erin Petrocci heats a ring to shape it for a customer.

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Members hit the banks to fish out competition.


ew Kansas State University students are aware the fishing team exists, let alone that they have won a national championship. The collegiate team represents K-State and comprises students competing in fishing tournaments throughout the year. It is recognized as a top fishing team among the Big 12 schools and consistently ranks high in national standings. Team member Ethan Dhuyvetter, student in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management says, “I enjoy the team because, unlike other clubs that meet in a classroom, the fishing team goes outside … where students can enjoy fishing together.”

Reelin’ in Members By joining the team, members have the opportunity to fish and practice a sport they love. They practice daily at Tuttle Creek State Park, just outside of Manhattan, Kansas, to hone their skills. Students are part of a team organization and share experiences. Many participating students major in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management. Dan Townsley, a student in WOEM, was raised in a family of farmers and fishermen. “Since the age of six, I would go down to our pond and sit for hours fishing with my dad,” Townsley says.

The team competes at many lakes across Kansas, including Tuttle Creek, Milford, Wilson and Perry. Many of the larger competitions allow participants to travel to eight national tournaments within Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.

Baiting the Competition The fishing team can compete in three national tournaments: the Fishing League Worldwide tournament, the American Casting Association tournament and the College Bass tournament sponsored by Bassmaster. Fishing League Worldwide and the American Casting Association offer strong competition for the Kansas State team. “In tournament play, we are scored by how many fish we get in the boat and also by their length,” Dhuyvetter says. The collegiate fishing teams also compete against each other in small, local tournaments. Placing high at small events helps competitors qualify for national tournaments.

Fishing for Success

Story by Sam Pearson

Worldwide National Championship in 2012. He won $100,000 in prize packages and was invited to one of the most competitive professional bass fishing competitions in the country. Currently, the team ranks ninth in the nation according to collegiatebasschampionship. com, which is the second highest ranking for Midwestern schools. The top five ranked fishing teams are located in the South, which offers the best fishing in the country because of climate and an expansive coastline. This poses an obstacle to the Kansas State team. Although the team ranks in the Top 10, only two other Midwestern schools join them. The Kansas State team struggles to receive adequate funding to stay afloat. If the funding for the team becomes too low, the team may not be able to compete in their regular tournaments and events. The Kansas State University Fishing Team allows its members to enjoy many benefits such as travel, team unity and passion. The team offers an outlet for all who are enthusiastic about fishing and want to enjoy the outdoors. K

In recent years, the Kansas State team has placed among the Top 5 in several national tournaments and Ryan Patterson, a K-State alumnus in advertising, won the Fishing League

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A TRUE LEADER GIVES BACK TO MOVE THEIR COMMUNITY FORWARD. 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



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Each spring Kansas State University selects a group of students as Dean of Student Life Outstanding Graduating Seniors. This year, five students from the College of Agriculture were chosen to receive this award by Pat Bosco, vice president and dean for student life. In order to receive the award, students must be nominated by directors and staff members in the Office of Student Life, and ultimately, chosen by Bosco. The tradition began in 1999. Nominators look for undergraduate seniors who have made a broad impact on at least two areas of student life, and those who demonstrate the ability to have an impact on others different from themselves. In addition, students who have initiated or enhanced programs and services, which improved quality of student life, are considered. Eighteen students received the award this year. This year’s recipients from the College of Agriculture were: Nathan Laudan, student in food science and industry and agricultural communications and journalism; Abby Works,

student in food science and industry; Garrett Kays, student in agricultural economics; Kurt Lockwood, student in agricultural economics; and Mayra Perez-Fajardo, student in bakery science and management. Laudan says he still does not know who nominated him for the award. “Just the idea that someone feels like I have done enough work and made enough of an impact on campus that I deserve to be recognized in that way is really pretty awesome,” Laudan says. Students are honored with a banquet and personalized plaque. Nathan Laudan invited his The plaque holds a picture of the two academic advisors, Lauri student at their favorite place on Baker and Karen Schmidt, to K-State’s campus. K attend the banquet with him.

THE ULTIMATE BAKE-OFF by Mallory Diekmann

Two K-State students won the 2016 the American Society of Baking Product Development contest. Ian Jolliffe and Harrison Helmick, students in bakery science and management, were recognized for their Blueberry oatmeal focaccia breakfast squares. “Coming up with the product was a multi-step process that started back in October of 2015 and culminated at the presentations in Chicago in February,” Helmick says. The product had to be a bakery breakfast product. Helmick and Jollife’s goal was to win the contest with a healthy on-the-go breakfast treat. “It involved product development and test baking, marketing, writing reports, research, working with industry partners, presentations and a ton of trial and error,” Helmick says. The team was evaluated on the product’s potential success in today’s market and the how they used problem-solving skills

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to develop it. Helmick and Jolliffe won $2,000 and a trophy from the American Society of Baking, but the recognition was equally sweet. “The department of grain science and industry went out of their way to congratulate us, and I think that was the best way I could give back to K-State after my time here,” Helmick says. “It always feels good to make your department proud.” K

Blueberry oatmeal focaccia breakfast squares are whole grain, natural, allergen friendly and less than 250 calories.


On April 23, Christine Rock, food science and industry student, won the Miss K-State crown. The competition included four separate rounds — game-day attire, talent, career and questions. Rock represented her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, among 20 other contestants. Rock says that she was calm throughout the title announcements at the end of the competition, but she was overcome with happiness when her name was announced. “I remember being super calm throughout the various title announcements,” Rock says. “When my name was called following the title ‘Miss K-State,’ the calmness was replaced with joy and excitement.” Rock’s talent was performing the tongue-twisting song “Alphabet Aerobics” by hip-hop duo Blackalicious. “This experience was probably the biggest leap out of my comfort zone I’ve ever taken,” Rock says. Rock will spend the next year representing the university, as well as showing support for various philanthropic events, such as her sorority’s charity, Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The competition is hosted by Kansas State University’s Delta Upsilon fraternity and the Union Program Council. Proceeds from the event were donated to Delta Upsilon’s international philanthropy, the Global Service Initiative. K

Miss K-State 2016 Christine Rock, center, is joined by past Miss K-State winners Ashley Wilmoth, left, and Abby Alsop, right.


Two students from the College of Agriculture will represent the college in their new positions in the Student Governing Association during the 2016-2017 academic year. Kaitlyn Alanis, agricultural communications and journalism student, is serving as the governmental relations committee chair Karl Wilhelm, agribusiness management student, is fulfilling the role of the student senate parliamentarian. Alanis and her committee are looking at different ways for student outreach about issues that relate to them. One of the main responsibilities for her committee is allocating the city university funds, which is the tax on a product that is bought on campus. “The money goes into a pot called CUF that normally averages about $600,000, and my committee gets to decide how to spend this money to benefit the campus,” Alanis says.

As parliamentarian, Wilhelm is in charge of making sure senate meetings adhere to parliamentary procedure, as well as tracking changes that happen to a motion so at the next meeting it is the correct version. Both students are excited to be representing the college. Wilhelm says “I think it’s really great for the College of Agriculture to have two students in leadership positions and we’re able to communicate our views as well as the colleges.” K

Newly elected Student Governing Association leaders Karl Wilhelm and Kaitlyn Alanis.

Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   65



Alan Rourke, horticulture student with an emphasis in landscape design, competed and placed in multiple contests at the 2016 National Collegiate Landscape Competition. The event was hosted at Mississippi State University, where Rourke won first in irrigation design. He also was a member of both the second-place irrigation assembly team and the fifth place irrigation troubleshooting team. Rourke has been a part of the Landscape Contracting Team at Kansas State University for three years. At this year’s competition, Rourke competed in the irrigation assembly, irrigation design, irrigation troubleshooting and compact excavator operation. He says his favorite competition was the irrigation assembly. “The assembly part is my favorite because it’s more hands-on. You really have to know how to put pieces together versus just having it on paper. It’s real-life practice,” Rourke says. In this event, students are given a box of parts and pipes to an irrigation system. Students then have to measure and correctly piece together the system.

Rourke worked with fellow horticulture student, Justin Malone. Together, they placed second out of 62 schools. Overall, the K-State Landscape Contracting Team placed eighth in the nation. Along with competitions, students networked with industry professionals at a career fair. Rourke says, “I’ve probably got a stack of business cards three inches tall from meeting people at this competition. It really means a lot that companies are willing to taking time to meet the next generation of the industry. The networking opportunities are endless.” K Alan Rourke and teammate Justin Malone were awarded second place for irrigation assembly.


For the first time since 2013, Kansas State University’s National Agri-Marketing Association broke into finals and placed third in the Student Marketing Competition at the 2016 Agri-Marketing Conference in Kansas City. Thirty teams attended. All eight students and both advisers spent long hours preparing their presentations. The team chose a product called “Fortress for Trees.” They created an executive summary that included a market analysis, finding emerging trends, and forming an action plan. Fortress is designed to conserve water and nutrients and protect young trees from frost damage or loss due to cold temperatures. This product is made from 100 percent recycled plastic and can be used on all types of fruit trees.

66  Agriculturist • Fall 2016

K-State NAMA President Marie Annexstad participated on the past three K-State teams. Annexstad says, “It was an honor to not only reach finals and place third in the marketing competition this year, but also to be recognized for having outstanding programming and opportunities for The 2016 K-State NAMA team after our members, which is their third-place finish. the ultimate goal for our organization.” K

Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   67


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Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   69




Fall 2016 • Volume 62 • Number 2

ADVERTISING INDEX ACJ/Ag Ed Department........................................................ 4 Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow........... 21 Ag Student Council.............................................................. 51 Agronomy Department..................................................... 67 Alpha Gamma Rho............................................................... 63 American Ag Credit................................................................. 1 Blueville Nursery.................................................................... 23 Boot Hill Distillery.................................................................. 48 Call Hall Dairy Bar................................................................... 22 Champion Show Stock...................................................... 21 Chicken Annie’s....................................................................... 40 Coco Bolos................................................................................. 23 College of Agriculture......................Inside Front Cover Collegiate Cattlemen.......................................................... 58 Collegiate Farm Bureau...................................................... 33 Corporate Lakes Dental..................................................... 62 Double Rockin’ R Ranch..................................................... 48 Electrical Associates............................................................. 51 Farmers State Bank............................................................... 35 Focus Marketing Group..................................................... 32 Global Campus....................................................................... 33 Grimmel Girls Show Cattle............................................... 21 GROWMARK, Inc..................................................................... 39 Harms Plainview Ranch..................................................... 68 High Plains Journal............................. Inside Back Cover HOK, Inc....................................................................................... 35 70  Agriculturist • Fall 2016

IGP Institute..................................................................................... 13 Kansas 4-H Foundation............................................................ 61 Kansas Dairy.................................................................................... 48 Kansas Department of Agriculture......................................9 Kansas Farm Bureau................................................Back Cover Kansas Soybean Commission.............................................. 40 Kansas Wheat................................................................................. 23 K-State Research and Extension......................................... 39 KSU Meat Lab................................................................................. 51 Legacy Livestock Imaging...................................................... 34 Maurath Farms.............................................................................. 49 NAMA.................................................................................................. 40 PDV Angus....................................................................................... 35 Rodeo Club...................................................................................... 23 Sigma Alpha.................................................................................... 40 Southwind Antique Mall......................................................... 51 Sullivan Supply.............................................................................. 38 Sutherlands Lumber.................................................................. 69 Upstream Ranch.......................................................................... 50 Warren Show Steers................................................................... 35 Weber Show Cattle..................................................................... 44 Wheat State Agronomy Club............................................... 24 Willow Springs Cattle Company........................................ 41 Wilson/Kedley Cattle Company......................................... 60 Wrenn Bird Photography........................................................ 63


Mallory Diekmann Saint Paul, Minnesota

Chance Hunley Riverton, Kansas

Leigh Ann Maurath Oakley, Kansas

Jacob Pletcher Keene, Kansas

Emily Velisek Gaithersburg, Maryland


Kenzie Curran Farlington, Kansas

Deven King Lansing, Michigan

Carlee Meeks Taylor, Nebraska

Sam Pearson Overland Park, Kansas

Anissa Zagonel Girard, Kansas


Melissa Grimmel Jarrettsville, Maryland Editor

Audrey Schmitz Axtell, Kansas Associate Editor

Lindsey Ashmore Manhattan, Kansas Assistant Editor

Marie Annexstad Norseland, Minnesota Advertising Manager Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   71


MISS? Microgreens are 20 to 60 percent more nutritious than traditional salad greens.

1,400 meat sticks were sold by the Agricultural Education Club to help people in need of assistance. K-State Alumnus Scott Tyron’s orchard has around 300 peach and apple trees. 72  Agriculturist • Fall 2016

Bourbon is distilled at 80 percent alcohol by volume and stored in charred, newoak containers.

Only 38 percent of people under the age of 24 voted in the 2012 presidential election. Horticulture professors teach an interior plantscaping class that also maintains the living green wall in Throckmorton Hall.

Connecting you to the hands that feed us.





SPECIAL PROJECTS Fall 2016 • Agriculturist   73


Kansas State Agriculturist - Fall 2016