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The novel coronavirus has made its way into the High Plains states and it is a threat that readers should not dismiss as we try to get our hands wrapped around this chapter that involves many of our countries that want our farm-raised products. Read more

In December, the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health hosted another tabletop foreign animal disease preparedness exercise. The goal was to identify and work through any challenges to restricting livestock movement if, or when, a foreign animal disease is detected not just in Kansas but also in neighboring states.

The bug known as coronavirus has afflicted commodity and stock markets with an unprecedented bite. Farmers and ranchers agree that we should be concerned. But they rationally argue that the common cold and influenza are much more prevalent every winter, and they do not rock the United States markets like we have seen with this latest bug that has its roots in China.

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It’s National FFA Week and every year it comes around, I reflect on the present and whether my life would be the same if I hadn’t put on that corduroy jacket years ago. That article of clothing was the facilitator of my future and being reunited with it is a mixture of emotions.

Perhaps if there was one pleasant surprise to watching a Super Bowl, aside from watching the Kansas City Chiefs win the Lombardi Trophy, it could be that there was not much controversy over production agriculture issues.

With all the news of the day coming in from the Capitol about trade agreements and federal regulations, which are vital to how farmers an ranchers go about conducting their business, what happens at the local level is as likely to have as much, if not more, of an impact than what the federal government does (or doesn’t do).

2019 was the 70th year of High Plains Journal’s publication. You might have read some of what my colleague Kylene Scott wrote in her end-of-the-year package. 

While rattling down a dusty country road or rolling across an asphalt highway, there are only a few things that really catch my eye: stray dogs, Tex-Mex restaurants and beautiful old barns. There is something about faded whitewash and classic red paint, weathervanes, sliding barn doors and unique designs that are incredibly picturesque and nostalgic.

Editors like to see stories of success and ushering in a new year is the right time to be optimistic and have high hopes. 

The new year is nearly upon us. In looking back this past year it is easy to see why it was a bumpy ride as a result of presidential decisions on trade wars to Mother Nature’s unending fits and temper tantrums that led to floods and droughts.

In the hustle and bustle of trying to prepare for Christmas it can become so easy to focus on what’s ahead—getting holiday travel schedules down, dealing with inclement weather, preparing for end of the year financial reports, checking on government programs and deadlines and the list goes on and on.

It was a typical Wednesday. I sent my youngest off to Youth Group without a second thought. When it was over, he came home and was off to bed shortly after. As I took a minute to scroll through Facebook, I saw them.

Farmers and ranchers are turning their attention to winter, and while there’s little fieldwork to be done, these quiet months can be instrumental to their 2020 bottom line.

For many people, Australia is a travel destination dream. The country colloquially known as Oz was certainly on this Kansas girl’s bucket list when I applied for a Rotary fellowship for graduate school after getting my degree. So, I was perplexed when locals in the rural Australian town where I eventually moved asked, “Of all the places in the world you could go, why would you want to come here?”

This year will be recorded as one of the most memorable but only as a matter of the degree of difficulty, as farm and ranch families experienced challenges few thought were possible a year ago.

As farmers and ranchers are wrapping up fall harvests and rounding up cattle, Monday is a special day they will be unified with their urban cousins in taking time to remember past and present veterans.

It’s rare that I allow an entertainer to get my goat on an issue. I figure he or she is a citizen, protected by the First Amendment, same as you or me, just with a larger platform and an amplified voice.

We are sad to announce that longtime Publisher and Editor Holly Martin has accepted a position with the American Angus Association. However, sad as we are, we are also happy for her and her family and proud that a leading association that fights for cattlemen will benefit from Holly’s expertise and passion. With her help we are ready for a new chapter in our history, and we wish her all the best with hers, never forgetting her contributions. Part of that contribution was putting a great …

Over 25 years ago, I made a call that changed who I am. I was working as reporter for a local Dodge City newspaper, and my former Kansas State University advisor called to check on me and see how I was doing. He had heard of a job opportunity at High Plains Journal and thought I might be interested. I hung up and turned right around and called. When an opportunity to work for one of the leading agriculture publications comes up, you don’t delay.

This week’s edition highlights a partnership we have with companies that help farmers and ranchers to be the most efficient producers in the world.

The other night my husband and I were watching television together and the Burger King commercial for the Impossible Burger came on. I made the remark to him, “If those people think it tastes like a real burger, what kind of crap beef are they eating?”

National Farm Safety and Health Week was recently recognized Sept. 15 to 21 and it comes at time when there is no shortage of rural activities. School and related activities are in full swing and on top of that, fall starts Sept. 23.

The aftermath of the Aug. 6 Tyson Fresh Meats fire that shuttered the Holcomb, Kansas, plant until January 2020 continues to linger in beef country.

Wheat harvest 2019 is just about finished. The crews have a few fields left to cut and preparations are being made to head home. Some will head into fall harvest and acres of soybeans and sorghum. Some will pick up where they left off in late May or early June. They’re shaking off the wheat dust one last time before bidding farewell to our readers.

As you read this week’s edition of High Plains Journal we share in our appreciation of what farmers and ranchers mean to us and encourage you to take time say thanks to your employees, which is fitting because it is Labor Day.

Another unexpected event hit the heartland as a major fire struck the Tyson Foods beef processing plant in southwest Kansas on Aug. 9.

“Could you do me a favor?” the woman asked the announcer.

The calendar flipped to August and that means the county fair season is nearing its end and the media is filled with “back-to-school” promotions. Can it already be that time of year particularly in this summer of turbulence?

Let’s talk about planning ahead. 

Let’s develop a strategy of matters that are in your control that will have a positive influence on your bottom line. Join us for Wheat U and Sorghum U, a free event sponsored by IntelliFarms and High Plains Journal held Aug. 14, in Mulvane, Kansas, just south of Wichita. 

In the 70 years that High Plains Journal has been in publication the editorial staff has seen and written about plenty of booms and busts in agricultural trends.

With the conclusion of Independence Day holiday weekend, it is always a time to recalibrate, be realistic, look ahead and stay optimistic.

Handiwork, or something that is made or done, has become less popular as our time has become more focused on convenience. But in every town, there are the makers. Makers like that girl who sewed her own prom dress or that guy who decorates cakes for special occasions. We should celebrate the makers whether they have baked a loaf of bread from scratch or built a pirate ship out of Lego bricks.

Since I was 18 years old, I’ve consistently held a job with a paycheck. And for a time or two I worked two jobs at the same time to make ends meet.

This is the most eventful time of the year, so getting you to stop for a few minutes to read a column about the merits of putting the safety of your family first might seem trite. But let’s remember this is the busy season for many farmers and ranchers and their urban cousins.

My dad taught me to skip rocks on the low water bridge down the road from our homestead place. He pointed out that each time the rock touched the water it created ripples that would go on and on.

Over the past few months the High Plains region has been hit hard by a powerful punch of snow, floods, heavy rains and now tornadoes.

At first glance, a notice in a recent issue of The Spearville News looked like an ordinary sale advertisement for Kelly’s Corner Grocery. Instead, the ad revealed discouraging news about the store from owners Kelly and Kayla Persinger: “With yearly sales spiraling down for the last three years, we have no choice left but to close our doors.” 

This week will be an exciting one for us as we start our 11th year of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest. Readers will have an opportunity to get reacquainted with the correspondents for a summer staple for High Plains Journal.

When someone passes away in a small town, the loss is felt throughout the entire community. The whole population drops off casseroles and cakes and the men pick up the slack on the farm or mow the yard just to help out, and no one rings the doorbell—they just walk in because everyone feels like family.

Show me a farmer and rancher, and I’ll show you a lifelong learner. In the agriculture industry no one sits still. No one begins farming, plants a seed, breeds a cow and then sits back and says, “I’ve got it all figured out.”

By the time members of Congress read this column (Yes, members and their staffs read this publication just like you.), they’ll be finishing their Easter/Passover break and heading back to Washington.

My first car would have been a butter yellow 1963 Chevrolet Corvair but my dad decided I needed a 1987 Chevrolet pickup with a manual transmission instead. He knew that dainty little Corvair would never survive. Most of my family was shocked the pickup only had one clutch repair under its belt when I graduated high school.

As the floodwaters recede in Nebraska and neighboring states, the damage estimates will be quantified—and more than likely they will grow into the billions of dollars—rest assured federal monies will arrive to help.

Fear, worry and anxiety—they are some of the most predominant feelings we experience and they occur daily whether minimal or intense. I’ve been pondering the fact that at every point in world history there has been something people were living in fear of, whether it be a natural disaster, disease, criminal activity or war. 

A few years ago, I was asked by the then dean of the business college at Fort Hays State University to begin teaching some courses in journalism (which is under the college’s umbrella). A couple of years ago, FHSU’s college of science, technology and math has since asked me to teach a lunch hour topics class twice a week in agricultural communications.