Call to Power

May 26, 2014

I’ve been away from this blog for awhile — busy and happy doing ag advocacy work for American Agri-Women. I’m VP of communications for 2014-2015 and our group has lots going on. I wanted to finally share an editorial I wrote for Ag Day, way back on March 25, to personally kick off AAW’s “Call to Power” Membership Drive. The campaign wraps up on May 31.

Anyone is welcome to join. Our members include farmers and ranchers as well as those who work in agri-business or those who are just interested in supporting agriculture.

Thanks for taking a read! Happy Memorial Day, too!

March 16, 2014

Join Kansas Agri-Women’s ‘Call to Power’

Calling all farm, ranch and agribusiness women — and any woman interested in learning more about where and how their food is produced. On behalf of Kansas Agri-Women, I invite you to join our “Call to Power,” a statewide effort to spread the word about our organization.AAW Membership Call to Power 2

Kansas Agri-Women was formed in 1973 and is an affiliate of American Agri-Women (AAW). AAW is the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women. Our mission: We are a force for truth, a reasoned, non-partisan voice for the agricultural community to the public.

Why is this important? Today, people are as many as five generations removed from the family farm. This disconnect from agriculture has led to many misconceptions and even suspicions about how food is produced.

It’s the responsibility of those of us more closely connected to food production to bridge the gap to consumers, elected officials and policy-makers and share how we produce food on our operations. I’m proud to be part of a fourth-generation farm family, growing wheat south of Cheney. We work hard to be responsible stewards of the land and contribute to a safe and reliable food supply.

I’m also thankful to be part of Kansas Agri-Women and American Agri-Women and join with other women who share this commitment. I leave every meeting more inspired and more committed to advocating for agriculture.

The “Call to Power,” is more than a slogan. It’s one of AAW’s most important documents. It was developed by Sr. Thomas More Bertels (1918-2000). Sr. Bertels was a long-time advocate for women in agriculture. She wrote, “The most important task facing farm entrepreneurs today is capturing a significant degree of influence over the policy-making function as it relates to food, feed, fiber, forest products and flora.” Sr. Bertels also described power as the one thing North American farmers and ranchers can’t produce.

Join us as we tackle this most important task. Go here to learn more about Kansas Agri-Women, www.ksagriwomen.org. And, to share an interesting fact in celebration of Ag Day on March 25: Did you know that one Kansas farmer feeds 155 people plus you?

Lynn Woolf

Member of Kansas Agri-Women
Vice President of Communications for American Agri-Women

Wordless Wednesday: Cabbages

December 18, 2013

Third-generation vegetable farm in New York.

Third-generation vegetable farm in New York.

Grumpy chick


The Old Kohler Place…Sold!

November 4, 2013

An abandoned property we called “The Old Kohler Place” went up for auction last weekend. The property was split into two tracts. The farmstead and five acres (old prairie house, shed and cement block barn) made up one tract and 155 acres of farm ground along the Ninnescah River made up the second tract. KohlerPlace auction

The house had been abandoned for as long as I can remember and it was in sorry shape — the roof was mostly gone, the porch was sagging and most of the windows were broken. I often thought that maybe a fresh coat of paint would spring it back into life, but that was wishful thinking.

From the road, the barn looked like it was holding strong. The property boasts mature trees, including beautiful cherry trees — and lots of wildlife passes through on the way to the river. The house was sold “as is,” with no inspections. The realty company and auctioneer (Farm and Home Realty and Hillman Auction Service) did a good job explaining that the house most likely didn’t meet current codes. It will be interesting to see if the buyer, a young man from the community, will fix it back up.

It was a fun auction to watch. I think there were three bidders, with the winning bid at $50,000. As the auctioneer said, “A kid’s dream came true today.” Watch the final moments to see for yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFdm0S1Ibys

Located on Wisconsin Highway 151, near Beaver Dam

Located on Wisconsin Highway 151, near Beaver Dam

I’m a day late in bringing you the update from Month 9 — harvest! We officially started cutting wheat on June 22. This year’s start was a little later than usual. We generally start cutting by Father’s Day. However, the wheat crop took a little longer to dry down because of the high humidity. We checked fields a couple days earlier, but the kernels were still soft — you could make a dent with your fingernail.

After several days of blistering temperatures and winds, the wheat was ripe. V. says you can hear when it’s ready. It rustles as it waves in the wind.

Ripe Winter Wheat June 2013


I enjoyed some time riding in the combine with V. (A combine is the machinery that cuts the wheat in the field and separates the kernel from the rest of the plant.) Mostly, I’m on the “support crew,” helping with meals, supply runs, chores, etc. We’re lucky in that we only have to haul wheat about three miles to the nearest grain elevator (a facility that stores grain in large steel or concrete bins).

The condition of the crop? We saw the toll from the late freezes. The stems in some areas were weakened and that wheat laid over. The combines were able to pick up most of it. Besides that, the yields looked good. We’re surprised and pleased after the rollercoaster growing season.

V. sums it up with this statement: “I love wheat harvest and I hate wheat harvest.” I know he wouldn’t have it any other way. Me either.

Here are a few scenes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPb4QM4JuJ8

Thanks for following our crop this year. The 2014 crop starts now.

There have been a lot of changes since we took a first look inside the wheat plant stem on May 3.

The plant now reaches about 34 inches from the ground to its tip. The seed head is fully developed, but the kernels are still soft. The kernels are now “filling” or reaching maturity. Rain is still important because it influences the weight of each kernel.

We get paid on the number of bushels. Bushels are figured by weight and the average bushel of wheat weighs 60 pounds. The cash price for wheat this morning is $7.30 per bushel. Our yield will be the true indicator of the effect of the late freezes.

You can see how the plants are losing their green color as they complete the life cycle. The kernels will harden and the plant will turn golden as it dries down, or essentially, dies.

We begin harvest when we’re sure that the seed kernel is dry enough. Kernels that are too wet would eventually spoil. So, the grain companies that receive the wheat have set limits on moisture content.

Take a look at month 8. Next month: Harvest!

Winter Wheat, May 2013

Winter Wheat, May 2013

Winter Wheat Field, May 2013

Winter Wheat Field, May 2013


Here’s what we saw when we opened a wheat plant to see the head (seed structure). It’s too early to confirm yields and what the effect might be from the three late freezes, but so far, so good. The yield is measured by bushel. For wheat, each bushel is figured at 60 pounds of wheat seeds.

Winter Wheat Head in Late April

Winter Wheat Head in Late April

Leave Money Here

April 30, 2013

This trusting farmer and his self-service hay bale shed are located on highway 17, south of Hutchinson, Kan. A conscience and an old farm dog on patrol keep a person honest. I admire his faith in the trustworthiness of neighbors and strangers.

"On Your Honor" Hay

“On Your Honor” Hay

Good news, we think. The temperatures didn’t go below 29 degrees last night. That’s a little buffer above the 24-degree mark, where K-State Extension says the real damage occurs at this stage. Plus, the freezing rain was more moisture.

The frozen wheat of yesterday looks a more cheery version of crystallized this morning. Here’s a view from across the road.

Winter Wheat Field, April 2013

Winter Wheat Field, April 2013

Winter Wheat, April 2013

Winter Wheat, April 2013


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