The Buzz

Airplanes and agriculture have been good to Kansas. So have Girl Scout cookies.

Kansas is widely known for two major industries: agriculture and airplanes. Certainly, with Boeing’s announcement Jan. 3 that it would close its Wichita plant, our status as the “Air Capital” takes a hit. We feel confident that Wichita – and the rest of Kansas – will rise from the mat after this proverbial punch to the gut. It stinks that Boeing is leaving. But let’s not hang our heads. Our state is a great place to live and to do business. We have a healthy agriculture industry, which has not only been a shining star in the Kansas economy, it employs one out of every five Kansas workers. Kansas farmers who are the face of agriculture, have always been the backbone of this state, and they always will be.

  • In its latest survey of 2012 planting intentions, Farm Futures magazine reports farmers plan to plant less corn and soybeans than expected in 2012. The report, released at the magazine’s annual Farm Futures Management Summit in St. Louis Jan. 5, says farmers expect to plant 93.6 million acres of corn – a 1.8% increase over what was planted in 2012 – yet down 300,000 acres from the magazine’s August survey. Soybeans acreage, meanwhile, will decrease a tad from 2011’s plantings to 74.9 million acres. Farm Futures writers Bryce Knorr and Arlan Suderman attribute this to lower soybean prices…
  • Wheat acreage is expected to increase to 59.2 million acres, almost 9% higher than 2011. Hard Red Winter acreage rose to 31.6 million acres, up 9% from 2011. Hard White Winter wheat plantings are unchanged at 3.7 million acres, according to Farm Futures…
  • Here at Kansas Wheat, we always promote consumption of wheat foods and wheat food products. Therefore, we’re pretty pumped that on Jan. 6, the nation’s Girl Scouts will be pounding the pavement to sell cookies – all of which count wheat flour as a main ingredient. In fact, more than 200 million packages of cookies are sold each year. That’s a lot of flour!
  • Girl Scouts have sold cookies since 1936. This year, a new cookie is being added to the menu. Savannah Smiles, a lemon-flavored cookie dusted in powdered sugar. This cookie is in honor of 100 years of Girl Scouts, which originated in Savannah, Georgia…
  • Incidentally, Thin Mints are the most popular Girl Scout cookie in America, according to the Girl Scouts Web Site. (My favorites…the peanut butter sandwiches…are third.)… 
  • Here’s another positive spin on wheat consumption. In San Francisco, where the “local food movement” is hard-core, local entrepreneurs are beginning to grow their own wheat in order to process, package and sell “home-grown” pasta. At the Oliveto restaurant in Oakland, owner Bob Klein created a company called Community Grains, a line of whole-grain dried pasta, flour and polenta from California-grown grains. He is joined by several other local restaurants and market farmers who sell pasta and bread from locally procured grains, according to the San Francisco Chronicle
  • California grows about 75,000 acres of durum wheat (which is used to make pasta), about one-third of which is exported to Italy, turned into pasta and then shipped back to the U.S. In the Chronicle article, Klein admits that compared to identifying, selecting and incorporating other local food products, “…grain is more complicated than anything else.” That’s something Kansas farmers know all too well, of course. 
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