The Buzz

Football, farming and feeding the world’s hungry.

If I had to guess, I’d say most of the professional football fans in Kansas cheer for either the Kansas City Chiefs, or the Denver Broncos. In the last few years, however, another team – the Green Bay Packers – has snuck into the hearts of many Kansans. The Packers symbolize hard work. Blue collar. Midwest. They’re also the team for which Jordy Nelson plays.

  • Nelson is a former Kansas State University walk-on defensive back, who became an All-American wide receiver. What endears him to many is his rural upbringing. He grew up on a farm near Leonardville, and continues to help his father, brother and grandfather when he’s not busy scoring touchdowns. This article from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel describes Nelson’s upbringing and work ethic…
  • Incidentally, while the NFL was in a lockout last summer, Jordy was back home on the farm, driving the combine during wheat harvest. Pretty cool, in our book…
  • We in agriculture often lament that the mainstream media doesn’t really “get” agriculture, or “get” farmers. But Judy Woodruff of PBS has a positive take on the industry, based on a conversation she had with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack this week…
  • From our perspective, the highlight is the U.S. agriculture trade surplus, which supports more than a million American jobs. Woodruff mentions this in passing, focusing more on the agency’s home loan and nutrition programs. Still, it’s important to acknowledge the diversity and wide reach of the USDA…
  • Kansas farmers have been quick to adopt technologies that help us improve efficiency, productivity and profitability. Whether Roundup Ready soybeans, Bt corn, or a host of other pest- and herbicide-resistant crops, the bugaboo has always been that these are “genetically modified.” Right or wrong, a vocal segment of the world population is against “genetic modification.”…
  • Bill Gates, however, is not one of them. The founder of Microsoft, whose Gates Foundation is one of the world’s most generous and respected philanthropies, is an advocate of genetically modified crops, and he believes they are the key to solving world hunger…
  • Naturally, some environmental groups are vehemently opposed to Gates’ objective. Chances are the members of Greenpeace don’t go to bed hungry at night…
  • Kansas Ag Statistics has released its list of the most popular wheat varieties in the state. TAM 111, from the Texas Ag Experiment Station in 2002, leads the list, having been planted on nearly 13% of the state’s acres last fall. K-State’s Everest variety was planted on 8% of the acres; Armour, from WestBred, is on 7.5%…
  • We talked about some astronomical land prices in northeast Kansas a few weeks ago in The Buzz. A sale of Clay County land on Jan. 30 produced more whopper prices…77 acres of Republican River Valley bottomland, irrigated by both flood and center pivot, sold for $1.2 million at auction – $12,000 per acre. At the same sale, dryland tracts of 143 acres sold for $720,000 ($5,050 per tillable acre) and 177 acres sold for $1 million ($5,656 per tillable acre)…
  • Auctioneer Harold Mugler says it boils down to competition. “Land doesn’t come up for sale in the Republican River Valley very often, and when it does, it’s going to sell very well.” Mugler says this Valley has the richest soils in the state.
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