The Buzz

We follow a filmmaker’s dream, plus patent disputes and our Sale of the Week from Finney County.

In the past few years, we’ve enjoyed getting to know Jay Kriss, a filmmaker whose ancestry traces back to Thomas County. Jay’s grandfather, John Kriss, was one of the protagonists in the excellent book, “Harvesting the High Plains,” by Craig Miner. Jay is making a documentary based on the book; the film should be finished this fall.

Filmmakers Jay Kriss and Sydney Duvall study letters from Ray Garvey and John Kriss at the Kansas State Historical Museum in Topeka. The duo were researching material for their movie, “Harvesting the High Plains.”
  • Jay says the film is a labor of love. He’s spent countless hours researching letters between John Kriss and Wichita entrepreneur Ray Garvey; he hired actors and procured vintage equipment to recreate the harvest of yore, and he’s traveled the country soliciting sponsors for the film, which is targeted for a PBS audience but could also be shown on the big screen. We’ve seen some of the footage, and you can bet it is going to be excellent. This interview in “Studio Daily” tells more about the project. You can view the trailer here
  • One key to successful wheat production in the 40s and 50s was using a one-way plow to break up the wheat stubble and ready the soil for planting. No one built a better one than the Krause Plow Corporation of Hutchinson. Now doing business as Kuhn-Krause, the company no longer builds one-ways, but they manufacture a whole slew of innovative tillage tools…
  • They’re doing so well, in fact, Kuhn-Krause is expanding its Hutchinson facility, according to the Hutchinson News. The $5 million, 70,000 square-foot facility will be completed by the end of the year…
  • While Kriss’s movie celebrates the ingenuity and determination of the Kansas wheat farmer, there is an uglier side to the wheat business. Longtime rivals ConAgra and ADM are at loggerheads trying to resolve a dispute over ConAgra’s patent for a new method of processing whole white wheat products…
  • BakingBusiness.com reports that ConAgra Foods has filed a complaint against Archer Daniels Midland, claiming ADM is processing, packaging and selling white wheat products without ConAgra Foods’ permission…
  • While favorable weather has the Kansas wheat crop in good to excellent shape at this stage (61% as such, according to Kansas Ag Statistics), global weather trends have put the wheat crop in precarious shape in other wheat-growing regions…
  • An entry in The Wall Street Journal’s “The Source” blog indicates that rising global temperatures in areas of Europe will severely reduce the output of Spain’s wheat farmers. A source from GFI Group, London, says the result could be a severe reduction in the amount of milling-quality wheat available to Europe…
  • Meanwhile, Syngenta (whose AgriPro wheat varieties hold considerable marketshare in Kansas) has announced a new global cereal seeds strategy. It will “..combine its commercial operations worldwide, while refocusing research and development efforts around crop and grower needs. This new, integrated approach enables Syngenta to think like a grower and better serve customer needs,” the company announced in a news release…
  • Essentially, Syngenta aims to align its seeds, seed care and crop protection businesses to encourage farmers to use Syngenta-branded products from pre-plant, to seeds, to post-plant crop protection products, says Norm Dreger, head of the Syngenta’s North American sales unit. “We will innovate across product categories, agronomy and business models to deliver integrated and sustainable solutions at scale that are tailored to the complex needs of growers around the world.” …
  • Our Sale of the Week features 560 acres of irrigated farmland in Finney County, which sold Feb. 29. Tract one, 400 acres, includes 307 acres of open irrigated land, with the balance in grass and homesite. There was a recently rebuilt pump and motor, pumping 1,100 gallons per minute. Tract two, 158 acres of good, open, irrigated cropland, has a 500 gallon per minute well. The tracts sold as one unit for $1.54 million ($2,750 per acre)…
  • The sale had a lot of interest from potential buyers, and four bidders were active until the gavel dropped. Sellers were pleased with the auction results, according to auctioneer Larry Johnston, Garden City, who had the sale.
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