Each year, more than 20,000 Kansas wheat farmers take dramatic risks to grow the wheat that feeds the world. We hope you enjoy learning more about these farmers through our series, “The Faces of Harvest.”
Like many veteran farmers, Ken Grecian has wondered for some time who will be the next generation to farm his land near Palco. Ken and his wife Barb have three grown children, all of whom have built good careers away from the farm.
Ken has been farming for about 40 years and is the third generation of his family to farm his land; his operation includes 1,200 acres of wheat and a cow-calf herd.
A few years ago, the Grecians hired Evan Lesser, a K-State graduate from upstate New York who is interested in being the fourth generation to operate the Grecian farm. Ken says it was important to him and Barb to find someone who would take care of the land in a similar fashion as them.
“Our goal is to see that our operation is carried on and not to see a lifetime of work end all at once,” said Ken.
Ken’s fondest memory of harvest was the first time he was able to run the combine. He was 14 and even though operating the combine is still one of his greatest joys, his favorite part of harvest is the first and the last day.
“As a farmer we anticipate getting to reap what we have put a years’ worth of labor into. That is why it is so much fun to get started but after 10 days to 2 weeks of straight work you are tired and it is fun to see it end,” Ken said.
While his favorite part of harvest remains the same, harvest itself has changed dramatically since Ken began farming. Air conditioning during these hot Kansas harvests is a favorite advancement, but he is awed at how much more efficient new technology has allowed farming to become.
“It just amazes me how many bushels of grain we can move and how the different varieties of wheat have raised our quality. When I started running the combine, 25 bushels per acre was a good crop and now that would be a disaster,” he said.
Ken also enjoys having the grandkids and his adult children out to the farm. Not everyone can make it each year but he says the kids and grandkids love to come back for harvest and they absolutely adore the cattle. This is a trait that they must have learned from Dad and Grandpa.
Whether through the food they raise, or the land they tend to, the Grecians are vigilant about ensuring a bright future for the next generation.
“As a farmer we all care deeply about the land and we care about producing a quality healthy product that consumers can buy with full confidence that it has been produced in an ethical and healthy manner.”