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.”
There are some people whose smile and laugh are contagious to everyone in a room. Randy Fritzemeier, a wheat producer from Stafford, is one of those people. Somehow, you can catch him with a grin even when his day is clouded by a loss from his beloved K-State Wildcats.
Fritzemeier, a fourth-generation farmer, has nearly 1,400 acres of wheat in Stafford and Reno counties. He also raises alfalfa, corn, sudangrass and cattle. Fritzemeier and his wife, Kim, are active in advocating for agriculture. This year Randy has presented a workshop on the history of wheat to the students at Stafford Elementary School. In addition to being a Membership Director for District 6 of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, Randy has served on the Stafford County Farm Bureau Board, been a mentor to students as a 4-H leader, worked with the Stafford Education Foundation and been an active member in the Stafford First United Methodist Church. Randy and Kim have also been honored as a Kansas Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker for 2013.
Randy isn’t the only agvocate in the family. Kim is the central Kansas reporter for KFRM 550 AM and also operates her own blog called Kim’s County Line, where she posts everything from the routines of farm life to fun recipes.
Harvest time in the Fritzemeier household has shifted in the last few years. The Fritzemeier children, Jill and Brent, are now grown and have moved away from the farm. Jill is the Team Nutrition Project Director for the Kansas State Department of Education, and Brent has recently become the communications coordinator for the K-State College of Business Administration. While their two children are grown and away from the farm, Randy and Kim enjoy having a little farm helper in their granddaughter whenever she visits.
Fritzemeier attributes his passion for agriculture to his education.
“I love farming and doing what I do because of my education both in high school and in college,” Fritzemeier said. “It always interested me because I loved that I could apply what I learned in the classroom.”
Although Randy is an amateur magician, he couldn’t work any magic on the state of his wheat for this harvest season.
“This year’s crop is about half of what I had last year,” said Fritzemeier. “The yields are coming in at anywhere between 15-30 bushels an acre and the test weights are about 59 pounds per bushel.”
With a passion for his farm, Randy isn’t about to leave the ag life anytime soon.
“I love of being outdoors and watching the natural cycle of my crops,” Randy said. “It’s why I do what I do.”