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Serving: KS

Agriculture spans two worlds

Jennifer Latzke In Dodge city the El Capitan Statue is a bronze sculpture of a cow by Jasper D'Ambrosi
CENTER STAGE: Cow towns like Dodge City gave rise to larger cities and the agribusinesses that are the foundation of the Kansas economy today.
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Modern agriculture seems to span two worlds today.

There are those who plant the seeds and raise the livestock on the land. They start the grand food supply chain that circles the globe.

But then, there are also those who assist the producers. They work from offices in your hometown bank, and in the multinational restaurant chain in the metroplex on the other end of the state. They don’t help a sow give birth, but they manage the transportation chain that ultimately gets those piglets to market and then onto our bacon cheeseburgers.

Now, I’m no expert. But in 20 years of writing for an agricultural audience, I’ve learned that we may hail from different ZIP codes, but we all have one goal: Feed everyone and do it right.

We need each other

My goal as the new editor of Kansas Farmer is to explain the situations that arise in our state’s agricultural industry and how they affect farmers and agribusinesses alike. Sure, there are going to be some points when country and city butt heads over issues, but in the end we need each other.

That’s why it’s important that in these pages, you get both sides of the issues, so you can decide. To do that, I’ll be relying on the values and the critical thinking skills that my farm background instilled in me.

It’s a story that is probably familiar to many of you. I grew up on a multigenerational Angus cattle seedstock ranch on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Summers were spent on 4-H projects and helping on the farm. My family raised cattle, wheat and alfalfa hay, and my folks survived the farm crisis of the 1980s, only to sell the farm in the early 2000s. When it came time for me to go to college, my dad urged me to find a career that could pay the bills — off the farm.

So, I did. I left Kansas State University in the spring of 2000 with a newly minted agricultural communications bachelor’s degree. And started living in Dodge City and writing for High Plains Journal.

I was one of the millions in Generation X who moved from the farms to the city to have an agribusiness career in the 1990s and 2000s. You might say I have a foot in both worlds.

Pride, dignity and joy

I may not look out my window at a pasture full of black Angus cows and their calves, but I know the struggles of spring calving. I may not drill wheat or rake hay, but I know that making sure the job is done right is the difference between profit and loss at the end of the season. And above all, I know that there is pride, dignity and joy in growing crops and raising livestock.

That’s why I tell people that there is no greater job than being the one to bring news to and tell the stories of agricultural stakeholders. I hope you’ll give me a chance in these pages to show you that in the coming months.

No matter if you’re reading this from a cow town, or tucked away in a corner office downtown, thank you for making sure that our nation and our world stays fed, clothed and secure.

Connect with us

To help us connect with you where you are, we’re rolling out new social media pages and accounts for Kansas Farmer. So, look for “Kansas Farmer Now” on Facebook, or click to “like” the page. You can also follow us on Twitter at @Farmer_Kansas. And, of course, you can always see news and features online at

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