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Norwegian roots run deepNorwegian roots run deep

For Mark and Marcia Knudson, caring for the land and the livestock is a family legacy.

Jennifer M. Latzke

August 8, 2023

1 Min Read
Mark and Marcia Knudson in field
KNUDSONS: Mark and Marcia Knudson, Hiawatha, Kan., are members of the Class of 2022 Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers. As the fourth generation to care for this farm ground in Brown County, they feel an obligation to implement conservation tools and farm management tools to ensure that their children, the fifth generation, have a strong foundation to begin their farming careers.Jennifer M. Latzke

Mark and Marcia Knudson’s farming story has its roots four generations ago---back to the late 1800s when their Norwegian immigrant ancestors began farming in Brown County.

That Norwegian family sense of pride in the land and perseverance to overcome all obstacles is something Mark and Marcia carry with them to this day as they farm near Hiawatha, Kan. The Knudsons are members of the Class of 2022 Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers.

Caring for the land and livestock isn’t just a career, it’s a calling, and that’s something the Knudsons have passed on to their children who will be the fifth generation to farm this same ground. From using no-till to conserve soil and water resources, to implementing grazing to add biodiversity to the soil, to raising pheasants to rebuild wild populations, the family is working to leave the land better for the future.

Learn more by watching this video.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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