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Taking the farm to the community

Donna Pearson McClish and David Pearson are sharing their family farming legacy with their community.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

June 16, 2023

1 Min Read
Donna Pearson McClish and David Pearson in field
COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTORS: Donna Pearson McClish and David Pearson, Wichita, Kan., are the first sibling pair and first African American inductees into the Kansas Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker programs. They are part of the Class of 2022, and they share their family’s farming story with their Wichita community. Jennifer M. Latzke

Just north of Highway 96, on the north side of Wichita, lies a 40-acre oasis — Pearson’s Family Farms. What their parents began in 1968 as a way to feed a growing family of 12 is now an urban farm entrusted to siblings Donna Pearson McClish and David Pearson. And they’re using their family’s farming heritage and skills to educate the minds and nourish the spirits and bodies of their Wichita neighbors through the Common Ground Mobile Market and Mobile Food Hub.

David and Donna are the first siblings and first African Americans named as Kansas Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker and they join the class of 2022. Watch their story here.

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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