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Yoder family emphasizes family legacy, farm improvementsYoder family emphasizes family legacy, farm improvements

Kansas Master Farmer couple Ellis and Rita Yoder value faith, family and the land.

Jennifer M. Latzke

May 13, 2021

7 Slides

Ellis and Rita Yoder are one of the six couples who have been named to the 2021 class of Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers.

The Yoders farm on the same homestead Ellis’ great-grandfather established in rural McPherson County in 1897. Ellis enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1971, but his heart was always with the land back home. All total, he spent 28 years in the Air Force and Kansas Air National Guard, and over that time he slowly added ground and continued to farm between deployments.

Rita, a former Extension agent for McPherson County, was a stay-at-home mother, and community and church volunteer. She shares Ellis’ love of the land and the community.

It’s important to the Yoders that their three sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren grow up with a respect for the land and an eye to rebuilding the farm’s soil health for future generations.

Click through the photo gallery above for more photos and information about this Kansas Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker couple. And be sure to check back as we feature the other members of the class of 2021. The Kansas Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker awards will be presented in a ceremony this September at the Kansas State Fair.



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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