When it comes to knowing ag's story, the Baldwin family of McPherson County has that skill down.
A major part of that comes from experience -- from childhoods of discouragement to enter farming, to young adult realization of the appeal of country life and values, to midlife experimentation, to mature adult success -- Dwight and Cindy Baldwin have lived Kansas agriculture.
"My dad, a farmer, told me to get a college degree and do anything besides farm," Dwight says. "So I started out majoring in pre-forestry and then changed to natural resources management, thinking I would be a park ranger or something like that."
He and Cindy met at K-State and they were married when he graduated and she had a year to go. He worked at the K-State agronomy farm and landed a job as a research assistant while Cindy finished her degree in secondary education.
"I grew up a farm girl determined not to marry a farmer," she says. "I watched my dad work so, so hard and I just wanted a life like my city friends had, regular hours and having days off."
However, a year or more of doing other jobs made Dwight realize how much he missed farming. And a year of living in a married student apartment with people on the top floor and all around made Cindy think the country sounded pretty good.
When her dad made the young couple an offer to return to farming, they decided to go for it.
After two or three years working with her dad and brother, they had a chance to strike out on their own and took it.
The ensuing years brought a pig herd, a dairy goat herd, a cow herd, years of 4-H involvement, on-farm wife duties and off-farm careers in journalism and teaching for Cindy and expanding crop acres for Dwight to bring the couple where they are today -- grain farming for Dwight and publishing for Cindy.
Along the way, they have become good not just at knowing ag's story, but at telling it.
Dwight has served on the Mid-Kansas Cooperative board during a period of significant growth from 2000 to 2009 and has been involved in wheat and sorghum commodity groups.
Cindy has been active as a teacher, college administrator, newspaper reporter and ag editor, freelancer and as the current owner, editor, designer and publisher of the Kansas Country Register. She also serves on the board of the Kansas Ag in the Classroom Foundation.
Their son, Adam, has his own farming enterprise and works closely with his dad. He is active in Farm Bureau and serves on the National Sorghum Checkoff Board, spreading the news of Kansas ag across the state, country and world.
Adam's wife, Kim, is an active blogger, producing "Alive and Well in Kansas" aliveandwellinkansas.wordpress.com from the farm where she and husband, Adam, are raising the next generation of McPherson County Baldwin family farmers.
Kim is involved in the ag advocacy group, Common Ground, and has brought many visitors to the Baldwin family farming operations to see agriculture first-hand. She also teaches language arts at Inman High School and helps coach FFA members. They have two children, Banks, 3 and Isannah, 4 months.
Their daughter, Emily, and her husband, Tyler Fast, live in northeast Kansas. He is a sergeant with the Leavenworth County sheriff's department and she teaches elementary education. They have two sons, Rowan, 8 and Eli, 4, who love to come home to the farm and help with wheat harvest.
Publishing the Kansas Country Register
After years of doing newspaper reporting, freelance writing and teaching, Cindy Baldwin found her niche in journalism as the owner and publisher of the Kansas Country Register, a bi-monthly publication of special events and destination shopping, especially for crafts and quilting.
Remodeling of their farm home to turn the garage into expanded living space resulted in a new garage with Cindy's office attached.
When the Country Register arrives from the printer, she can back the car out and use the garage space for getting papers ready to mail.
Her office includes work stations with computers for writing and for laying out pages, a kitchenette and a full bath with a shower as well as plenty of storage space.
Meet the Master Farmers:
Kevin and Barbara Alpers