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2024 Wheat Tour: Rice County, Kansas

Kansas Farmer stopped by Doug Keesling’s farm, between Chase and Lyons, in Rice County, Kan. and along the blue/black route, to discuss his wheat crop and the conditions he’s faced this growing season.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

May 14, 2024

5 Min View

The annual Wheat Quality Council’s Hard Winter Wheat Tour gets underway May 16. Each year cars of participants will drive along color-coded routes criss-crossing the state over three days. Day one sees the tour heading west from Manhattan, Kan., to Colby, Kan.

Kansas Farmer stopped by Doug Keesling’s farm, between Chase and Lyons, in Rice County, Kan., to discuss his wheat crop and the conditions he’s faced this growing season. Overall, the crop, located along the Blue and Black tour routes, went in in the fall with decent moisture. But spring has been dry, and a late freeze event has combined to result in a drought-stressed crop that’s showing some signs of freeze damage in parts of the field.  

Follow along with our video updates from the tour through the rest of this week, posted at kansasfarmer.com. Or, you can follow along on the Kansas Farmer social media channels, and by following the #WheatTour24 tag.

If you’d like to submit your wheat crop condition report, email [email protected].

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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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