The Buzz

Bill Spiegel talks about what's new in Kansas agriculture.

We start off this week's Buzz with some good news about Kansas kids, who represented the state at the National FFA Convention in Louisville last week.

Congratulations to Shane Blaes, Cherryvale, for winning the Chevron-sponsored tractor restoration competition at the National FFA Convention. Blaes, a member of Cherryvale FFA, restored a 1944 John Deere B and received $2,500 for his efforts…

Chapman native Sarah Sexton also had a great showing at the Convention. A sophomore at Kansas State University, Sexton was a finalist for one of the National FFA offices…

Other FFA results are streaming in to the Kansas Farmer office. We'll post them as they are available…

K-State's soils judging team won first place in team and group judging categories at the regional contest in Manhattan earlier this month. Webber native Adam Heitman was high individual; Paul Hartley, Emporia and Kelsey McGie, Iola, tied for sixth. The team will compete in the national contest in Logan, Utah in April, 2007…

Did you know that Kansas-grown commercial potatoes are making a comeback? Perhaps you never knew they left in the first place…at any rate, southwest Kansas farmers produced 45,000 acres of sweet and Irish potatoes in the 1930s, but that number dwindled to 3,000 acres in 2000 – but has since climbed to 5,200 acres, according to an article in the Lawrence Journal-World…

The article describes a movement by K-State to promote locally grown produce, including grapes, apples, strawberries and vegetables; primarily in the Kansas River Valley.

The River Valley Project will focus on, "encouraging small farms of a half-acre to 50 acres with hopes of supplying a growing regional market," according to the article…

A 2000 study by the Institute of Policy and Social Research at the University of Kansas estimates a potential local market of about $100 million each year for locally grown fresh or organic produce, meat and dairy in the Kansas River Valley…

Horticulture, incidentally, is the fastest-growing segment of Kansas agriculture...

Finally, mark your calendars for the Kansas Commodity Classic, Nov. 14-15 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Salina. The annual gathering of the Kansas wheat, corn, grain sorghum and cotton organizations will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., include a free luncheon and breaks, plus news you can use about the next Farm Bill, what's happening in Washington D.C. and a host of other topics, including market outlook, biofuels, water update, value-added opportunities and transportation…

More information can be found at: www.ksgrains.com and click on Kansas Commodity Classic.

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