ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
American agriculture struggles to keep its young farmers interested in continuing the family farming tradition.
But Zane Unrau is an exception. A senior at Goessel High School, Unrau grew up on his parents’ farm near Goessel. He said his enjoyment of agriculture led him into FFA.
“I’ve always enjoyed agriculture for as long as I can remember,” Unrau said. “Dad was an FFA member, and the ag adviser wanted more students in the program.”
Unrau is the son of DeAlan and Alma Unrau. DeAlan farms and his wife works in a bookstore in Newton. Zane has one brother Jared, a freshman at GHS this year.
Unrau has been a member of FFA for the past four years, but also keeps busy with football and track and managing the basketball team. His musical interests have also led him to be a member of the band and choir.
His main interest, though, revolves around his association with agriculture.
Unrau is an accomplished mechanic and spends most of his spare time restoring classic tractors.
“I try to work in the shop on my project after school when I don’t have athletic practice,” he said. “My spare time is spent helping dad on the farm, and in the shop restoring tractors.
Last year he took one of his restored tractors to the state fair.
“FFA is a great place to meet people,” Unrau said. “Going on the FFA trips is a lot of fun, also.”
New to Goessel is a class called “Agriculture Science Technology,” which has Unrau excited.
“Through a grant, we were able to purchase GPS (global positioning satellite) equipment, and we do soil samples for area farmers,” he said. “We then test the soils in our lab and recommend what particular chemicals or fertilizers the farmers should use on specific areas of their fields.”
Unrau hopes to continue his agricultural studies at either Hutchinson Community College or Kansas State University and plans to major in agricultural technology management.
Unrau said he’s enjoyed his years in the Goessel school district, because “you get to know everyone, and get to know the teachers.”
“FFA didn’t used to be as technical as it is now,” he said. “Mr. (Justin) Schrag has really jump started the program.
“My freshman year, we didn’t do very many things, but we really do a lot of stuff now.”