Fall harvest in Kansa marks a magical season of the year

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MiloPA150046.jpg Travel out to the fields of Kansas during October and you?ll see them teeming with the harvesting of fall crops.

Combines chomp through the fields of corn, milo and soybeans eager to dump the bountiful crops into waiting trucks and grain carts.

On gravel and blacktop roads, tandem trucks and semis race back from the elevators so the machines can fill them up again. Fall harvest in Kansas marks that magical time of the year when the world?s best producers of food and fiber reap what they have sown.

Seeing this bountiful production unfold, underscores the importance of farming and ranching in Kansas. Our Kansas farmers, and their contemporaries across this great land, continually risk all that is theirs; hoping that success is what each harvest and year will bring.

They work with the land, fertilizer, computers and livestock. They must understand markets, people, soil, crops and climate. Their livelihood is largely dependent upon factors that are often times completely out of their control.

Like all segments of our society today, farming is in a continual state of change. But there are some aspects of agriculture that never change.

Farmers farm to succeed. They farm to grow and harvest crops and produce livestock. Farmers see their vocation not only as a business, but as a way of life to preserve in good times and bad. They have their feet planted firmly in their soil. They are dedicated to the land and providing us with the safest, most wholesome food on the planet.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the average per capita consumption of flour and cereal products amounts to about 194 pounds annually. When you couple that with about 66 pounds of oils, 115 pounds of red meat and 63 pounds of poultry, it?s readily apparent why Kansas harvest is an important time.

Kansas farmers rank in the top 10 in corn production. Today?s consumer has the option of using nearly 4,000 different corn products. These uses range from corn flakes to corn sweeteners.

Corn remains the top source of livestock feed. A bushel of corn produces about 5.6 pounds of retail beef, 13 pounds of retail pork or 19.6 pounds of chicken.

Countless foods are made from today?s fall soybean crop. Some of these include crackers, cooking oils, salad dressings, sandwich spreads and shortenings. Soybeans are also used extensively to feed livestock, poultry and fish.

So if you have an opportunity to visit our state?s fertile fields this fall, think about the professionals who are busy providing the food we find on our tables each and every day.

Tip your hat, raise an index finger above the steering wheel of your car or give a friendly wave to these producers of food, fuel and fiber who are dedicated to providing for the people of the world.

John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.

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