Monday, September 26, 2011

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

This little girl with her hand in the air was just one of 55 reasons to leave work undone at home. So was the little guy who wanted to know how many kernels were in a bushel of wheat.*

We had just started drilling wheat, but Randy and I spent part of a day last week representing Kansas Wheat at an Ag Day event in Ellsworth County. Fourth graders from Wilson and Ellsworth came together to learn about everything from beef production to milking to ag by-products to careers in agriculture.

There's no getting around it: You think twice when they call in August and ask about a September calendar date. In all likelihood, it will be wheat drilling time. And it was. We got about 3/4 inch of rain September 16-17, so Randy decided to use what moisture there was and get started with wheat planting.

So why go and talk to a bunch of fourth graders, a few parents and their teachers? Maybe the answer was on the side of the Ellis County Farm Bureau trailer:

Whether people realize it or not, "There's just no way to have an ag-less day." Agriculture is the reason you can put food on the table. It's the reason there are sheets on your bed. It may even be the reason there's artificial turf on your favorite college football field.

But they won't know if we don't tell them. It doesn't get much more "rural" than Ellsworth or Wilson or any other little town in Kansas. But as the students came around to our wheat station, we asked how many of them lived on a farm.

The answer? Not many. There were a few who had grandparents farming, but very few of them actually live on a farm themselves. So it was important to bring a bit of the farm to them on a cloudy morning in September.

Food is something that comes from grocery stores or from the local restaurant or is served up by the lunch ladies at school.

But that morning, they saw the bushel of wheat.

They saw that bushel could be made into 42 loaves of white bread ...

Or 67 pizza crusts or 192 giant cinnamon rolls.

It was pretty gratifying to later hear kids naming off the Kansas farm products that went into their pizza and milk lunch.

And that's why it's important to leave work undone at home. Someday, these will be the customers who are filling their grocery carts or pulling out their debit cards at the restaurant.

And, along the way, you just might learn something yourself. *By the way, there are in the neighborhood of 1 million kernels in a bushel of wheat. No, I didn't count them. I had to Google it.


  1. Awesome! These kind of days are so important to kids. It's a shock to some that food doesn't come from the back of the grocery store. I had the honor to help at one of these type of days, back when I was still in college. I loved it. Now, if only I could find a full-time job that does this. :)

  2. I hope they had a good time and learned something, too. Even though I'm not the official spokesperson, I'm already thinking about ways to jazz up our presentation!

  3. I'm glad you came the kids enjoyed the day!


  4. We were glad to do it, Brent!