There are some overlaps on our interest lists and favorite blog topics, but there are differences, too. We both came to Baldwin Farms in McPherson County to learn and to connect with other bloggers for a farm tour and sweet corn picking. It was Erica's first time at a Kansas farm. She grew up in Alabama and lives in Manhattan while her husband is stationed at Fort Riley.
For me, farming is an integral part of who and what I am, the very fabric of my life as a fifth-generation Kansas farm from both my family and Randy's family.
But, for both of us, family is of utmost importance. Just like me, Erica wants what is best for her family, including what we put on their dinner plates.
Giving consumers accurate information is what I most appreciate about what Kim and Adam Baldwin (along with his parents, Dwight and Cindy) are doing through farm tours. Kim also is a volunteer for Common Ground, whose slogan is "Make food choices based on facts, not fear." With so many food choices available, Common Ground serves as a resource to help consumers sort through the myths and misinformation surrounding food. Volunteers help consumers discover that America's farmers produce food that is safe, affordable, accessible and nutritious - whether it's from conventional or organic farms, whether the seeds used are GMO or non-GMO, and the myriad of other choices U.S. consumers are privileged enough to make.
|The sweet corn is the shorter plant. This human treat was nestled in a circle of field corn, which will be used for livestock feed and other commercial uses.|
Hadley's mom got the same handouts I did. Kim, who is an educator at Inman High School, gave us a Farm Vocabulary Cheat Sheet in true teacher form. I'm sure the terms like "no-till" and "dryland" and "double crop" were new to Erica, while they are second nature to me.
But I figure what spoke most fluently to Erica was seeing Kim's and Adam's son, Banks, in that field with his Mom and his new puppy, Milo.
The Baldwins put a name to a face for consumers. They open their farmstead to visitors from China and Japan through Adam's efforts with the Sorghum Checkoff. Their littlest ambassador - their 2-year-old son - charmed a recent trade delegation from China with his skills on his Strider bike, tooling around the machine shed.
Connecting with consumers is what I try to do when I take crop photos and share them along with other photos in the "family album" of Kim's County Line." It's why I do step-by-step photo posts of alfalfa production or show the 9-month life cycle of wheat.
|Bloggers from left: Jenny Burgess, Kim Baldwin, Kerry Wiebe, me and Erica DeSpain.|
There was another Kim blogger. (We had a lot of Kims at this event, but Kim Fee is not pictured above.) Kim Fee runs Sunflower Supper Club in Hutchinson with her friend and business partner, Julie Kimmel, (and there are lots of recipes on her site that I'm anxious to peruse and try)!
I also learned about drip system irrigation. While we are dryland farmers, my parents and brother use center pivots for irrigation, and, back when my Dad was just getting started, my sister and I rotated wheels on the system to move it from one pivot to the other. Drip system irrigation uses sub-surface tape to apply water and nutrients to a crop. Through technology and sensors, specific amounts of water can be applied to crops throughout the growing cycle. Technology is making a difference in conserving water - one of our most precious resources.
Disclaimer: My meal and a portion of my travel expenses were paid for by Monsanto. I also received promotional items from Kansas Farm Bureau, Common Ground, Kansas Wheat and the Soybean Checkoff. And we are thoroughly enjoying our free sweet corn from Baldwin Farms. However, all opinions expressed are my own.