• P.J. Griekspoor

    Cherry Blossom Peak Tops Off D.C. Visit

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 15, 2014

    I am happy to report that the cherry blossoms hit peak bloom last Friday – one of the rare occasions when the most beautiful days of the bloom actually match up with the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. I was in D.C. for a whole week now with all eight grandkids and their parents. And no, we still haven’t seen everything this amazing city has to offer tourists, though we did add one amazing tour – D.C. Ducks. This tour proved to be a fantastic experience and…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Source, Friend, Mentor Lost to Cancer

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 17, 2014

    Almost everyone knows someone who helped them along the way without expecting anything in return – who just enjoyed teaching someone about what they do. For me, there have been many of those people. But one of the ones that I revered most, Capp Proffit, manager of  Barton County Feeders at Great Bend, died on Monday. Capp had been fighting cancer for months and had been away from work off and on for treatments. I prefer not to think about the months since last fall when he became…

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    Supporting Rural Kansas Is Marci Penner's Mission

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 26, 2014

    If any of you out there haven’t heard of the amazing work done by the Kansas Sampler Foundation, consider this your invitation to learn. The Kansas Sampler Foundation is perhaps the best example of grassroots activism and community service in the whole country and its co-founder, Marci Penner has my vote year in and year for “Person of the Year” in Kansas. The Foundation has a mission to support and promote rural Kansas communities and help them thrive. It is the force…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    It's A Batten Down the Lawn Furniture Kind of Day

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 20, 2014

    You know you live in Kansas when the National Weather Service issues a hazardous weather warning for high winds and suggests you batten down the lawn furniture and garbage cans. Much of southern Kansas is experiencing constant winds of 35 to 45 miles per hour and gusts to 60 as I write this. There are six schools in Wichita without power. Most importantly for me, the picnic table on the deck (complete with umbrella) is on it’s side – again. You might wonder why I simply…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Repeated Cold Blasts Add to Winter Wheat Crop Concerns

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 27, 2014

    OK, grammar gurus out there. What is the plural of vortex? Vortexes or vortices? However, you spell it, I sure am sick of the polar variety of the above. Yes, I am a bit of a wimp for complaining about merely being slammed with periodic near-zero or sub-zero temperatures made worse by 60 mph winds when my colleagues elsewhere are also getting hit with a foot or two of snow, along with zero-degree temps and high winds. I think maybe it isn’t just the bitter cold, it’s also the…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    All Is Well After a Big Computer Scare

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 13, 2014

    The clever scammers are out and about. Here’s one that had me in a panic Monday afternoon and I offer my story by way of warning to all of you who just might fall for this clever scam. I picked up my office phone to call Unified Messaging and check my voicemail. The automated voice told me that my passcode “does not agree with our records.” I thought I had mistyped the code. So I tried again. Same message. Huh? So I quickly looked up a phone number for help by typing…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Arctic Blast Challenges Livestock Producers

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 7, 2014

    Whoa! Yes, there still IS winter in Kansas as this week’s plunge into the deep freeze reminds us. Wichita hit sub-zero on Sunday night and low single digits on Monday night, with howling north winds making for totally miserable wind chill readings in the minus 20 range. :Livestock, and the humans that care for it, suffer in cold like that. To all my friends out there who are feeding cattle and milking cows and tending other livestock in the bitter cold, my hat is off to you…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Christmas Comes and Goes, But Memories Are Forever

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 28, 2013

    Has anybody else noticed that time goes faster and faster the older you get? My 6-year-old grandson just said, “Grandma, you know what? It is 363 days until next Christmas. If I got a calendar big enough to hold all the days, how tall would it be?” When I was his age, it seemed that Christmases were far, far apart. Now, I think that maybe 363 days is enough time to actually get everything done if I start right now. I have to admit that Christmas is my absolutely favorite time of…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Teaching Kids About Ag, Livestock Is Reward of Its Own

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 12, 2013

    One of the great things about being editor of Kansas Farmer is the opportunity to take my “city kid” grandchildren along  when a trip promises to offer some excellent education about Kansas agriculture. This week, I took Jaime, almost 9, and Michele, just-turned 8, on a trip to see a feedyard, meet some top-notch FFA leaders, visit a dairy and make a stop to check on cotton harvest – two days of education about some pretty diverse aspects of Kansas agriculture. Going…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Farm Bureau Meeting Introduces Someone Special

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 3, 2013

    One of the cool things about going to conventions is that you see things you might never see otherwise. A really neat one of those came Tuesday at the 95th Annual Meeting of the Kansas Farm Bureau in Manhattan when retiring KFB CEO Dan Yunk introduced someone special. Most Farm Bureau members know Dr. Yunk is the author of the popular series of children’s books, “Kailey Ag Adventures” and “Milk Comes from a Cow.” But someone most folks had never met was the…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    This Grandma Has No Shortage of Things to Be Thankful For

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 2, 2013

    There is a time when the right thing to do is just slow down and enjoy the moments. I say moments, plural, because my Thanksgiving weekend was blessed with so very many of them. I am still tucking the memories away so I can pull them out and relive them when life gets stressful and problems seem to pile up. Holidays are always BIG around our house because our family is big. Sunday dinner with just the kids and grandkids is dinner for 16. Throw in the other grandparents, a few friends with no…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Opportunities to Learn Come From Odd Places

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 6, 2013

    Sometimes there are opportunities to learn about life that just appear out of nowhere. On Wednesday, I took a few grandkids with me to take pictures for the December magazine at a Christmas tree farm. What can go wrong, right? Kids, Christmas trees, lots of space, long distance from roads? So, I’m checking out the trees, talking to the owner about the lingering effects of two years of drought and how a tree farmer goes about helping his trees recover when we hear “Oh, No! Oh…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Cellulosic Ethanol Looks More Promising After Tours

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on October 15, 2013

    Today’s events at the North American Agricultural Journalists fall meeting in Des Moines have me very close to changing my mind on the future of cellulosic ethanol. I have often said I am skeptical of whether biomass can be collected, harvested and handled in sufficient quantity to sustain the industry. A look at the work being done in Iowa makes the potential for exactly that look a lot more promising, We toured the Lincolnway Energy grain ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa, which…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Pursuit of 300 Kansas Farmer Also Water Conservationist

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 20, 2013

    Kansas farmer Mitchell Baalman was in the spotlight on Tuesday as his farm, FDK Partnership, was the first of six that are part of The Mosaic Company's Pursuit of 300 Farm Tour, which will take place over the next 10 days in six states, highlighting the company's effort to increase yields to 300 bushels of corn per acre. To Kansas farmers, Baalman is known not only for his innovation and willingness to try to things to improve the agronomics, economics and efficiency of his…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Drought KO'd in Soggy Eastern Kansas

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 18, 2013

    For the first time in a month, there are no thunderstorms in the immediate forecast. Whew! We might actually get the yard cleaned up. Traveling around central Kansas this week, the green is absolutely amazing and the Flint Hills are gorgeous. And drought, at least for now, appears conquered in the eastern two-thirds of the state. With a couple of days of sunshine, we’re seeing the river flooding subside, though there are definitely producers who have lost some of their corn and…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Drought May Finally Be Losing Its Grip

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 28, 2013

    This week brought the most optimistic sign in a long time that the prolonged drought may finally be easing its grip on Kansas. Most of central and eastern Kansas received up to two inches of rain on Tuesday, followed by scattered showers across the state on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by downright downpours that threatened two-thirds of the state with flooding over the weekend. Flooding of course, is no guarantee that drought is at an end. Some of the worst flooding ever een on…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Kids, Fireworks, Fourth of July: Yes, Life is Good

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 5, 2013

    When it comes to fun anywhere, it’s hard to beat kids and the Fourth of July. This year, I was struck by how many times I screamed “Neva, be careful!” or “Jax, watch out!” only to hear my children’s voices in the background saying “Mom, settle down, they are OK.” Do we get more risk-adverse as we grow older? Or do we simply become more aware of all the dangers that lurk out there and how vulnerable are the tiny flesh-and-blood bodies of…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Kansas Wheat Harvest Moving Fast And It's A Good Thing

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 27, 2013

    One of the really cool things about sharing your life with a pilot is you get to do things like I did Wednesday afternoon – take to the skies for a look at Kansas wheat harvest from high above it all. We took off from the Newton Metro North airport with ground temperatures above 100 degrees and it didn’t take long to be grateful that the plane was air conditioned. Even at 6,500 feet, it was a hot day. But the fields of ripe wheat mingled with pastureland, fields of…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Farm Bill Publicity on Christmas Trees Rings False

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 20, 2013

    did a double-take a couple of days ago as I plowed through the blizzard of Farm Bill propaganda that clogged my e-mail inbox as the U.S. House of Representatives prepared for their imbecilic performance on Thursday. “War on Christmas” and “Christmas Tree Tax” were the phrases that jumped out at me. What on earth are they talking about? I wondered. I got even more befuddled when the language was repeated by Kansas Congressmen, including Tim Huelskamp and Mike…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Farm Bill Detractors Tell a Few Whoppers

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 20, 2013

    There’s a great deal of publicity surrounding the ongoing debate in the U.S. House on its version of the Farm Bill, most of it lambasting the “waste” and “giveaways” and “subsidies” that the senders of said publicity find appalling. But when you start going down the list of just exactly what it is that is so appalling, my vote goes to the misleading verbage and outright lies in the press releases about what the Farm Bill would do. Example…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wheat Fields Have White Heads Among Green in Central Region

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 4, 2013

    I was driving across Kansas last week and took note of what I at first thought was the changing color of wheat of in Stafford  and Barton County. A closer look, however, revealed that the wheat isn’t really ripening in that area. It is freeze-damaged. The first clue was that the color is not so much gold as white. And there’s an awful lot of green heads in those fields. In south central Kansas, around Wichita and points south, there is a distinct, uniform gold…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Still Recoiling From Horror of Moore; It Could Have Been Us

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 22, 2013

    There have been 48 long hours now to try to grasp the magnitude of what happened to Moore, Okla. Just 24 hours before a massive tornado struck the town about 200 miles to our south, my family and I were hunkered down in the basement of my northeast Wichita home while we listened to updates of a “massive, destructive wedge tornado on the ground approaching Mid-Continent Airport.” The home that I own in West Wichita sits on the northwestern final approach path to…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Winter Wheat Looking Good; Reservoirs Still Show Drought Impact

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 15, 2013

    Driving around south-central Kansas to get a look at the progress of the winter wheat crop confirms one piece of good news: freeze damage in this part of the state appears to be minimal in spite of a couple of very cold nights. Probably a solid half of the wheat is either headed out or beginning to head and most of the fields I saw had only a few, if any, telltale white heads that indicate the growing point was damaged by unseasonably late freezes on April 24 and again on May…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Custom Cutters Kick Off Wheat Harvest with Safety Focus

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 1, 2013

    I was in Colby a couple of days ago as the U.S. Custom Harvesters kicked off the 2013 wheat harvest season with their annual safety seminar. This time last year, several of the crews were already headed into Texas to cut an unseasonably early wheat crop that continued to run ahead of schedule right through a Kansas harvest that was complete before Father’s Day. This year, the crop is as late as last year was early, with yet another freeze in the forecast tonight. But the…

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