My Farm Roots

Harvest Public Media
8:19 am
Wed July 23, 2014

My Farm Roots: Carrying On A Farm Family Legacy

For four generations, Riley Lewis’ family has farmed a plot of land near Forest City, Iowa. Lewis currently raises corn, soybeans and hogs.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

In his home in Forest City, Iowa, Riley Lewis has the original warranty deed for his farm, signed by President James Buchanan and issued to one Elias Gilbert, a soldier who served in the War of 1812.

“He moved here, northeast of Forest City, and lived there for one year,” Lewis said, which was the obligation veterans had if they homesteaded. “And then he sold it to Robert Clark, who was the founder of Forest City.”

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Central Standard
1:08 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Without Intervention, Old Barns Stand Defiantly Or Fall Unceremoniously

Kill Creek Farm in DeSoto, Kan. is home to a nostalgia-worthy barn.
Credit Lori Murdock

The barn is an icon of the American work ethic and rural nostalgia. On Wednesday's Central Standard, we explored the trend of rehabbing and restoring old barns that would otherwise fall into irreversible decay.

We also spoke with people throughout the nation and in our own area about the challenges of preserving these structures.

Do old barns -- the red ones with big huge doors -- still matter, even as larger steel structures replace them in function?

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Harvest Public Media
8:01 am
Wed July 16, 2014

My Farm Roots: Farm Life Anything But Quiet

Jack and Diane Aaron spent years in Kansas City, Kan., but have embraced their new rural life in Raymore, Mo.
Suzanne Hogan for Harvest Public Media

Jack and Diane Aaron lived in Strawberry Hill in Kansas City, Kan., for decades. They loved their neighborhood and it was close to family. But when a friend passed away and left them land on a farm, they decided to take a chance on country living.

While farm life is different, they found it’s anything but quiet.

“Out here we’ve got, just different sounds. We have birds that will wake us up. A cat that likes to wake me up at six because he wants to eat,” Diane Aaron said. “It’s peaceful, but it doesn’t make you crazy,”

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Harvest Public Media
9:38 am
Wed July 9, 2014

My Farm Roots: Touch The Ground

Though he grew up without designs on farm life, Elisha Pullen has embraced rural living on his farm near Bell City, Mo.
Credit Jacob McCleland / Harvest Public Media

As a young man, Elisha Pullen never imagined he would spend his days on the farm.

Growing up near rural Bell City in southeastern Missouri’s “Bootheel” region, Pullen longed to leave the farm and get an education.

“I grew up in the day and time when we had to do a lot of chopping and stuff like that. Hard labor,” Pullen said. “I’m going to college, I’m getting my degree and I’m going to work in the air conditioning.”

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Harvest Public Media
9:23 am
Wed July 2, 2014

My Farm Roots: Smells Like Home

Growing up in Nebraska, Kari Williams spent many vacations visiting her family’s farms.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Most family vacations are remembered for endless car rides, packed tourist beaches and a string of poorly decorated hotel rooms.

But not former Nebraskan and current Coloradan Kari Williams. Her family vacation memories center on smells of cow manure, adventures on horseback and roosters with bad attitudes on farms in central Nebraska.

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Harvest Public Media
7:41 am
Wed August 28, 2013

My Farm Roots: Community Counts

Matt Pauly grew up in rural Kansas. After living in Europe and Asia, he moved back to the Midwest and now lives in Lawrence, Kan.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media

Matt Pauly has traveled the world  – he’s lived in New York, Paris and South Korea – but he’s still a farm boy at heart.

Ask him about growing up in tiny Denton, Kan., population less than 200. You’ll hear about mending fences in the summer. He’ll talk about harvest-time picnics in the fields – roast beef, mashed potatoes, a big thermos of iced tea, delivered by his grandmother. And of course, there’s his eight-man football career at his tiny 1A high school (2000 Kansas State Champions.) 

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Harvest Public Media
8:40 am
Wed August 21, 2013

My Farm Roots: Born To Farm

Despite suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, Steve Quandt still farms outside Grand Island, Neb.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

One sign that you have strong farm roots is when your rural road is named for your family.

I met Steve Quandt on Quandt Road, north of Grand Island, Neb., on the farm that used to belong to his grandfather. It’s the place he remembers spending days as a kid, from morning to night, helping milk cows, work the fields and repair machinery.

He followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, building his own farming operation. But that path was suddenly interrupted nearly six years ago.

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Harvest Public Media
8:24 am
Wed August 14, 2013

My Farm Roots: Winning Respect

Danelle Myer grew up on a conventional farm, but now runs a small, local vegetable farm outside Logan, Iowa.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Danelle Myer owns a small vegetable farm and like many other small farmers, she’s passionate about the kind of operation she wants to grow: a small, local business.

Myer’s farm just outside Logan, Iowa, sits in the middle of true farm country. Thousands of acres of row crops make up the landscape. Her vegetable farm is almost out of place, even though Myer is a native – she grew up on her family’s conventional farm, a quarter-acre of which she has turned into One Farm.

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Harvest Public Media
8:27 am
Wed August 7, 2013

My Farm Roots: Tough Guys In The Saddle

Nate Pike has worked the land outside Dodge City, Kan., for most of his 80 years.
Credit Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

I met Nate Pike working on a story back in 2012. When I dropped back by his ranch 30 miles south of Dodge City, Kan., this summer, he took me on a bumpy pickup ride to see a spring called St. Jacob’s Well and we got to talking about the former owner of some of his ranchland.

Pike has been out on his ranch for a while and he told me the former owner started ranching in western Kansas before 1900.

“He was a fine old gentleman and one of the toughest old men I ever knew,” Pike told me, his gravelly voice carrying over the pickup truck’s rambles.

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Harvest Public Media
8:21 am
Wed July 31, 2013

My Farm Roots: Providing From The Land

As a child Robert Harris Jr. worked picking cotton. Now, he’s back out in the fields, this time growing produce for the needy.
Credit Jacob McCleland / Harvest Public Media

As a child, Robert Harris Jr. worked the cotton fields of southeastern Missouri’s bootheel. Like many sharecroppers’ children, he fled that life. Now, four decades later, the harvest is calling him again, this time to grow food for the needy in a bunch of community gardens in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

I met with Robert in a garden just outside a food pantry that distributes his produce. We poked through the lush patch of vegetables, full of plump yellow squash and green cucumbers. Soft-spoken and humble, Harris said he had a connection to plants from an early age.

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Harvest Public Media
9:58 am
Wed July 17, 2013

My Farm Roots: Looking Back Fondly

Horel, middle, still has fond memories of playing around the farm with his brothers and other neighborhood kids.
Credit Courtesy photo / Paul Horel

More than once while I was listening to Paul Horel's stories about farm life in Iowa, I felt like I was at a family reunion. With his glasses and balding head, mild Midwestern accent, and talk about plowing and politics, he could easily have been my uncle. 

After all, Horel says his childhood was pretty typical for a kid growing up in the Midwest in the 1950s: he did chores in the morning and evening, spent long summer days playing in the fields, and attended a small country school. When he got older, he raised livestock for 4-H and helped his dad and brothers with the farming. 

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Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed July 10, 2013

My Farm Roots: Hardwired For Hard Work

Amy Konishi has lived in Fort Collins, Colo., her entire life. In the 1980s, a local newspaper profiled her and her husband’s long connection to the area.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Amy Konishi says when her obituary is written it’ll read, “All she knew was work.”

It’ll be a fitting tribute given the 87-year-old’s work ethic. As a young girl she toiled in her family’s onion and cantaloupe and dry bean fields outside Rocky Ford, Colo. Then she moved to selling produce at her husband’s roadside shed along the highway. In the 1950s she opened her own hair salon and she’s been putting in hours ever since.  

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Harvest Public Media
7:48 am
Wed July 3, 2013

My Farm Roots: Wings

Kelly Hagler left her family’s farm in northwest Missouri for the bright lights of Chicago, but her family and the farm are never far from her thoughts.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media

Kelly Hagler, 25, is among the millions of young people who have left rural communities for the bright lights of the city, in this case Chicago.

But Hagler has not left completely.

Here’s what she told us last year when we asked people to share their “My Farm Roots” stories through the Harvest Network:

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Harvest Public Media
7:55 am
Wed June 26, 2013

My Farm Roots: A Cowboy At Heart

Once an average suburban Colorado kid, Trent Johnson spent years ranching and now owns storied cowboy outfitter Greeley Hat Works.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Trent Johnson didn’t grow up on a farm, but he was always enamored with the cowboy lifestyle.

He sure looks the part now. I visited him in his custom cowboy hat shop in Greeley, Colo. In a sleek black cowboy hat and blue western shirt, Johnson delivers the modern cowboy aesthetic.

During college he hung out with the urban cowboy crowd, which included concerts for country idols like Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw. The city kid, who’d spent part of his childhood on a ski team, decided he needed a change.

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Harvest Public Media
8:39 am
Wed June 19, 2013

My Farm Roots: A Song In Her Heart

Retired professor Jackie Dougan Jackson lives in Springfield, Ill., but devotes a lot of time reflecting on her childhood growing up on a farm near Beloit, Wisc.
Credit Bill Wheelhouse / Harvest Public Media

Jackie Dougan Jackson keeps a pretty thorough log of her life. The 85-year-old retired college professor lives in Springfield, Ill., and has lived there for more than 40 years. However, she has devoted a lot of time to her first 22 years, when she lived on a family farm near Beloit, Wisc.

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My Farm Roots
1:20 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

From Pastime To Passion

Aaron Troester farms about 5,000 irrigated acres in north-central Nebraska.
Hilary Stohs-Krause for Harvest Public Media

Aaron Troester’s life both did, and didn’t, turn out exactly the way he planned.

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My Farm Roots
12:11 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Grateful To Be Home

Rose Alderson and her husband Loren have farmed outside of Nickerson, Kan., for decades.
Frank Morris Harvest Public Media

Rose Alderson is a bright-eyed, energetic grandmother who loves her home a few miles outside of Nickerson, Kan.

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My Farm Roots
3:30 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Family On The Family Farm

Brandon Fahrmeier and his brother Bret Fahrmeier farm in Lexington, Mo., on land that has been in their family since the 1940s.
Jeremy Bernfeld Harvest Public Media

Brandon Fahrmeier had a nice job as a sales rep in Ohio for a large company. He and his wife had a nice suburban home. Then they had kids. 

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My Farm Roots
10:04 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Breaking Away From The Flock

Rhonda McClure raises sheep for wool on a small farm outside Wahoo, Neb., and uses some of the wool in fiber art projects.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Rhonda McClure seems to approach farming with a homesteader’s resourcefulness, but she adds her own modern flair.

McClure and her husband Don sell fleece and home spun yarn across the country. But Rhonda is also a quilter and fiber artist who uses the wool in her own creations.

McClure often has gone a different direction than the rest of the flock. In the 1970s she was one of just a handful of women attending ag classes at the University of Nebraska. Today, the small McClure sheep farm is an uncommon neighbor to corn and soybean fields.

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My Farm Roots
3:00 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Home Is Where The Farm Is

Ryan Brady has traveled widely, but says his farm north of Cimarron, Kan., remains the "most beautiful" place he has been.
Justine Greve Harvest Public Media

It was a warm day when I interviewed Ryan Brady, but we sat outside to talk. Discussing farm life didn't seem right with walls between us and the land.

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My Farm Roots
8:47 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Making A Mark All His Own

Despite working full time as a mechanical engineer, 25-year-old Nolan Strawder is rehabbing his family's farm in his spare time.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

When a guy is a mechanical engineer at a nuclear power plant, you figure he puts in a pretty good day of work.

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My Farm Roots
12:01 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Lightening The Load

When Jan Phillips was a baby, her parents said they knew by her laughter in response to a cow-driven buggy ride that she would be adventurous. Seventy years later, she's still proving them right. This is her last year on a trip to Asia.
Courtesy of Jan Phillips

Ninety years ago this May, my grandfather, Ronald Merle Phillips, and his twin brother, Robert Earl, were born on a farm near Chetopa, Kan.

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My Farm Roots
10:46 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Just Taking Notes

Tom Karst feels right at home on a summer morning at a farmer's market in Overland Park, Kan.
Donna Vestal Harvest Public Media

Sometimes farm roots don’t blossom into a farm life. But those memories can still have a huge influence, perhaps even determining a career choice.

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My Farm Roots
2:52 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Making A Home Out On The Ranch

Nan Gardiner (front) with her husband Henry in Ashland, Kan.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

It’s not every day that a trip to the drug store can change your destiny.

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My Farm Roots
1:33 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Farming Means Family

Kate Edwards shows off her small 1-acre vegetable plot near Solon, Iowa.
Andrea Silenzi Harvest Public Media

Kate Edwards hasn’t always been a farmer. No, she came back to the farm after college, grad school and a stint as an environmental engineer.

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KC Currents
11:38 am
Mon July 9, 2012

'My Farm Roots' Collects Stories From The Land

Nan Gardiner told her story to My Farm Roots.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Many people in the Kansas City area have close ties to agriculture, whether they currently work on a farm, or grew up on one and left. Or maybe their ancestors settled in the region to work the land. 

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