Counties and states all over America host seasonal fairs. Originally, they were organized to share the latest technology in agriculture and genes among livestock. But in an age of instant information are state and county fairs still relevant? On Tuesday's Central Standard, we investigate the modern function of fairs, and talk with some professional livestock judges about their criteria for appraising animals and producing the food of tomorrow.
People usually associate state and county fairs with Ferris wheels and food on a stick. But in areas that have seen their demographics shift from rural to urban populations, these fairs are now serving a new role of connecting city folk to their country roots.
One way the Wyandotte County Fair, which runs July 22 to 26, does this is through its competitions in arts and crafts, food, agriculture and livestock, run by the local 4-H club.
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?
When you live in a town with fewer than 60 residents well, let's just say, there must be something special about it to make you give up the city life.
Cindy Hoedel did just that when she moved from Kansas City to Chase County, Kansas. On this edition of Up to Date, Hoedel affirms that the attraction that brought her to the Flint Hills hasn't waned. Steve Kraske and Hoedel discuss the differences she's experienced between city and country life, what it's like being a former urbanite among native-born rural residents and how her straw bale gardening is progressing.
Kansans sometimes get picked on. They've heard every joke in the book about Toto and Dorothy, and they're not amused.
On Central Standard, we met with two people whose love for the state is both unconventional and all-consuming. They discuss the many rewards that await those willing to explore a state so often dismissed as empty and flat, suggesting ideas for enjoyable daytrips (see below). They also offer suggestions for how Kansas can overcome some of its less flattering stereotypes.
While the population of the United States continues to grow, new census reports show that more people are moving out of Kansas than are moving in. According to the census reports, Kansas lost more than 10,000 people between 2010 and 2013. This population decrease is most acute in the rural counties of Kansas.
On Wednesday's Central Standard we explore why Kansas is shrinking, what impact this will have on the state and what actions are being taken to reverse the trend.
A massive EF5 tornado all but obliterated Greensburg, Kan., on May 4, 2007. Afterwards, city leaders saw a blank slate, a chance to reverse decades of decline by building a town for the future.
Greensburg’s green building initiative, drew big money, and lots of volunteer help. But now Greensburg faces a crossroads. The town is stuck at half its pre-tornado population with few prospects for growth. Some blame trends slowly decimating most farm towns, others find fault with the green initiative.
As lawmakers debate the Farm Bill in Washington, millions of dollars are at stake for small businesses across the country. Rural development grants go out to everything from home loans to water projects to small co-ops.
With budget cuts likely, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is adjusting how these funds are used, and proposing changes to the word “rural.” But there’s concern that a tighter belt at the federal level means farmers and ranchers in small towns will be left behind.
The Kansas Senate has voted to expand a program aimed at stopping population loss in rural Kansas counties. Some counties with declining populations have been designated as so-called Rural Opportunity Zones. The program helps repay student loans and offers income tax credits to attract people to those counties.
Senator Les Donovan, a Republican from Wichita, says the program has helped rural areas.
“These are counties that are small population and losing population. This tends to stabilize their population a great deal,” says Donovan.
More than a quarter of Missouri's population lives in rural areas. The series "My Life, My Town" documents the lives of teenagers from small Missouri towns. These are the youth who make up thefuture of rural life -- IF they decide to stay.
More than a quarter of Missouri's population lives in rural areas. The series "My Life, My Town" documents the lives of teenagers from small Missouri towns. These are the youth who make up the future of rural life -- IF they decide to stay.
More than a quarter of Missouri's population lives in rural areas. The series "My Life, My Town" documents the lives ofteenagers from small Missouri towns. These are the youth who make up the future of rural life -- IF they decide to stay.
Onaga, KS – Last December, the only grocery store in Onaga burned down. Onaga is a town of about 700 in northeast Kansas, surrounded by cattle ranches, corn and wheat farms. But suddenly, there was no place to buy groceries for 25 miles in any direction.
People in town found their routines changed dramatically. Althea Sender, for example, is 86 years old, lives alone and doesn't drive long distances.
"You're baking - you know - or fixing something and you need something. Well, you can't just run down to the store and get it," Sender says.
Manhattan, Ks. – According to a survey done by Kansas State University, one third of all small-town stores closed just in the past three years. It's partly because rural populations are dwindling and mom and pop markets aren't able to compete with large chains.