Have you ever looked for arrowheads in a field? Today in Kansas Profile, we’ll learn about a different kind of arrowhead, but it is still in a field – in fact, it’s working very effectively in various farm fields.
Last week we learned about Alan VanNahmen who created the Farm Buddy company to help farmers commercialize their equipment innovations. One of his current projects, called the ARRO Head Harvesting System, involves farmers in southwest Kansas.
Randy Burns is field operations manager for the ARRO Head Harvesting System. He has a compelling life story to tell. Randy grew up at the rural community of Cimarron, population 2,236 people. Now, that’s rural.
Randy married his high school sweetheart who became a nurse. He became a custom cutter during harvest time. Randy and his wife had a son and two daughters, one of whom married a leading local farmer named Kyle Kopper.
Who knows more about combines than anybody in the country? Some agribusiness companies would tell you that the answer to that question is Alan VanNahmen from rural Kansas. He is now working with farmers and others to develop even better combines and other harvesting systems for the future.
Alan VanNahmen comes from the rural community of Spearville in southwest Kansas. Spearville has a population of 817 people. Now, that’s rural.
Alan grew up in a farming family with three brothers and four sisters. That meant everybody had to pitch in on the farm. “As a kid, I drove lots of combines,” Alan said. They tried different types of equipment. It also meant that, when something broke, they fixed it rather than paying a repairman.
Some people would call that adversity. “Adversity created opportunity,” Alan said. It gave him first-hand knowledge of how combines work.
Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University writes Kansas Profile. The weekly posts highlight individuals or companies in rural Kansas who are making a difference to their community and state.
The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is a public / private partnership between Kansas State University and the Huck Boyd Foundation. The mission of the institute is to help rural people help themselves. Learn more at www.huckboydinstitute.org.