Kansas State University

search

Kansas Profile

Tag: Ron Wilson

Matt Case, Cherokee County Food Fight

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

“Food fight!” Don’t worry, I’m not referring to a riot in the school cafeteria. This food fight is a friendly challenge to generate more food for local families who need a hand. This worthwhile competition went so well that it won recognition as an Ag Hero.

Matt Case
Matt Case

Matt Case is the manager of the Farmers Co-op in Columbus, Kansas. He grew up working on farms around Columbus and married his high school sweetheart. After being trained in precision machining, he worked in industry and then had the opportunity to come back and work for the Farmers Co-op in his hometown. In 2016, he became general manager.

The Farmers Co-op generates around $80 million in annual sales with seven locations in Cherokee County. It is also community spirited, hosting an annual food drive, for example. Continue reading “Matt Case, Cherokee County Food Fight”

Tad Felts, My Phillips County Online

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

It’s time to change the channel. No, I’m not referring to the remote control for your television set, I’m talking about a remarkable broadcaster who found a new channel of communication through which to serve his community.

Tad Felts
Tad Felts

Tad Felts is a longtime, award-winning Kansas broadcaster who is now reaching his community through new channels of communication. Tad grew up in Garden City. While working on the high school newspaper, Tad would ask his classmates questions about various things such as school lunch or who they thought would win the football game. He published the informal results in a newspaper column which he creatively named The Tadpoll. That name would become his trademark through the decades.

As a kid, Tad swept floors and played records at the local radio station and launched a career in radio. He went to college at Fort Hays State and worked at stations in Hays, Goodland, Phillipsburg, and then in Idaho. Continue reading “Tad Felts, My Phillips County Online”

Kristine Larson Davis, space engineer

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

“Shoot for the stars.” That can be inspiring advice. Today we’ll meet a young woman from rural Kansas who followed that advice – not just as a dream, but as a career. Thanks to the K-Stater magazine, the K-State Alumni Association, and writer Ashley Pauls for this story.

Kristine Larson Davis
Kristine Larson Davis

Kristine Larson Davis is a spacesuit engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. She grew up at Galva in McPherson County. As a kid, she looked up at the stars and dreamed about exploring the universe.

Her parents would often take her to the Cosmosphere space museum in Hutchinson.  That museum helped make the wonders of the universe feel just a little bit closer. In middle school, she had the opportunity to attend space camp and heard that one of the best ways to work at NASA was to become an engineer. Continue reading “Kristine Larson Davis, space engineer”

Kelly and Thaddeus Perry, Perry’s Pork Rinds

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

The thank-you note came from the office of former President George W. Bush, expressing appreciation for the wonderful pork rinds provided by this remarkable business.

Thaddeus and Kelly Perry

Thaddeus and Kelly Perry are owners and founders of Perry’s Pork Rinds in Bronson.  They grew up in southeast Kansas, married and moved to Bronson to be near family.

Thaddeus, a butcher, would occasionally fry pork rinds in the backyard as a hobby. Kelly remembered delicious pork rinds from the Ozarks.

When Kelly and Thaddeus wanted to earn some extra money for a cruise, they decided to sell pork rinds and funnel cakes at an upcoming fair in Missouri. Continue reading “Kelly and Thaddeus Perry, Perry’s Pork Rinds”

Now That’s Rural: Kale Dankenbring and Heidi Plumb, Part 3 – High Plains Moto

PART THREE OF A THREE-PART SERIES

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

High speed on the High Plains. That is what one can find when we see the product of the work done by an innovative entrepreneur in rural northwest Kansas.

High Plains Moto
High Plains Moto

During the last two weeks we have learned about Heidi Plumb and Kale Dankenbring, who traveled around the globe as newlyweds. They came back to Kale’s hometown of St. Francis to become the founders and co-owners of Fresh Seven Coffee, plus a business next door named High Plains Moto. This business services and sells products for motorcycles and other, smaller motorized vehicles such as ATVs.

When Kale was 10 years old, his cousin was involved in a bad motorcycle accident. Some years later, Kale was riding on a motorcycle with his father’s friend when they crashed on a muddy road. Continue reading “Now That’s Rural: Kale Dankenbring and Heidi Plumb, Part 3 – High Plains Moto”

Now That’s Rural: Kale Dankenbring and Heidi Plumb, Part 2 – Fresh Seven Coffee

PART TWO OF A THREE-PART SERIES

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

Davenport, Florida: A specialty package of Fresh Seven Coffee arrives to a customer. This coffee was carefully selected and roasted by a family halfway across the continent in rural Kansas.

Fresh Seven Coffee
Fresh Seven Coffee

Last week we met Heidi Plumb and Kale Dankenbring, who made a trip around the globe as newlyweds. They had met in Arizona. Kale worked in information technology and ran a motorcycle shop on the side.

Heidi worked at a roastery in Phoenix and learned the science of coffee production and roasting. “We just love coffee,” she said.

While traveling, Kale and Heidi were at a community coffee shop in India and got to talking about having a coffee shop of their own back in the United States. Kale suggested his hometown of St. Francis where there was an abandoned building for sale. Through Kale’s dad, they bought the building sight unseen, thinking this could serve as a place for their coffee roastery and motorcycle shop. Continue reading “Now That’s Rural: Kale Dankenbring and Heidi Plumb, Part 2 – Fresh Seven Coffee”

Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Kale Dankenbring and Heidi Plumb, Part 1 – travelers

PART ONE OF A THREE-PART SERIES

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

“Let’s go one lap around.” That sounds easy. But what if that one lap didn’t refer to the local walking track? What if it referred to one lap – around the entire globe? This week, we’ll meet a young Kansas couple who took on the amazing goal of circumnavigating the globe by themselves.

Heidi Plumb and Kale Dankenbring
Heidi Plumb and Kale Dankenbring

Heidi Plumb and Kale Dankenbring are the remarkable young couple who made this amazing journey. Heidi grew up near Dallas. Kale grew up at St. Francis, Kansas. He studied information technology at Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland, a rural community of 4,489 people. Now, that’s rural.

After graduation, Kale’s IT career took him to Phoenix where he met Heidi. The two shared lots of interests, including nutrition, coffee and travel. They had an incredible idea: What if they could travel around the world on a shoestring budget?

They made it happen. Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Kale Dankenbring and Heidi Plumb, Part 1 – travelers”

Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Gabe Spurgeon, South Baldwin Farms

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

 

What grows in the apple orchard? Well, one would think a safe guess would be “apples.” Today we’ll meet a grower who indeed produces lots of apples and other tree fruit, but he is also developing innovative ideas about his production processes.

Gabe Spurgeon
Gabe Spurgeon

Gabe Spurgeon is manager of South Baldwin Farms near Baldwin City. A Missourian, he met his wife in honors college while they were attending Pittsburg State. He earned degrees in math and physics and worked for engineering firms in Joplin and Pittsburg before they moved to Baldwin City so as to be close to her family.

As a kid, Gabe worked in peach orchards during the summertime. After graduating from college, he found he didn’t enjoy working inside at a desk.

His father-in-law had purchased a farm south of Baldwin City in 2000 and was haying it but had always been interested in having a commercial orchard. They decided to devote part of the farm to the orchard with Gabe doing the day-to-day management. The first apple trees were planted in 2015, with peach and apple trees and other products following. Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Gabe Spurgeon, South Baldwin Farms”

Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Lacey Noterman, virtual livestock show

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

“Never underestimate the power of youth.” That is the phrase used by an extension agent whose 4-H youth helped conduct an innovative livestock show entirely using technology.

Dalton Winfrey, Bailey Briggs, Kara Kunselman, Ashley Kennedy, and Sean Wagner
Dalton Winfrey, Bailey Briggs, Kara Kunselman, Ashley Kennedy, and Sean Wagner

Lacey Noterman is a livestock and youth extension agent for the K-State Research and Extension Wild West District, serving Haskell, Seward and Stevens counties in southwest Kansas. A native of Dighton, she was on the livestock judging team at Fort Hays State before joining the extension service in Haskell County.

In 2016, Lacey helped launch a 4-H livestock ambassador program in Haskell County. This was intended to give youth a bigger voice in livestock-related 4-H activities and help prepare them as advocates for animal agriculture. Ambassadors are selected annually by the livestock show and sale committee. “(To avoid favoritism,) I remove the names from the applications and then the committee makes the selection,” Lacey said. Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Lacey Noterman, virtual livestock show”

Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Julie Riggins, Goat Milk Soap Store

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

“Get steamed!” No, I don’t mean get mad. I mean this might be a time to try steam aromatherapy with natural products made from goat milk. Today we’ll learn about an innovative Kansas business that has created an entire line of goat milk products, including shower steamers, and is marketing those products across America and beyond.

Goat Milk Soap Store
Goat Milk Soap Store

Julie Riggins and her family are owners and creators of the Goat Milk Soap Store. Julie was living in Texas with her husband when his business transferred him to Kansas City. She left her corporate job to follow his career and became a stay-at-home mom. They chose to adopt additional children, and ultimately decided to move out of the city so the kids could grow up in a small-town environment.

They found a farm in Franklin County, Kansas, and decided they should try to grow their own food. They bought some chickens and made a big garden.

“Two of our kids are (cow milk) lactose intolerant, so I figured I should get dairy goats,” Julie said. The Riggins family bought a herd of LaMancha dairy goats from a man in Missouri. They loved the goats. They also found themselves in a constant cycle of feeding and watering. Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Julie Riggins, Goat Milk Soap Store”