(Jim Doblin) Good morning folks. Welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Doblin, your guest host for today’s show. We are in Alton, Kansas in the north central part of the state, on the Alan and Cindy Poore Farm. We’re going to talk about this farm, its cattle and its crop operations, plus a little bohemian history. Stay tuned. We’ll be right back.
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(Jim) Good morning. Welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Doblin, guest hosting this morning near Alton, Kansas about 25 miles north of Alton in north central Kansas, on the Alan and Cindy Poore Farm and Ranch. Alan and Cindy are kind enough to join us today to give us the history of the farm and to take us on a little bit of a tour because it’s a fairly sizable operation here. It’s been around for 136 years, six generations of mainly Poores and a few other families. Let’s start with Cindy, if I may, the original owners of this farmstead. They came over from Eastern Europe. (Cindy) Yes, that was Austria in the 1800s. Their name was Johann and Anna Danza. They took over this homestead from a gentleman who wanted to move on west. (Jim) They took over and then how long were they here and then what happened? (Cindy) Johann passed away from typhoid fever and then the mother was left. She needed a hired hand to come and help with her and her children so she sent an advertisement back to Minnesota to the, what they called the Czechoslovakian Newspaper. Joseph Rehor had just come to America. He answered the ad and headed to Kansas. (Jim) Joseph made it to this farmstead and married one of the daughters. Correct? (Cindy) Her name was Rosa. (Jim) Joseph and Rosa got married. Pick it up from there. (Cindy) Joseph and Rosa were married and then they had, I don’t remember how many children, but they had Anna, which was the youngest, which is my husband’s grandmother and she grew up on this place. (Jim) Do you remember much of your grandma? She was quite a pistol, wasn’t she? (Alan) She was. She made it to 100 years of age, little over 100 so she, in her time seen a lot of change. (Jim) Right, right. She was very active in this community? (Alan) Very active. (Cindy) Yes. (Jim) Yes. From Anna, came the current patriarch of this farm Emery, who is your father-in-law and your father Alan. Emery is still fairly active would you say? He’s not playing golf. [Laughter] (Alan) No, he manages the church, he manages three cemeteries and he manages to tell my son and I, the things we need to do. [Laughter] (Jim) Whether you like to hear it or not? (Alan) Exactly. (Jim) I would think. He still has a hand in this farm? (Alan) Correct. He retired, I don’t know- (Cindy) He’s 70, I believe 72. (Alan) Yes, but I was trying to think what year, 75 is when he retired. (Jim) The layout of this place is essentially the same as it was– (Alan) Correct. (Jim) -from the 20th century. (Cindy and Alan) Yes. (Jim) – there’s one photo when they first got here, it was like a hut and from that hut springs this? We have–? (Cindy) They were– (Alan) For the original, below the hill over here was a dugout and built back into a bank. Then they’ve built from then on and then the house has been added onto multiple times. (Jim) Fantastic. You’ve got crops, you’ve got cows and a bunch of other things; we will get to all of that when we come back. Stay with us folks we’ll be back after these words from our sponsors.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm, north central Kansas is where we’re at today. Just north of Alton in fact, on the Alan and Cindy Poore Ranch and Farm. By ranch, I mean we have cattle in the background today Alan, these were just brought in from the pastures, correct? (Alan) Correct. They were pulled off the cow Tuesday morning. That’s why they’re bawling so much right now. They’re missing their moms. (Jim) Missing their moms, out in the field somewhere. What kind of cattle do you run? Usually, what’s your typical cow/calf rotation? (Alan) They are mainly Angus but we’ve got Simmental cross also, but all black. (Jim) These cows will be the bred cows, the cows for breeding. What’s the strategy here? You got to get them off the grass and get them on to some pellet food for a while? (Alan) Well, they’re making a transition from pasture grass to the grain and they will have some, but we will not push these hard. End of April, these will be AI bred by a technician, and then we will put a cleanup bull in with them. Hopefully, he will get in any of the AI missed. (Jim) Now what’s the herd like? What’s the size of the herd you usually run? (Alan) We used to be up to 180 and 190, we’ve been dry for the last 2,3 years. Every year we’ve been cutting our herd back. We should add more cattle this year because of all the rain we got. We’re trying to build back up a little bit now. We’re going to try and increase back, get to 180, 190. We’re about that 160 now, 150, 160. These heifers, and we will start calving, these won’t calve for another year. Our heifers will start calving end of January. Will calve for 60 days and should be done then. (Jim) Usually besides the grass, what makes up the feed for these girls here? (Alan) As in right here? (Jim) Yes. (Alan) They will get free choice of brome hay and then they’ll get four pounds of grain a day. That’s it. (Jim) I know we don’t like talking market prices but– (Alan) No. (Jim) [Laughs] -It’s been up-and-down. It’s been kind of a roller coaster. (Alan) Well, for instance– (Jim) We are on the downside now. (Alan) We are on a downside. In 2014, our herd had five-weight calves worth $147,500. In 2015, that was worth $112,000. This year, they’re worth $ 67,000. (Jim) A precipitous drop. (Alan) Whatever that was. (Jim) For you guys, for the consumer not so much but you know– (Alan) Correct. We can weather this storm a little better than some because we own most of our ground, we’re not paying high pasture rate, and we did not go out and buy $3,000 cows to increase our herd size. (Jim) You are taking a moderate approach and hopefully that will work out? (Alan) Correct. (Jim) All right folks, we got to take a break right now. We’ll be back on the Alan and Cindy Poore Farm and Ranch right after these messages. Stay tuned.
(Jim) Welcome back folks to That’s My Farm near Alton, Kansas in Bohemian country at the Alan and Cindy Poore Ranch. We have the patriarch of the family, Allen’s dad, Emery, who’s been on this land for 82 years. Before we get into what’s changed around here, let’s go back in time a little bit and talk about the history of this area and who were the Bohemians, these Eastern Europeans that came to this area in the late 1800s? (Emery) You say 1880s, they came to my farm, 1882, and Bohemia is one of the three states that were set up to be Czechoslovakia in World War I. Before that it was Austria. My grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Austria. The Danzas, my great-grandparents, they left that country to get away from the Catholic religion. They were persecuted by it they felt and a lot of others at that time did. My grandfather, he left because when you become 16 you were drafted in the German army in Austria. All of his brothers left before they were 16 and came to America. My grandfather was in Minnesota working and he’d seen an ad that the Danzas needed a farmhand. He answered the ad and he came down to the farm where I live and started working for his future mother-in-law as her husband had passed away by that time. He worked there a short time and married the daughter and took the farm over. (Jim) Right, and away we went. The group collectively were called the Bohemians who settled here, many, many years ago in the 1890s. Then that’s how the town of Alton grew and– (Emery) Well, now Alton wasn’t really…the Bohemians and the Moravians that came from another part of Czechoslovakia they settled — the settlement was really – we’re on the south edge of it right here. It was north of us. That’s where the Bohemian Hall that is now the Bull City Cafe came from. (Jim) -because Alton was called Bull City before it was called, for various reasons, which we won’t get into now. You’ve seen a lot of changes on this land over the years. Let’s talk about the farm technology from when you started and to the machines we see here in the background, quite a change I would imagine for you to see all the years? (Emery) Yes, it does. I started out, it was a pull type combine that took 12 feet and took two men, one for the combine, one for the tractor. Then they went to self- propels. That was along in the early around 1950. In World War II, Massey-Harris made the self-propelled too. They called it the Harvest Brigade. That scattered the knowledge through the country and they’ve got bigger and bigger ever since them. (Jim) A lot more complicated probably. (Emery) They are more complicated but they do a lot more. (Jim) Emery Poore, thank you for joining us for this segment. We’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors, stay tuned.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. We are in north central Kansas, few miles north of Alton on the Alan and Cindy Poore Farm. This farm goes back six generations, is about 136 years old. We’re standing in a milo field with Alan and his dad, Emery who has been here for, how long Emery? (Emery) Well, 82 years. I backed off on my 75th birthday and sold up cattle and stuff; let my son and grandson take over. (Jim) You just then give them some advice once in a while or a lot? (Emery) Maybe [laughs] (Jim) We’re going to talk about crops here in a little bit. We’ll talk about your crop rotation. Basically, you’ve got milo, beans and alfalfa and some wheat and maybe corn once in a while, right? (Alan) Wheat would be our main crop, on an average 2,200 acres a year; 11 to 1200 acres of milo; 1,000 to 1,100 acres of soybeans. The last two or three years we’ve not planted any corn just because of drought reasons. Next year maybe plant some corn. If we plant 3-400 acres of corn then we’ll drop the milo back, you know 3,400 acres. (Jim) You’ve had some pest problems this year with milo and these sugar aphids have come in? (Alan) Sugar aphids are new thing that we’re having to deal with; so far we’ve been able to cut above them and be okay. If you get into them bad, they can plug your combine up. (Jim) What else have you had to deal with the pest and weed wise? (Alan) Weed wise is getting bad, Palmer amaranth, we’ve got weeds that are getting resistant to herbicides, so it’s the new battle. (Jim) You got to watch that. How are the yields this year because of the, you’ve had pretty good rains? (Alan) Wheat was fantastic, had good yields, all crops have all been good also but the price is terrible. They’re saying like on the wheat 70 bushel to break even, milo field 90 to 100 bushel to break even. This field here is probably going to be 130, 140 bushel milo. (Jim) It’s looking good. You’ve got a lot of different uses for milo these days too. There’s more and more users and end-users these days, that’s always a good thing. (Alan) Sorghum mainly used to be your animal consumption but they’re moving it more into the gluten-free in the food market. (Jim) Right. There are avenues that way. Once this field is plowed, now you’re making pretty good progress, what happens then because I know you’ve got a cattle operation. (Alan) Once this milo is cut, then after the cows are preg-checked, they will be rotated gradually through the milo fields, moved towards the home pasture to get ready to calving — and when we grade the field we try to leave at least 50% of the stocks left, we don’t beat it in the ground. (Jim) Because the cattle like this stuff. Emery you told me the cattle like this stuff but not necessarily all the milo? (Emery) Well, they do a good job anymore, they used to be with drop heads on the ground then a cow would eat too many heads and you get too much grain and she would abort her calf, few of them would anyway and that’s a bad deal. (Jim) Right, too much of a good thing. Overall, do you see you going back to corn anytime soon or are you’re going to stick with what you know, your crop rotation? (Alan) Provided well, number one, the sugarcane if it is creating more of a problem, it does not bother corn so providing we’ve got moisture in the spring, we will probably plant more corn year. (Jim) All right, Alan and Emery Poore, thanks for sticking around and talking about crops. Folks, you stick around as well because we’ve got lots more on That’s My Farm, after these words from our sponsors.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm in Alton, Kansas north central part of the state. I’m Jim Doblin, guest hosting today, with all three generations of the present Poore farm together. The fourth generation Emery, the fifth generation Alan and the sixth generation Craig, who is basically Alan and Craig are running the operation now. Craig when did you step into this, you know in more of a managerial type role? (Craig) I graduated in 2003. I moved back here to the Alton area and started officially farming full time. I had had some cattle and helped during the summer but officially started in 2003. (Jim) You graduated from K-State I would assume? (Craig) Graduated from K-State with an Animal Science degree. (Jim) How do you think you’re helping the operation now, as opposed to before? I don’t want to cast any aspersions on the previous generations but well, how are you going to improve things around here? (Craig) Well, as the torch gets passed on, as you commented when grandpa started stepping out as previously discussed around his 75th birthday, some decisions came down to me. I’m still the low man on the totem pole but dad and I discuss things quite a bit, for his input and different things to change the farm and if it will work or not and it goes from there. (Jim) Alan, you have no problem passing the torch to the next generation? (Alan) Not at all, not at all. (Jim) Is Craig making life easier for you? (Alan) Oh, yes very much, allows us to travel a little more so that’s good. (Jim) Craig, what do you see as far as keeping the farm in the family? Are you thinking that far ahead? I know you’ve got two youngsters right now. (Craig) Oh yes. With this being my primary business, yes, you have to think that far ahead. As generations pass on and land and it’ll be a little bit of a chore I’m sure. A person my age and even probably my father’s couldn’t afford to buy everything if we had to at this point, it makes it very– the land aspect of it makes it a real large capital expense to step into. (Jim) Emery, I would assume that you are in favor of another generational passage beyond Craig, obviously? (Emery) Well, I hope so [Laughs] That’s something to be pretty proud of. Have generations come down the line and even future ones coming on. (Jim) Right, right. You were telling me from your time, when you used to come out here and harvest, about the number of bushels that you got in a day back then compared to now, give me that comparison again because I mean you got– (Emery) Well, we got around 51. I got a self-propelled combine with my dad. If we cut 1,000 bushels on a day, we thought we did have a very good day. Our wheat at that time averaged about 18 bushels an acre. Now, we’re having 60, 70 bushels and they’re cutting 1,000 bushels every half hour or more– (Jim) Right, and there is– (Emery) – even quicker than that maybe. (Jim) The mound near Alton of milo continues to grow? (Alan) It needs to grow. [Laughs] (Jim) Yes, it’s quite pretty. (Emery) We didn’t used to have that. The elevator took them all. They’ve even got larger elevator bins and still they are running out of room. (Jim) Well, you got a great day to harvest and I’ll let you get back to it. I appreciate you guys taking the time to talk to us today. (Emery) All right. (Craig) Thanks very much Jim. (Alan) We appreciate it very much. (Jim) Thanks guys Emery, Alan and Craig. That’s My Farm for this week folks. Join us again next week for another edition. Stay tuned for That’s My Farm.
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