Katie Sawyer) Welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m your host Katie Sawyer. Today we’re in pasture ground in Northern Stafford County owned by Dr. Roger Marshall. We’re going to talk to Dr. Marshall, and his family about their love of the outdoors, hunting, and the conservation practices their putting in place on their ground. We’re also going to talk to Jason Hildebrand who owns the cattle that graze this pasture during the summer time, and discuss relations between the landowner and the cattle owner, and how everybody can work together to have a mutually beneficial relationship and enjoy the land. Stay tuned for more of That’s My Farm.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.
(Katie) Welcome back to That’s My Farm, I’m Katie Sawyer. We’re here at Northern Stafford County with the family of Dr. Roger Marshall. Dr. Marshall tell me little bit about your family? How you guys ended up in Great Bend, and kind of what brought you out to this part of the world? (Dr. Roger Marshall) Sure Katie. Thanks for having me today. I think I should introduce my family first of all. This is my wife Laina of 33 years. We have a daughter who is not here today. She is back home with the little one. We have our three boys with us, Victor, Matt, and Cal. Cal is in Great Bend High School, a junior. Matt is a junior at K-State, and Victor recently received his MBA. Now as far as how we ended up back here in Kansas, I grew up in Eldorado, grew up in agriculture, a fifth generation farmer like many people are today. After finishing Kansas State University and KU Med Center, and four years of residency, we wanted to come back home and raise our kids. When we interviewed in Great Bend all people talked about was schools, and community, those types of things. We’re able to come back here, and within a month or two of being here, some friends owned this piece of land — this 80 acres here, and they invited me to participate and become an owner, and get to hunt and fish here with them. It all started with this little 80 acres. Then within a couple of years there was another 720 acres for sale around us, and we put our group together and purchased all the pastureland. It’s a really unique piece of property. We have 720 contiguous acres of grassland. We have Rattle Snake Creek coming across it. We’re setting right next to Quivira Wildlife Refuge. It’s a 22,000-acre refuge, some of the best, most important wetlands in the entire country. We have the opportunity to participate in the cattle industry with a good friend, and as well as getting all the hunting and fishing opportunities. (Katie) Now you’re a busy guy. You deliver babies, you work with moms — you’re active in your community. What draws you out here, I mean because this takes time away from other things, but what’s important to you about being out here? (Dr. Marshall) When I get out here, this is where I feel at ease. I get my best ideas out here. I just truly love fishing, and I enjoy hunting. I’m not the guy who’s going to set around and relax a whole lot. I’m the person that wants to come burn pasture, and I want to also get rid some of the plum thickets, and get rid of cedar trees. I just love interacting with the land. (Katie) And guys, what you guys enjoy about being out here? (Cal Marshall) I’ve had to work out here a lot, so not too much. [Laughter] (Cal) But, definitely, since I’ve grown up I just came out here with friends and caught frogs and snakes. That’s definitely my favorite. (Katie) So this is part of your childhood? (Matt Marshall) Yeah, it’s been the same thing for us. It’s our get away. We come out here to do work and get away from high school work, or whatever we need to. (Laina Marshall) No technology, no Wi-Fi. (Dr. Marshall) Matt, you remember we took your baseball team on a rafting trip down Rattlesnake Creek? (Matt) Yeah, the first thing since we got here today is I remember rafting. It was a total fun. (Dr. Marshall) Yes. (Katie) Well, thank you guys. Stay tuned for more. That’s My Farm.
(Katie) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Katie Sawyer here on the land owned by Dr. Roger Marshall, but I’m also joined by Jason Hildebrand and his son Ethan. Dr. Marshall talk to me about your relationship with Jason, and how you two work together? (Dr. Marshall) Well, sure. I think we actually got to go back, I met Jason when his wife was pregnant, and got to participate in four of his babies’ deliveries, so long term relationship with Jason and his wife Carrie. When we were blessed to be able to buy this land, I realized I was not very good at delivering cattle. Jason was well known to us a great family reputation, so we invited Jason to run cattle on this property. (Katie) Jason, how long have you had your cows out here? (Jason Hildebrand) We’ve been running cattle out here for probably six or eight years now. (Katie) Talk to me about the grasses, what do we have here? It’s a sandier soil, shorter grasses? (Jason) It’s a sandier soil. There’s a lot of mix out throughout this pasture, which makes it really nice for us on a summer lease. We are here for approximately five-and-half or six months. It works really well for us. (Katie) Now while your cattle take care of the grazing you’re taking care of the land also. Talk to me about some of the land management practices? (Dr. Marshall) Sure. What I love doing is getting out here and working in the nature. We’ve enjoyed burning pastures, and it’s one of my boys’ favorite things to come and do. It’s one of those chores I don’t have a problem getting people to help with this — giving boys matches. Burning pasture, if you look around I don’t see a cedar tree here anymore, Jason do you? [Cross talk] (Jason) No, much better. (Dr. Marshall) I’m so proud. It’s been quite an effort; we’ve mowed ‘em, done all sorts of different things to get rid of them. Getting rid of the cedar trees has been a big, big issue. Jason and I worked together in building new fence. It’s seems like it’s a constant battle with some of those issues. Then Jason and I have had to work around some of the oil exploration around here as well. It’s just a great relationship. Then Jason kind enough to get the cattle out in time for duck season, and work from the nature’s standpoint as well. (Katie) Jason we’re standing in some grey water ways, these are artesian wells I understand, so you basically never have to run water to your cattle there, it’s always here. Do you have to do anything to keep these up, or these pretty much self-maintained? (Jason) They’re pretty much self-maintained. Just behind us is an artesian well, and even in the dry season when the creek is dry, we still always have water, so that’s been a big help for us. (Katie) Dr. Marshall what have you done to help with the water management around here? (Dr. Marshall) We’ve built up a couple of little extra dikes to kind of, when it’s gets really, really dry, to be able to keep the water back in there. But its amazing enough we’ve had to do next to nothing to it. (Katie) Hey, that’s great for any landowner to be able to say. Please stay tuned for more That’s My Farm.
(Katie) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Katie Sawyer. I’m here with the Hildebrands and the Marshalls. These two families work together, and both enjoy the land, but they just have different interests in it. Jason tell me kind of what your use of the land is? (Jason) We run cattle here for five-and-half or six months in the summer, and take advantage of the grass and what that provides for the cattle. (Katie) But you also have the Marshalls and some of the others too also enjoy the use of the grass, and how does that help you as a cattle owner? (Jason) Well, especially in the summer when we have cattle here, they tend to come out from time-to-time, and if there’s an issue — if there’s a problem they let me know. It’s almost like having a whole another set of eyes watching the cattle for me. (Katie) Dr. Marshall, you and your sons enjoy the land, and you work around the cattle, talk to me about how you kind of work cattle into your love of outdoors, and the hunting, and everything else you do here? (Dr. Marshall) Right. Actually the cattle are very good for different types of habitat developing. The ducks prefer to have short grass. The cattle help keep some of the things trimmed down around the ponds. We think it adds to the growing of the pheasant population as well. It’s s a win, win situation for both of us. (Katie) Now Jason you lease pasture from Dr. Marshall, so talk to me about your cattle and your operation in general? (Jason) We run a commercial cattle herd around 300 or so cows that I’m responsible for. We also have a diversified farming operation with corn, and wheat, and milo, and alfalfa, soybeans — little bit of everything. That’s what we have done for years. I’m a fifth generation farmer. We’re very close to the area where my father and grandfather had their farm. (Katie) Now as you probably tried to grow your operation you probably had to look for grasses around the area, talk to me how you run your cowherd since you do have to probably work for several landlords? (Jason) We are spread across quite a few miles. We actually have some cattle that we sent to the Flint Hills for the summer that are taking care of on a contract basis there. The rest are here within probably 20 or 25 miles that we care for through the summer. Some is owned grass, but quite a bit of it is leased ground just as this is. (Katie) How does your cropland interact with your cattle? I know you guys do some unique things of not having to confine feed, but you instead use your crop ground to feed the cattle? (Jason) A fair amount of the crop ground that we actually farm is poor or marginal at best, and we will use that exclusively for cattle. Even some of the other ground that some of the quote & quote “better ground” will have cattle on it for a portion of year grazing milo or corn stocks, taking advantage of that. (Katie) Ethan you are one of five, so talk to me about how you’re involved in the family operation? (Ethan) Yes. I help with harvest some, build fence, and pull lot of rye. (Katie) [Laughs] Dad knows how to keep children entertained. Talk to me about kind of the opportunity to be able to graze the cattle in this area? This is great grass, kind of how unique are these opportunities. (Jason) They can be very unique. This is a rather large piece of grass for what we have in this area. And that makes it really nice and much more efficient for us because we have 100 pair here as opposed to having 20 there and 30 in another place. And so that works well for us. And another thing we look at when we look at a piece of grass is, what are the fences like? What’s the water situation? We have live water here. There’s a creek running through. In the drought, it did go dry but there are artesian wells on this property so we have some water. The fences are in great shape and have been well-maintained. (Katie) Thank you. And stay tuned for more That’s My Farm.
(Katie) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Katie Sawyer here with Dr. Marshall. We’re standing in some of his pasture ground in Stafford County. And behind us is Rattlesnake Creek. Great creek but we have problems. Tell me about what you’re trying to do to improve the flow on the water content of this creek. (Dr. Marshall) Right. Katie, this Rattlesnake River feeds Quivira Refuge. So it’s the main water source for all the Quivira Refuge. And as you kind of look behind us, you see all these salt cedars. These salt cedars are not native to Kansas. Each one of these salt cedars drinks about two or 300 gallons per day. So if you could imagine from here all the way to the source of this river, and it’s also true for the Arkansas River, they were losing millions of gallons each day to invasive species that shouldn’t be here. So our next big project is going to be trying to get rid of these salt cedars on Rattlesnake Creek. (Katie) Now, you have proposed kind of taking a chunk of your land and kind of using a pilot project. So what are you envisioning or kind of what are your plans to kind of start moving this out? (Dr. Marshall) Right. So this creek literally flows right into the refuge. The refuge is a mile away from us, and this creek winds in and out there. So we’re working with the local Quivira Refuge officials and other wildlife experts on basics, to be very man intensive, very labor intensive, basically using chainsaws and axes to get rid of them. There’s really no other way to do it. (Katie) Now, this comes at the time when the state and the governor himself were talking about a water plan, conserving and reusing our resources. So how do you think these efforts will fall in line with some of those visions? (Dr. Marshall) Right now, Quivira has a water right that takes precedence over a lot of the farmers’ rights. And they’re considering taking water away from the farmers. So I’m hoping that by getting rid of these salt cedars, we’ll have more water left for the farmers as well as the refuge, trying to get both sides to figure this out. But these salt cedars aren’t of any practical use to us, so we need to get rid of them, and hope we get more water for the farmers. (Katie) Sounds like you’re doing great things. Stay tuned for more That’s My Farm.
(Katie) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Katie Sawyer here on the ranch of the Dr. Roger Marshall family. Now, Dr. Marshall, on top of being a doctor and being an avid outdoorsman, you’ve decided to take on another hat and run for congress for the First District here in Kansas. Talk to me a little bit about that decision, what led you to that. And family members, talk to me about what this means for you as a family because this is a group decision, I’m sure. (Dr. Marshall) Absolutely, Katie. So my wife and I raised four kids through the public school system of Great Band, and Cal’s our last pup. He’s a junior this year. The biggest momentum was we had our first grandson about a year and a half ago. And I think when you have your first child or your first grandchild, you stop and kind of look over life and say, Well, what are we going to do there with the rest of our lives? And I was very concerned. Laina and I were both very concerned that we’re not leaving this country better than we found it. Whether it’s national security or the economy or healthcare, I think our country’s going in the wrong direction. And we had so many people asking me to run. And for the first couple of years, Laina kept saying no. But probably when the grandchild was born, she said, Oh, my gosh. It’s time. You need to go do this. (Katie) I’ve seen you on the campaign trail before. You’re not tied down with school anymore, so where do you guys fit in this process? (Victor) Well, absolutely it’s family affair, and everybody’s got a role to play. The more that we put into it, the better we can do to support my dad. And he’s done a great job supporting us and all of our things through life. I think I owe more than I could ever give back to him, so I help out any way I can whether that’s in driving or communications or organizing events. (Katie) Dr. Marshall, how does your understanding and your experiences with both rural life, the agricultural world, your experience with hunting and outdoors, how does that play in to your candidacy and to what you hope to bring to the First District? (Dr. Marshall) Right. The most important issue that people want to talk to me in Kansas is they like to have representation back on the AG committee. I grew up in agriculture. A fifth generation farmer, we’re still very much invested in agriculture whether it’s feeding cattle or part of an agriculture bank, managing land, so I think that I bring a wealth of information, a wealth of knowledge back to the House Ag Committee from Kansas again. And, unfortunately, we’ve been lacking that representation for three years. And more than that, when we’re on the campaign trail people want to talk about national security, healthcare, and jobs. I had seven years of military experience. I’ve been a physician. I’ve helped run a hospital. I think all my diverse background is going to help solve the biggest problems that people are concerned about. But the number one concern from Kansas right now is agriculture, that we don’t have representation. We don’t have a voice at the table any more. And I think all my experience in agriculture will bring in firsthand experiences, whether I was talking about the prairie chicken. I grew up hunting prairie chicken. I think I can explain to people that prairie chickens don’t fly in the high lines, they don’t fly into oil derricks, and the problem with the prairie chicken has been the drought, and sure enough it’s rained, and then the population’s increased 50%. I can talk about Waters of the US. My grandfathers built terraces. I remember, as a young child, the terrace being built. And now the government wants to regulate the run off from those, so we’re punishing my grandfathers for being good farmers. Some one with some common sense needs to go back to Washington and be able to sit down with the person that’s never been to a farm and say, Wait a second. The farmers are not the problem with prairie chicken. The farmers are not the problem with water. No one loves this environment more than we do. My love for hunting, for fishing and for agriculture, that’s what it’s all about. I want to leave it better than I found it. I want my children to be able to manage this land as well. This is their inheritance that we’re looking at right now. (Katie) Laina, you guys have been on the campaign trip for about a year now, talk to me about the experience so far. What are you hearing from people? (Laina) I think everyone’s very supportive and very welcoming wherever we go across the state. And I love meeting the people across the state, and I think that’s been my favorite part, is meeting all the new faces and being welcomed. Everyone has just been very kind, and I don’t have enough adjectives to describe what a great experience it has been to meet everybody. (Katie) Thank you, Dr. Marshall and family members for taking time out of your day to show me around your farm and to explain your love of all things nature in the First District. I enjoyed spending time with you guys today. And everybody, please join us again next Friday for more That’s My Farm.
Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.