(Jim) Good morning folks. Welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host, and we’re in luck because it’s that time of year that we honor the KSU Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemakers. Today we recognize Dwight and Cindy Baldwin and Ron and Pat Frederickson, inductees into the 2016 class. Make sure to stay tuned after this break from our sponsors.
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(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. Now’s our chance to meet the Baldwins. (Cindy) After we were married and we lived in Jardine Terrace Apartments, it was okay, but we both decided town was not for us. When Dwight told me he wanted to farm, I said, “Okay, fine with me.” (Eric) You came back to the area, and how did you start? (Dwight) We were able to rent one of Cindy’s aunt’s 80s. (Cindy) We bought a used combine and Dwight did some custom cutting for neighbors. That was basically it. We lived on the cheap for quite a while. (Eric) As you could, you built up the operation and expanded acreage and so forth then? (Cindy) Yes. (Dwight) Absolutely. (Eric) That’s where you are present day, with what 2,600 acres? It’s largely grain; wheat seems to be the principle crop. (Dwight) About 50% wheat, the balance row crops. (Eric) You say you now are largely no till or strip till? (Dwight) Yes, I would say that, yes. It’s amazing how things have changed from when we started plowing. My first tractor was a 68-40-20, and a four bottom mouldboard plow, and 14-foot disc. Now we’re doing quite a bit of strip tilling and quite a lot of no till. We’ve actually recently purchased some equipment to try to incorp possibly some vertical tillage, just to see what we think of that. (Cindy) We’ve also gone from light bars to, now we’re — what is it called –? (Dwight) RTK. (Cindy) Yes, RTK, GPS, everything is mapped. You can bring in a little flash drive, stick it in the computer and it spits out what all we did and where we did it. (Eric) Cindy, while we’re on this, in addition to your activities as a full-time farm partner in this operation, you’ve run a publishing business on the side. What’s that about? (Cindy) I own The Country Register of Kansas, which is a specialty advertising paper that’s distributed out through our advertising shops throughout the state of Kansas. Typically have between 12,000 and 15,000 circulation, each issue it’s a buy monthly. I get the stories and do the ads and design the paper, put it all together. I do that; I’ve done it for six years. For five years I was the news editor and Ag editor at the McPherson Sentinel. When I left that paper so that I could be more flexible with our time on the farm, I did a variety of editing, freelance writing and I was a frequent contributor to Grass and Grain. (Eric) In a similar vein, both of you in a variety of ways have taken it upon yourselves to tell agriculture’s story. You might explain the impetus behind that and what kind of things you’ve done. (Cindy) Because I have teaching background, I wanted to get involved in the schools, and I got the opportunity to be on the Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom. Which that is our whole goal is to get agriculture into the schools, by using Ag examples and Ag information to teach all the subjects; English, math, science. That has been my primary involvement and then we also have a program that we started here McPherson County, McPherson County Chamber, has a very active Ag in the classroom program, I’m on that committee. (Jim) After the break we’ll finish with Dwight and Cindy Baldwin.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. Now we’re going to finish up with the Baldwins. (Dwight) Cindy’s probably a better advocate than I am, although we’ve had some unique opportunities, in that we’ve had actually several international connections. We’ve had some Columbians, Japanese, two groups of Chinese, and a Canadian. (Eric) Before we leave too far onto another topic, Dwight, give you an opportunity to talk about your hobby. You mentioned the Chinese visit. That’s a rather amusing anecdote, so you might share that. (Dwight) Well, Adam had, my son, he’s on the National Sorghum Checkoff Board, and there were a group of grain buyers coming through. They were stopping and we’d been asked if we could line up some of our equipment so they can take a look at it. Anyhow, I have a hobby, that ever since I was at high school I thought it’d be fun to build a little street rod, a T-bucket. They were looking at all the equipment until they saw the little T-bucket, and right away their attention went to the little car. The guy that was the interpreter, and he said that they’re not able to do anything like that in China, there’s no way to tag a homemade vehicle. It was really interesting how they reacted to that. (Eric) It’s another aspect of a rewarding experience and exchange between those visitors that came to your place. The both of you have been involved in much, much more, and we could go on and on, but noting that you were both involved as 4-H project leaders, deeply ingrained in your church activities. Want to talk a little bit about your children, too. Let’s speak of Emily first. She is a teacher by trade? (Cindy) Yes, she’s taught near Leavenworth in the Pleasant Ridge School District for 16 years. She’s taught in the Easton School System. Her husband is a Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Officer. He’s a Sergeant with Leavenworth County. They have two children. Then Adam – (Eric) He does agriculture. (Cindy) He does agriculture, yes. He and his wife live three miles from us, and they have two children. Their little boy is three, and just had a new baby that’s three months. Then they’re both very involved in Farm Bureau. Kim is a coach for some of the FFA things at Inman High School. (Eric) You and Adam are not necessarily full partners, are farming separately, but crossover in your operations, is that right? (Dwight) We have absolutely separate farms, but we help each other do essentially whatever needs done. Then this fall we actually did buy some ground together and then picked up some of the additional farm ground that we’ll be farming together. That part will be in partnership. (Eric) Last thing here what this recognition as Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker means to each of you? Who would like to start? Cindy, would you like to start? (Cindy) The people that I knew that had received that honor, I just never thought that we were in that — I just never thought we would be considered. (Eric) Dwight? (Dwight) I just feel like to give us the award, it’s like we need to cut it up into little pieces and spread it all around. Because all the people that have worked for us and just we’ve had such great neighbors, and we just have numerous people who have helped us over the years and I really appreciate it. They’re a part of our farm. (Eric) As a collective trophy, but you’re both to be congratulated for getting this award, well deserved. Thank you. (Cindy) Thank you. (Dwight) Thank you.
(Jim) After the break let’s meet Ron and Pat Fredrickson.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. Now let’s meet the Frederickson’s. (Ronald) We’re basically cattle, primarily, although we’re diversified. One of things I’ve learned since ‘92 if you put it all in cattle or all in crops, one is not usually ahead of the other. Cattle do well when corn is cheap, sometimes, until now. We diversified a little bit also. We have around 1,500 acres of crop ground, basically. (Eric) On the cattle side, what have you done specifically that you think has set you apart and has allowed you to prosper then? (Ronald) I think paying attention to details with the cows, watching them, checking them, making sure that they have nutrition, keeping them up to condition six, we try to keep them up in good shape, we feed them well, we try the technology as much as we can. One of the things that we have done since that time is also develop cows and calves. I used to go to registered sales and I said, “Well, there’s some cows that they’re selling, three or four years old, that they sell the same as commercial.” So I started buying some of those. That’s how we built our herd, is buy a little older cows at the registered sales and then we kept them and buy good bulls. Our last weaning weight, for example, this fall we just sold our calves, the steers weighed 650 and the heifers weighed 625. (Eric) Are they good? (Ronald) That’s excellent. We have focused on carcass value and we sold our calves on Superior Video at first several years ago. The guy bought them and he was involved with Meyers All Natural Beef. (Eric) Which is a niche market that you’ve sold to? (Ronald) That’s right. What we have done is that he liked them. He called me up one day and he said, “Hey, I’d like to buy your calves.” I said, “Why not?” He came down and what we did, we looked at what Manhattan Sale Barn was selling for and the top of the market and he said, “I’ll pay that.” (Eric) You’ve stated that you follow a philosophy of goal setting as a system of management. You mind explaining what you mean by that? (Ronald) Well, one of the things is if you’re going to accomplish anything in your life is that you need to write it down. That’s number one. Number two you need to write down something that’s specific. Basically, to give you an example of what we do, we talk about only buying certain amount of stuff and my motto is that we don’t buy anything if that depreciates out in three years. [laughs] This is always a tendency. It’s nice to have nice new equipment. But if it works and you utilize it, that’s fine. If you have to depreciate it out and it loses value in three years, it’s not going to help you. We have a number of ones that you can see on this. Remember, the turtle won the race. Safety comes first. Take good care of the cows and they’ll take good care of you. Then we make goals out of those. We sit down each year with Jace primarily and we identify what he wants to do and what we want to do. (Eric) Let’s step away from the farm, but it’s all intertwined, and talk a bit about your community service, things you’ve been involved with. Ron, you mentioned that the Water District, you’ve been a leader in that effort but it goes beyond that for the both of you, Extension, 4-H and so on and so forth. Right? (Ronald) Right. (Patricia) Yes. Church and music. (Eric) And church. Well talk about some of the high points. (Patricia) Yes. With the Navy, we moved around a great deal and some of my best memories are playing for a quonset hut full of young recruits. Thousand young men all singing at the top of their lungs with my whatever organ, [chuckles] electric organ. Well, that was in the military and we also had a Brownie Scout Troop there that I was the director for their singing. (Jim) After the break, we’ll finish off with Ron and Pat Fredrickson.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm as we wrap up with the Fredericksons. (Patricia) Then when we moved out here, they needed a choir director. [laughs] I don’t sing that well but I was the choir director for 19 years here. When we went to Amherst, they didn’t have Girl Scouts but they had 4-H. Our daughter was the right age for 4-H and so we became very involved with 4-H. In New England they preserve a lot and it’s beautiful and it’s nicely done. We lived near Deerfield, Massachusetts, which was a community before Massachusetts was a state in a frontier. I became very aware of preservation. Then every time we would drive by the one room school here on the way to visit the parents each year, a gutter would fall down or a screen would be hanging. This little school, it was just beautiful. We decided, it was mutual, that when we came, we would use all the expertise that we had to preserve it for history. It took a while, it took a lot of community involvement and lots of money, but it is now a national historic site. Well, people back home in Massachusetts used to ask how he kept his balance so well. I knew, he came home and got his hands dirty, dirt underneath his fingernails as often as he could. (Ronald) Both of our kids learned how to drive tractors. (Patricia) Early. (Ronald) And do everything very much like I did. (Eric) I do want to give you an opportunity to visit about your children and both of them were accomplished in the medical field, among other things, right? Ronald) Yes. That’s correct. (Patricia) Yes. (Eric) Talk about it, if you would. (Ronald). Our oldest son was very interested in helping people. That was his devotion. He went to KU Med School then went on to University of North Carolina and got his PhD in Epidemiology. When he’s looking for job afterwards, he had a number of them. Wichita had an opening at the Medical School. He went down there for an interview and they hired him on the spot. Unfortunately, he had diabetes. In 2008, he passed away. Our daughter is also very brilliant. She is a nurse practitioner on the faculty at Washburn University. She is there and she’s also working on her Doctorate Degree as a nurse practitioner. We’re very proud of our children. (Eric) We could talk about a number of things but time doesn’t permit us to go into everything. Do want to finish out by getting your responses to what this recognition as Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker means to each of you. (Patricia) I was absolutely shocked. [laughs] I didn’t think I really fit the mold. (Ronald) Yes, I was too. I was very flattered, humbled for a guy to think, when you’re out here by yourself, you’re struggling, you’re trying to make a living, you’re paying your taxes, you’re making your interest payments even then, and it’s wonderful to be recognized. The other thing that’s been very helpful to us and this is part of the recognition, is that since we lost our son we have this young man who’s going to make the transition who’s worked for me since he was 14. (Patricia) That young man’s name is Jace Balding and he is a graduate of the Ranch Management Program at Butler Community College. (Jim) Thank you for joining us on That’s My Farm. Don’t forget next week about the same time, we’ll have more stories from farmers and ranchers from across the state of Kansas. See you then.
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