More Moisture Seen For Spring Months In Kansas

It looks like a wet spring ahead.

That’s according to Mary Knapp, agronomy climatologist at Kansas State University, Manhattan.

Speaking during a Farm Profit Seminar in Alma, Knapp first reviewed temperatures of the past year.

Northern tier of Kansas counties was cooler than southern counties with range from 49 degrees west to 53 degrees northeast.

East central Kansas annual mean temperature was about 55 degrees, while southern counties averaged about 56 degrees the state’s width.

Charts indicated east central Kansas temperatures were warmer comparable to that of southwest Kansas averaging 4 percent above normal.

                   Mary Knapp

Weather Data Library in the KSU Department of Agronomy showed far western Kansas counties 2018 precipitation 17 to 24 inches.

Central Kansas precipitation last year was from 24 inches to as much as 52 inches in south central Kansas.

Northeast Kansas averaged 16 to 24 inches moisture in a few counties with the far southeast about 52 inches. The climatologist related that east central counties averaged 40 inches to 45 inches precipitation last year.

Those precipitation totals were 8 to14 inches above normal for central Kansas. Yet, moisture was as much as 11 inches below normal in some northeast counties, Knapp stated.

Certain northwest and north central Kansas counties had from 36 to 51 inches of snow last year. Northeast and east central Kansas snowfall in 2018 ranged from 6 to 12 inches. Knapp point out that that south central and southeast Kansas had only an inch to 6 inches of snow.

Monthly mean temperature in northeast Kansas during 1918 was about 26 degrees compared to the southern counties about 33 degrees. Central Kansas the state’s width averaged about 30 degrees, according to Knapp.

January 2019 precipitation along the eastern border was about 2 inches while less than a quarter of an inch in northwest Kansas.

This January’s temperatures ranged from a negative 5 degrees to 63 degrees in east central Kansas, Knapp said

Thanks to fall rainfall, Kansas is out of drought severity compared to extreme drought in western and southwestern states.

Comparing drought status in February, 1918, to November, 2018, Knapp said there was sharp improvement in northeast Kansas moisture supplies.

Two week outlook for Kansas indicates 60 percent chance above normal precipitation with that prediction for much of the country.

Temperatures in the state for February are to be below normal, Knapp said. Lower temperatures are also seen for northwest states with above normal temperatures in far southeast states.

Kansas’ February temperatures are forecast to average 30 degrees northeast, 35 degrees east central and 38 degrees southeast.

“For February, the eastern tier of Kansas counties is forecast to have normal to above normal precipitation,” Knapp said.

“Through April, forecasts point to above normal moisture conditions for much of Kansas and the Midwest,” the climatologist indicated. That holds true for most of the Midwest.

Spring temperatures are seen to be normal to below normal, she noted.

‘Greatest Horse Expo In Kansas’ Promised For 22nd Annual EquiFest At Topeka

If it has anything to do with horses there’ll most likely be something there about it some way shape or form.

That’s not a short description but surely a most accurate one for the upcoming EquiFest of Kansas.

Furthermore, often days gone by more than today, certain prejudices have existed among horse folks, despite common affection all things equine. Maybe, the rodeo jocks snide halter leaders, barrel racers shun flat seat riders, all race horses do is run. Doesn’t seem that way nowadays as everybody’s eager for what’s best of the horse doing everything the best as possible.

“Well, EquiFest has three full days of everything, horse February 22-23-24, at the ExpoCentre in Topeka,” according to Justine Staten. “It’ll sure be the greatest Kansas horse extravaganza yet.

                   Justine Staten

Serving as executive director of the Kansas Horse Council in Manhattan, Staten said EquiFest is the Council’s main fundraising effort. She’s the event manager working diligently nearly nonstop coordinating 2019 attractions starting immediately when since last year’s EquiFest concluded.

                Dan James

“In its 26th year, KHC provides Kansas’ equine industry leadership direction through education, promotion, and public policy advocacy” Staten said.

“EquiFest of Kansas in its 22nd year is certainly Kansas’ All-breed, all-discipline horse fair and exposition,” Staten exclaimed.

So what’s on the schedule? Just about too much to list everything. Briefly, there’ll be clinicians, workshop speakers, shopping, art, poetry, kiddie corral, horse shoeing, a painting horse station and much more.

Four of the country’s top equine clinicians are to be featured. They include Dan James, natural horsemanship; Mustang Maddy, mustang trainer; Tami Burklund, barrel racing; and Kip Rosenthal, hunter-jumper trainer.

Premier presenters are Ben Masters, documentary film maker; Tom Seay, trail riding across America; and Elizabeth James,  University of Kentucky, equine management.

The Tim Trabon Memorial Ranch Rodeo Friday and Saturday evenings will feature 14 teams of working ranch cowboys. “They’ll be competing in events simulating what they do every day in their cowboy profession. There’ll be roping, tying, sorting, loading and milking,” Staten said.

                         Mustang Maddy

R Bar B Saddles, Tack & Trailers, Topeka, will sponsor a daily Top Horse Challenge. “It’ll feature cattle sorting, cowboy jumping, a timed event, an obstacles challenge and a freestyle finale,” Staten explained

Equestrian drill team demonstrations and competitions are scheduled. “Three teams are to compete in a precision pattern, a patriotic demonstration and also a freestyle finale,” Stated verified.

The Carriage and Driving Society of Greater Kansas City will sponsor the EquiFest Driving Derby. “Ten competitors will vey for fastest time on the course,” Staten commented. “They’ll sport colorful attire for the speedy action driving several different breeds of horses from Miniatures to giant Percherons.”

       Tami Purcell Burkhard

Horse shoe forging demonstrations, competitions and live horse shoeing are to be presented by the Kansas Farrier Association.

Again, a horse judging contest has been planned for youth teams with competition typically drawn from around the state.

What makes EquiFest especially appealing for everyone is that many equine breeds will be in attendance. “Each breed organization will have will display in the Breed Showcase and present daily public demonstrations,” Staten related.

                    Kip Rosenthal

With all the attractions, shopping is still often considered the biggest part of EquiFest, Staten admitted. “If it can be used for a horse, or by any equine enthusiast, there’ll be commercial displays,” she said.

Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship is the headliner clinician. “Featuring natural training,” Staten said, “Dan will simplify lead changes, developing the spin, improving showing skills and starting young horses.”

Mustang Maddy is renowned for her work with mustangs. “She’ll present steps of communicating with horses to work at liberty,” Staten said. “Her trained zebra is also always a highlight of Maddy’s programs.”

Former track jockey, Tami Purcell Burkhard was complimentary described by Staten as “the winningest female jockey” in patterned Quarter Horse racing. She’s also a two time National Finals Rodeo champion. “Tami will share her life experiences relating tips and tricks learned at the top in both competitions,” Staten added.

An accomplished rider of hunter and jumping horses, Kip Rosenthal has a background in education and sports psychology. “She’ll take the audience through steps to achieve confidence while managing mind over matter,” Staten said.

“Remember children 12 and under are admitted free to all EquiFest features,” Staten said. “It costs for adults to attend, but advance wristband purchases offer generous savings over buying at the EquiFest door.”

Complete details and program lineup can be found at

For Profitability, Farmers Urged To Focus On What Can Be Controlled, Plan Around The Rest

“Certain things can be changed for improvement, but farmers have little or no control over other challenges in their operations.”

Parry Briggs from Frontier Farm Credit emphasized that point at the 580 WIBW Farm Profit Seminar in Alma.

“With so many challenges in today’s world, focus on what you can control,” Briggs insisted. “It is your operation, so take ownership by putting yourself in a position where you are making the right decisions.

“Be intentional about managing your business,” he encouraged.

Today’s successful producers have a dozen like characteristics separating them from financially problematic farmers.

They are, according to Briggs, “adaptable, business oriented, connected, determined, efficient, evolving, informed, innovative, planners, proactive, resilient and strategic.”

Charts from Virginia Tech University revealed differences between proactive producers and reactive operators.

Those among the top 40 percent, the speaker said, “make incremental improvements.” They sell crops at higher market prices, pay lower cash rents, and keep fertilizer bills down.

“These farmers utilize a systems approach, have sound financial management and modest living expenses,” Briggs said.

At the opposite end, reactive producers, the bottom 30 percent of farmers, “lack financial skills,” Briggs pointed out.

Many have a “minimize taxes” mentality so that with marginal resources they’re devaluing machinery, equipment, and buildings.

                              Parry Briggs

“These reactive producers often think they know it all, or feel like they’re victims of the system,” Briggs said.

Living and maintenance costs are high for their families, but “demographics are cycling them out,” the financial official recognized.

Profit can be increased by becoming a low-cost producer. “The low hanging fruit has been picked and only goes so far,” Briggs exclaimed. “It’s important to reduce input costs.

“This can be accomplished by curtailing, postponing or downscaling capital purchases such as vehicles and machinery,” he advised.

Bigger changes relate to the four “Rs” of overhead and fixed costs, Briggs explained.

He recommended farmers “re-amortize owned land, refinance machinery, renegotiate rental land and re-access living expenses.”

Analyzing and adjusting fixed costs of crop production could reduce the gap by $50 to $100 an acre, Briggs calculated.

It’s essential to build a team to help make management decisions. “Know your strengths and weaknesses as an operator and manager and align those with a team of experts,” Briggs insisted.

Included could be a crop insurance agent, commodity broker or merchandizer, input expert and the ag lender.

“Don’t overlook the internal team,” Briggs demanded. “Communication between partners is key, spouses, family members and others who might be a part of the operation.”

In today’s farming economy, lenders are an essential part of management. “Communicate early and often,” Briggs urged. “Have a plan during meetings, yet be flexible and open to ideas. Remember everyone wants success.”

Many producers don’t even know if their farm is profitable, or what the breakeven point is, according to the speaker.

“Know the economics of your business,” Briggs recommended. This starts by reviewing costs of production for crop and livestock in the past year.

“From that, budget and plan for the future,” he clarified. “Focus on specific costs and use budgets to project financial position for the year’s end. But, make sure to update projections regularly.”

Marketing is still the final line for farm profits. “Formalize a marketing strategy, execute it, post the plan and hold team members accountable,” Briggs ordered. “Intentions are never always right, but they do help identify opportunities.

“Always remember, marketing goals are not getting the highest price,” he said.

Successful marketing plans incorporate budgets, help with in-season financial projections, consider cash-flow needs and involve timing and management tools.

Farmers should think about their business strategically and execute plans for higher profitability.

Briggs told producers to carefully manage both risks and investments, while considering long term goals including estate and transition plans.

In summary, the financial advisor said, “Focus on what you can control and plan around what you cannot.

“Better margins will return, but stay disciplined. Opportunities will come, so be prepared for them.”


Planned Commodity Marketing Key To Farm Profitability

“Many farmers will not listen when discussing marketing their production.”

Yet, selling commodities is the essential part of profitable production, according to Tom Leffler.

“When marketing is mentioned to farmers, they are ‘too busy’ to talk, or just say no thanks,” Leffler pointed out.

Speaking at  the 580 WIBW Farm Profit Seminar in Alma, the risk management advisor from Leffler Commodities at Augusta discussed marketing tools.

He said 82 percent of farmers store a portion of their crop for later sale. About 69 percent of the producers forward contract grain while 67 percent set up a cash spot sale.

Others have elevator contracts, agree to re-ownership and sometimes lock-in carry when grain is stored.

Discussing use of hedging and options, Leffler emphasized, “Futures trading involves risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone.”

Essential to profitability is farmers knowing the cost of production. “Write post and execute your marketing plans,” Leffler advised. “Market in various methods and increments, yet be a disciplined marketer utilizing risk management tools.”

                            Tom Leffler

Insisting that farmers not dwell on past mistakes or decisions, Leffler said, “Still always have a plan for ‘what if’ we are wrong.”

Commodity prices are highly unpredictable and there are “no magic bullets,” he insisted.

“Marketing must be based upon a plan, and not emotions,” Leffler declared. “If you cannot do that, then hire a marketing advisor.”

Power point charts compared commodity prices now with a year ago, actually without much variation. Sharpest difference was April lean hog futures down $10.20 from last year’s $60.32. However, the March dollar index was up 6.38, at 96.48.

While soybean prices are frequent topic of discussion, values are down only slightly from last year.

Interestingly, Leffler pointed out when commodity prices set record highs. Grain price tops included Minnesota wheat, $24.26, February 2008; soybeans, $17.95, September 2012; and corn, $8.49, August 2012.

Feeder cattle topped at $245.70 in October 2014, while live cattle peaked in the same month at $172.75. Lean hogs top came in July 2014 at $133.87, and cotton high was $227 in March 2011.

High Dow Jones average was 26,952 in October 2018, and record S&P 500 was 2,945 in September 2018.

Gasoline topped at $3.62 in July 2008, and ethanol peak was $4.33 in June 2006.

Government estimates of commodity supplies have major impact on prices, the speaker admitted. With President Trump’s forced agency office closings, numbers reports have been delayed, he said.

Yet, predictions point to higher total cattle and beef cow inventories with the heifer count down. “Most noteworthy number is the prediction for beef cow replacements to decline from 4.6 to 7 percent,” Leffler said.

However, the calf crop is forecast up just under 2 percent. Lightweight calves and feeder steers are also predicted up from one to about 2 percent.

Per capita beef consumption has dropped in the past quarter of a century, the speaker said. People were eating an average of almost 80 pounds of beef annually in 1984, and now about 58 pounds. That’s up from 54 pounds in 2015, he noted.

Yet, charts revealed that live cattle have averaged upwards from about $60 in 1998 to a high of $171 in October 2014. Live cattle were $94.30, October 2016; $101.37, March 2018; and about $126 now.

Feeder cattle were 80 cents in 2002, peaking at $245 in October 2014, down to $118 in October 2016. Price increased to $161 in November 2017, dropped to $128 in April 2018, and is about $144 presently.

U.S. corn production last year was the third largest ever at 14.42 billion bushels. That’s due in part to the second largest average yield of 176.4 bushels per acre.

Additionally, corn stocks are the seventh largest in the past 26 years at 1.7 billion bushels. World corn stocks are the fourth largest on record.

“This all points to lower corn prices,” Leffler admitted. December corn was $3.83 last September, moved to $4.08 in October and now is $3.96. Notable, December corn was $1.86, November 2005.

U.S. soybean production was record large last year at 4.54 billion bushels. This again was in part to yields being the second highest average record at 51.6 bushels per acre.

Stocks are also record high at 910 million bushels. World soybean production and stocks were both record high at 2018 year end.

November soybeans were $5.01 in November 2014, went to $16.37 in July 2008, and peaked at $17.l89 in September 2012. Market dropped to $8.26 in July 2018, with November soybeans about $9.60 presently.

Wheat has become a less important cash crop for the nation’s farmers as apparent in production charts.

World wheat crop has continued upward reducing U.S. acreage with fall plantings the second lowest ever. Exports are consequently declining with near record stocks thus binding prices at about $5 now, compared to $8 in 2013. “The U.S. continues to lose market share of wheat exports,” Leffler verified.

“Marketing is important to your profits,” Leffler declared. “It’s crucial to obtain marketing advice and listen to those that say what you need to hear.”

Home Team Looking To Winning Runs In College Rodeo This Weekend At Manhattan

It’s rodeo time and the home team is ready for all comers.

That’s the  annual Kansas State University College Rodeo with the KSU Rodeo Team looking for action.

“The K-State Rodeo Club is busier than ever with double duties this week,” according to Casy Winn, sponsor and coach.

“Every club member is involved getting Weber Arena on the Manhattan campus set up for the rodeo,” Winn said.

Casy Winn teaches equine science and serves as the rodeo team coach and rodeo club sponsor at Kansas State University. With possibly the largest and most talented team roster, Winn is optimistic for the Western athletes on the home court. The cowboys and cowboys will see action at the K-State College Rodeo, February 15-17, Manhattan.

“Plus, rodeo team members are practicing hardest readying for arena competition.  Every cowboy and cowgirl always wants to do their best in front of the home crowd,” Coach Winn insisted.

The KSU College Rodeo is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 15-16-17.

Kickoff performance Friday evening, at 7:30, has been designated Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night. “Many contestants and spectators will wear pink to increase awareness and support for curing cancer,” Winn described.

Children, 12 and under, are admitted free to the Saturday matinee, 1 o’clock, with donation of one canned food goods.

Kyle Eike, KSI ag economics senior, Glenarm, Illinois, stands second in the Central Plains Region steer wrestling of the National Intercollege Rodeo Association. He’s intending to move up in the rankings at the Kansas State University College Rodeo, February 15-16-17, Manhattan.

“They must be accompanied by an adult rodeo ticket holder,” Winn clarified. “This will support the Flint Hills Breadbasket which works to ensure that no one in the community goes hungry.”

Miss Rodeo K-State 2018 Bailey Jo Jeffries will crown her successor the new KSU rodeo queen before Saturday evening’s performance.

“Cowgirls will be competing in queen competitions Friday and Saturday with coronation the climax at 7:15,” Winn said. “The queen will represent K-State and the sport of rodeo at activities throughout the Midwest in the coming year.

“Following the queen coronation, we want to ‘pack Weber purple’ for the third long-go-round action at 7:30.”

Cowboy Church is right there in Weber Arena Sunday morning, at 10 o’clock, with special invitation for everybody to attend.

Short-go-round finals rodeo performance Sunday afternoon, 1 o’clock, is Military Appreciation Day. “Special recognition will be given those who are serving and have served for our great nation’s many freedoms,” Winn said. “Rodeo action is to feature the top cowboy and cowgirl contestants from the three long-go-round performances.”

The K-State Rodeo Team has what is likely a record number of KSU cowboys and cowgirls working out. Coach Winn listed 18 students practicing for the men’s team and ten cowgirls trying out to represent the women’s team.

Several are now among the top contestants in the Central Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA). “Our rodeo is again NIRA sanctioned attracting rodeo participants from throughout the central plains,” Winn noted.

There were four fall region rodeos and six spring rodeos are on tap, with KSU’s rodeo first of the season.

Top region teams after the fall rodeos are Oklahoma Panhandle State, Northwestern Oklahoma State, Southeastern Oklahoma State and Fort Scott.

Currently, the KSU women’s team is seventh in the region, and the men are ninth. “We are looking for both of our K-State teams to move up to a top five ranking by the end of spring,” Winn predicted.

Sami O’Day, freshman from Stewartsville, Missouri, will be competing in breakaway roping and barrel racing at the K-State College Rodeo, February 15-17, Manhattan. She’s seventh in the Central Plains Region breakaway roping of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.

Several K-State Rodeo Team members are ranked in the top region standings at this point. Sami Jo O’Day, Stewartsville, Missouri, is third in breakaway roping, and Kassidi Hofmann, Ripon, California, is ninth in breakaway.

Kyle Eike, Glenarm, Illinois, is regionally ranked second in steer wrestling.

There are 28 college athletes practicing for the K-State Rodeo Team, one of the largest and most talented rosters ever. Many will be seeing action at the Kansas State University College Rodeo, February 15-17, in Manhattan.

Team mates region standings: Corey Larsen, Whitman, Nebraska, 13th tie-down roping; Drake Taysom, Olathe, 14th bareback bronc riding; Will Buchanan, Strasburg, Colorado, 17th steer wrestling; and Dominic Ruppert, Witt, Illinois, 21st steer wrestling.

“We have an outstanding team, and they practice hard to keep improving despite whatever the weather,” Winn acknowledged. “The team practices every day either outside in Burtis Arena or inside at Weber Arena. We are fortunate to have such great facilities for the team to work out and keep getting better.”

Several KSU team members are on tap to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo Finals, according to Coach Winn’s optimism. That’ll be in Casper, Wyoming, June 9-15, with the top contestants in each of NIRA’s 11 regions qualifying to compete.

Noteworthy, there are 3,500 student Western athletes representing 135 colleges and universities in the NIRA with 100 annually sanctioned rodeos.

Strong alumni and friend support must be credited for developing K-State Rodeo Team’s large roster of outstanding athletes, Winn recognized.

“Our alumni continue to be the greatest support for the club and team,” he said. “Many insist experiences in the club and on the team taught value lessons that apply in the arena of life.”

Scholarship funding has increased in recent years, Winn noted, while he encouraged giving to keep the program growing.

A Kansas State University Rodeo Alumni Social is Saturday afternoon, Stanley Stout Center, 2200 Denison Avenue, Manhattan, at 4 o’clock. “We’d be pleased to see all alumni at this fun event honoring K-State’s rodeo legacy,” invited Amber Thompson.

“Let’s pack Weber purple,” welcomed members of the K-State Rodeo Club. That’s to attend the K-State College Rodeo, February 15-17, Manhattan, the group’s been working hard on all week long.

Hardworking on logistics for the affair, Thompson said there will be light refreshments, a cash bar and raffle prizes. A silent fundraising auction is also planned.

Reservations are requested and can be made along with additional information by emailing Thompson at

Looking to immediate days ahead, Winn said, “It’s a busy week for rodeo athletes at K-State, but it’ll be a show worth attending.

“We have a great chance to use our home court advantage to start the spring rodeo season off with a bang. Join use for an action packed weekend in Weber Arena on the KSU Campus. See you at the 2019 rodeo,” Coach Winn welcomed.

Additional details and information for discounted advance tickets can be found at



Retired Richmond Farm Couple Won’t Miss Out On Farm Profit Seminars

Larry and Elsie MacArthur are the winners.

Hands down the Richmond farm couple has been to more 580 WIBW Farm Profit Seminars than anybody.

That even includes the individual WIBW farm program directors and seminar coordinators, who’ve shared attendance through the years.

“We always went to the daylong seminars there at the downtown motel in Topeka,” Larry reflected. “That wasn’t so far from home, and since the seminars have been in other towns we’ve just kept going.”

A snow storm one time kept the Franklin County actually retired farmers, Larry, 81, and Elsie, 78, home. “We hated to miss it, but we sure didn’t want to be caught on the road,” he insisted.

It’s 186 miles from their farm to Washington, Kansas, but they didn’t miss the Farm Profit Seminar there. “We rented a motel room and stayed overnight after some programs that were a long ways from home,” Larry said.

“We enjoy those seminars. They are so well coordinated, educational, sometimes the speakers are quite entertaining, too. That Darrell Holaday when he talks is something else; he really gets enthused,” Larry contended.

Greg Akagi, now 580 WIBW farm director, visited with Larry and Elsie MacArthur at a Farm Profit Seminar in Garnett. The Richmond farm couple hasn’t missed but one Farm Profit Seminar first as daylong programs then evening’s at area towns. They’ll be at Alma for the Farm Profit Seminar Wednesday evening, Feb. 6.

“Of course we enjoy the great suppers, too,” Elsie inserted with a smile.

Likely, the always most congenial farm couple has collected a record number of door prizes at the seminars as well. “Between the two of us, we’ve had our names drawn several times. Got some nice things we still use,” Larry said.

Of course, Larry and Elsie are dedicated 580 WIBW radio listeners. “I’ve been listening ever since I was a kid,” he said.

Several of the farm directors through the years were remembered. Wilber Levering, Harold Ross, Virgil Huseman, George Logan, Rich Hull and today’s team Kelly Lenz, Greg Akagi and Dan Johnson.

“They’ve always been so good with the farm news and market reports. I couldn’t do without WIBW,” Larry declared.

Just as prominently strong in Larry’s reflections are of the Pleasant Valley Gang’s live entertainment every morning on WIBW. “Edmund Denney, Miss Elsa and Bill Kirk were always the highlight as we were eating breakfast,” he contended.

“What are the rest of the words to that song they sang? ‘Yeah you know I’m a tomcat. And I’m scratching around in your windowpane.’ It was our favorite, but I just can’t remember the rest of the words. Can you figure those out for me?” Larry wondered.

The “Gang,” Denney, vocals and guitar; Kirk, accordion; and Miss Elsa, organ, were live on WIBW from the 1940s through the mid-1980s.

“We still wake up every morning to the Wall Street Report, then the Ag Roundup,” Larry and Elsie appreciated.

The most congenial farm couple have their reservations in and will be at the Farm Profit Seminar in Alma Wednesday evening, Feb. 6.

Everybody else can come too for supper, visiting with 31 sponsors at their booths and hearing the educational, always entertaining farm management panelists.

It’s important to call Karaline Mayer at the Wabaunsee County Extension Office 785-765-3821 to guarantee supper count.

Sponsorships with commercials and booths are available by calling 785-228-7259.


Richmond Farm Couple Still Going Strong Through Changes In Agriculture Industry

“We sold the farm, but still live here; that was part of the agreement.”

Larry and Elsie MacArthur pride in their lives on the farm southwest of Richmond in Franklin County.

“I’m 81, and Elsie’s 78,” Larry continued. “We’ve slowed down. You’d have to say pretty much retired, getting about that time.”

Most proud of his lifetime profession, a farmer, MacArthur has sure seen transition in the business.

“I remember helping Dad shuck corn by hand when he was farming near Belvue,” Larry smiled fondly. “I’d get to drive the horse and wagon to the field on that bottomland Kaw Valley farm. Then the horse knew when to stop and go upon command.”

When corn pickers came into use, there were always a few small ears and stubs left behind. “I’d help Dad pick them up and use money from that for an Outdoor Life subscription. We both liked the magazine,” MacArthur reflected.

His dad won the corn yield contest one year. “I think that was 1947. It seems like he may have had 70 bushels an acre, uncertain, still would have been a lot back then. I don’t know what seed cost, but not much compared to nowadays,” Larry noted.

Actually, Larry’s grandfather grew up in the Flint Hills, had cattle operations. “Dad thought crop production was better and moved to Pottawatomie County,” MacArthur said.

Still, cattle looked profitable to Larry’s dad at one point. “He bought feeder calves high, they gained well, but the market went down, and he sold them low,” MacArthur remembered.

“It was the same experience my grandfather had,” Larry continued. “Their calves broke even, didn’t lose necessarily, but they both could have sold the grain instead and made a profit.”

Larry and Elsie MacArthur have retired from fulltime agriculture operations but still live in their farm home near Richmond. “We keep busy walking every day, looking at the neighbor’s crops. Farmers all of our life, and always interested in the business. It’s in our hearts,” Larry said.

That made a lifetime impression on Larry. “I’ve never been in the cattle business, always stuck to crop production,” he said.

The family farming operation moved to south of Ottawa in Franklin County during Larry’s teenage years.

Earning a scholarship to attend Ottawa University, MacArthur envisioned being an engineer designing roads and bridges. “I had to take a whole bunch of tests, and more tests,” Larry recalled with a frown. “There were lots of math questions, and I just didn’t do very well on them.

“The college professor said he appreciated my ambition, but being an engineer pretty much required making calculations,” MacArthur reflected. “He said it’d be pretty hard for me to be a successful engineer. I was already a farmer, so that’s what I did, been farming all of my life.

“Now, Elsie and I’ve farmed this place near Richmond since we got married,” he tallied.

That’s been more than four decades.

“It’s a half section,” Larry said. “We grew wheat, corn, soybeans; tried milo but it was itchy like oats, so got away from that.”

Actually about 220 acres of crop ground, with some pasture land put up as hay. “Essentially a combination farm, including CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) acres now,” MacArthur said.

Closely monitoring prices, some grain would typically be sold at harvest, with additional put in the bin. “It’s always been difficult to know how to market, when to sell, or store,” Larry admitted.

A fulltime farmer, Larry said, “Oh, I’d take an odd job to help somebody sometimes, but basically my own farming. I did hire custom workers occasionally, during harvest and the like.”

As technology changed MacArthur made transitions as well. “I always had lots of equipment; was probably overpowered with tractors,” he evaluated. “Had John Deere’s, 4010, 4020, 4415 and 5020; the farmer who bought the land wanted the 5020, so I sold it.”

Most of the modern equipment line remains under MacArthurs’ ownership. “I’ve sold some pieces, and I’ll sell more if somebody comes along and makes a good offer,” Larry said.

The MacArthurs have a daughter and two granddaughters. “Elsie has always been a farm housewife,” Larry credited. “She enjoys it, is a good cook and I like to eat. Elsie bakes bread, cinnamon rolls, and does quite a bit of canning.

“She’s always had a garden, grows a lot of our food. I help out with the hoeing sometimes,” MacArthur grinned.

“Elsie really has a knack for sweet potatoes, which come to find out are one of the most nutritious foods. Better than Irish potatoes, less carbohydrates which can cause high blood pressure, I guess. I really like sweet potatoes now too,” he added.

When the couple had an opportunity to sell the farm ground, they insisted they had to keep their home.

“We hear about farm couples who retire, move to town and often don’t live long. We didn’t want to be like that,” Larry said. “This works well for us. We try to walk from half-a-mile to two miles every day.”

Always hand in hand strong affection most apparent. “Walking helps keep us spry and we can check on the crops in the area while we’re at it,” he continued. “There’s lot of good scenery around here to enjoy. The neighbor across the road raises pheasants. We like to watch them, especially when one gets out and comes to visit.”

Larry had a computer. “I learned how to us it, but then the bill went up, and I canceled. I depend on newspapers and radio for my news,” he said.

In the past dozen years, the MacArthurs have only missed one WIBW Farm Profit Seminar. “It doesn’t matter where they are we go, but the snow kept us home that time,” he said.

Always early to rise, the MacArthurs tune in to 580 WIBW. “The Wall Street report at 4:10, is followed by the Ag Roundup. We wake up to listen to them,” Larry said.

They’ll be at the Farm Profit Seminar in Alma Wednesday evening, Feb. 6.


Keys To Agriculture Success During Trying Times Offered At Farm Profit Seminar In Alma

“What’s the future for agriculture in the weeks, months and year ahead?”

Educated forecasts answering that forever puzzling question will be highlighted Wednesday evening, Feb. 6, at Alma.

Mary Knapp

“It’s the first 2019 Farm Profit Seminar sponsored by 580 WIBW featuring three panelists,” announced Greg Akagi, WIBW farm director.

The no-charge program is in cooperation with the Wabaunsee County Extension Council served by Karaline Mayer, agriculture and resources agent.

Parry Briggs

At the Holy Family Catholic Parish, First and Kansas, activities kick off at 5:30. More than two dozen sponsors will have booths set up to offer services and visit with the farmers in attendance.

They’re also hosts for the complimentary country supper at 6 o’clock, with reservations required so there’ll be seconds for everyone.

The educational program, typically entertaining as well, begins at 6:45.

Nothing affects agriculture profitability more than the weather and there’s generally zilch farmers can do about it. That is except try to be aware of what’s coming and prepare in every way physically possible. An anticipated regular at Farm Profit Seminars, Mary Knapp, K-State Agronomy climatologist, will present her weather update and outlook.

Tom Leffler

Almost incomprehensible decisions which must be made to operate farms for a profit in this highly technical changing world today. Another return awaited panelist, Parry Briggs, Frontier Farm Credit, will offer insight for taking control of farm business for success.

Commodity production is what farmers do and know best, but many struggle when making decisions selling their hard work toils. A regular on WIBW radio farm programs, Tom Leffler of Leffler Commodities climaxes the evening speakers with farm marketing advice.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available including WIBW agriculture program advertising, live read radio promotions, with seminar attendance, introduction and display. Best contact to line up participation is by calling 785-228-7259.

Supper verification must be made by calling Karaline Mayer at 785-765-3821, or email her at

Additional WIBW Farm Profit Seminars are scheduled for Seneca, February 20; Baldwin City, March 6; and Lyndon, March 20. Details for those programs are also available by calling 785-228-7259.