August 15, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm CDT| Free
Join us every other Monday in August for farm tours, lunch, networking, and an educational session.
No cost to participate! Aspiring, beginning and veteran farmers encouraged to attend.
MORNING FARM TOURS
For those wishing to ride in a van, we will meet at the Ag Hall of Fame. The vans will depart at 8:15 a.m., go to all stops, and return to Ag Hall of Fame at approximately 12:30 p.m.
If you prefer to drive on your own, meet us at the Ag Hall of Fame by 8:15 a.m. or April Valley Farm at 9:00 a.m.
April Valley Farm 18432 MT. Olivet RD Leavenworth, KS 66048
April Valley Farms is a family diversified farming operation raising Registered Angus Cattle, crossbred hogs and crops of wheat, corn, soybeans, and hay in Leavenworth County. The name April Valley Farms was chosen by Ed and Alice Theis when they married in 1957. April, the month the 160 acre farm was purchased and the location in the Salt Creek Valley area, was the appropriate name to help identify the registered angus raised.
The farming operation started with 12 registered angus females and 6 bred gilts that were the accumulation of 4-H projects. Only wheat, corn, and hay were harvested the first couple of years. Later milo (grain sorghum) and soybeans were added. At first the main source of income was the farrow to finish swine operation that started with the farrowing of the 6 bred gilts in an old chicken house that was converted into 6 pens. Cattle were sold individually on the farm.
The five Theis children helped the growth and promotion of the the farm by showing cattle, hogs, and crops at county, state and national competitions. Grandchildren still carry on this tradition. Mark, Larry, and Jerry, three of the sons, and their families remain part of the farming operation. Joe is a plant manager for Cargill in Pennsylvania and Paula is the office manager for Julius Kaaz Construction in Leavenworth. Besides the livestock operation, Mark has welding skills, Larry is a mechanic, and Jerry is a veterinary, all which is needed in our operation for machinery repairs and livestock program.
In 1976 the farrow to finish swine operation expanded with a 24-sow farrowing building with a caged nursery and a heated floor nursery. This allowed the farrowing of sows every four weeks. A hoop building which houses 60 pound to market weight hogs has been built and a second one is currently under construction. The farm has an annual Show Pig sale held on the farm for 4-H and FFA projects.
When Jerry graduated from Kansas State University, we went to a total AI breeding program and some embryo transfers. The cow-calf program was expanded by keeping our own replacement females. The AI program has allowed us to use the top Angus bulls.
Recently an under-roof heated-building with a new cattle handling chute, equipped with an electronic scales, runway and tub handling facility, an office for veterinary work, an area to wash the cattle and a few pens for calving and for the show cattle was completed.
For the past 20 years an annual bull and female auction has been held at the St. Joseph, MissouriStock Yards on the third Sunday of March.
Over the years farming acres have increased both by purchasing land and renting farmland from others. Some corn is harvested for silage and some is stored on the farm for livestock feed. The remaining corn and other crops are sold.
Learn more about April Valley Farm here.
Schwinn Produce Farm 17624 Santa Fe Trail, Leavenworth, KS 66048
Many additions have been made to Schwinn Produce Farm since the first sweet corn was sold under a tree over 30 years ago. Now a market building houses the sales on the farm. Every Wednesday and Saturday, Schwinn Produce Farm sells fresh produce at the Leavenworth Farmers Market. A greenhouse and two hoop houses have been put into place where transplants are started and bedding plants are sold to help things get started in early spring. Pick-your-own strawberry patch has been added for families to enjoy in the springtime. Pick-your-own pumpkin patch and hayrides bring many smiles to families in the fall as they search for the “best” jack-o-lantern pumpkin. The farm has developed its barn into an events facility specializing in weddings. Learn more about Schwinn Produce Farm here.
Prairie Garden Farm 14811 Hollingsworth Rd, Basehor, Kansas 66007
After retiring from the service, Don and Loretta Craig settled in Kansas and started Prairie Garden Farm. The Craigs’ goal is to develop a diversified homestead using sustainable, environmentally conscious and humane methods. Prairie Garden Farm consists of a small herd of beef cattle, a flock of laying hens, a menagerie of other fowl, honey bees, a herb garden, a large Victory Garden, and fruit trees. In 2016, Prairie Garden Farm was awarded a grant through the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund. The grant will aid in the installation of a U-pick Blackberry operation, which will be planted in the spring of 2017. Learn more about Prairie Garden Farm here.
LOCAL FOODS LUNCH
By 12:30 PM, we return to the National Ag Hall of Fame for lunch and networking. Our local foods lunch is generously sponsored by Frontier Farm Credit.
Following our meal, Dawn Gabel shares the story behind the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame and we’ll learn about opportunities with Farm Fresh HQ, a food hub recently launched in NE Kansas.
The day’s educational session focuses on developing effective grant writing strategies.
Grant Writing Don Craig, recipient of a Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship
Do’s and Don’ts of Grant Writing Kerri Ebert, KS-SARE and KCSAAC, and Mercedes Taylor-Puckett, Kansas Farmers Union Foundation
Workshop descriptions coming soon.
Thanks to Farm Aid and Frontier Farm Credit, there is no cost to attend the Summer Fun Farm Tour Series!
We do need you to RSVP by AUGUST 11 to ensure lunch will be available for you.
To reserve your spot for the August 15 event, use the RSVP box in the sidebar or call Mary Howell at 785.562.8726.
August 1 event information/RSVP available here.
August 29 event information/RSVP available here.
Kansas Farmers Union, Farmer Veteran Coalition of Kansas,Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, and Kansas AgrAbility are partnering to present the Summer Fun Farm Tour Series.
The series is made possible through funding from Farm Aid. Learn more about the important work of Farm Aid here!
The local foods lunch is generously sponsored by Frontier Farm Credit. Learn more about Farm Credit’s beginning farmer opportunities here.