Kansas Farmers Union to host farm tours in Republic, Marion Counties

9 06 2011

Bartel Farm in Marion County

Herb and Pat Bartel will host an alternative energy tour at their Marion County Farm on Thursday, July 7 at 1:30 p.m. The tour will highlight Solar Energy, Wind Energy and Grass Fed Beef.

Herb and Pat Bartel have installed a 2.4 KW wind turbine and a 2.6 KW solar unit on their Marion County farm.  They also have a solar battery charger for tractors and trucks.

Most months, between the two systems, the Flint Hills Rural Electric Association receives an average of 400 KW from their farm.

REA has a minimum monthly charge of $15, “But, in March,” Herb joked, “we only paid five dollars– but that was because they gave me a ten dollar credit for attending their annual meeting!”

Herb feels strongly that every farm should have 10 KW of wind or solar generation and described how, one bright winter day, when it was zero degrees, the solar unit generated its highest output, 2385 watts.

Herb and Pat find great satisfaction in being net renewable energy producers.

Also featured on this tour will be their joint grass-fed beef program with Jason Schmidt.

Using a 90 percent watershed grant, Herb will be planting cropland to grass to help protect Marion Reservoir from sedimentation.

For now, Jason is finishing the beef on a volunteer wheat and red clover forage mix, using rotational grazing to maximize the nutrition for the calves.

Join us for an enjoyable afternoon at Herb and Pat Bartels’ farm at 1220 220th Street, Hillsboro and Bartels’ phone number is 620-947-5758.

To get there from the east on Hwy 56 (starting from the exit to Marion at the John Deere dealership): continue west on Hwy. 56 eight miles to Kanza (paved road), 2 miles north on Kanza, ¼ mile east on 220th Street. From the west on Hwy 56 (Hillsboro’s Midway Motors): drive 2 miles east to Kanza, 2 miles north on Kanza, ¼ mile east on 220th Street. It’s the only farm on the section.

We look forward to seeing you at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, July 7, 2011. Mid-afternoon refreshments will be served.

Sutton Farm in Republic County

A North Central Kansas Tour will feature three farmers who grow food as their marketable crop and one grass farmer/grazier who markets his forage products on the hoof.   All farms are located in Republic County and are a few miles from each other.

The tour will start at Warren Sutton’s farm, Courtland with registration around 9:30 a.m. and the tour begins at 10 a.m..

Warren believes that he has the only green bean picking machine in the state of Kansas.

The tour will also feature growers Dan Kuhn and Chris Jantzen. Crops grown include green beans, pumpkins, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, salad greens and okra.

We will look at picking, harvest procedures, cleaning, sorting, warehousing and marketing avenues.

These three farms have various growing methods including high tunnel/hoop house structures to extend the growing seasons and offer protection for growing crops.

Depot Market, owned by Dan Kuhn, offers fresh produce and fruit to the local community and travelers on Hwy 36.

Mid afternoon we will switch to learning about forages and grazing at Dale Strickler’s farm.   Dale is a forage specialist and is passionate about plants and grazing. His farm that includes sub-surface drip irrigation, has a wide variety of grasses, legumes and annual forages that create a very nutritious mix for his cow/calf enterprise.

This should be a very educational and enjoyable tour that is open to anyone interested in joining us.

Lunch will be served locally and will be your only cost for the day.   RSVP’s are appreciated to plan for refreshments and food but not required.

Please RSVP and leave Name and #’s at KFU Office 620-241-6630 by July 22, or email kfu.mary@gmail.com

Cary Rivard, the new Kansas Horticulture Specialist and David Coltrain (River Valley Extension District Horticulture Agent for Clay, Cloud, Washington and Republic) have been invited to participate. Bring any questions that you have for these producers and specialists.

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