Faces of Harvest: Bill and Fran Garrison, Miltonvale

Posted July 1, 2013

Bill Garrison from Miltonvale , is a 2nd generation farmer that has been farming wheat for almost 50 years.

“I enjoy what I’m doing and I’m going to continue to do it as long as I’m able,” said Bill.

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Bill and Fran Garrison at their farm in Miltonvale, Kansas.

After college, Bill returned home to the family farm, after realizing that an office job just wasn’t for him. He became the second generation to farm and learned that working with the soil, crops, and cattle was what he loved.

Bill and his wife Fran have two adult sons, Jim and Greg. Both boys like to come back and help during harvest but have found off-farm careers

While the tradition of farming may not be passed on, 4-H is a tradition that 3 generations of the Garrison family celebrate together.

Bill was a ten year 4-H member and he and Fran always enjoyed taking their young boys to 4-H wheat shows. Both sons won top prizes in wheat quality projects when they were 4-H members and they continue to take the grandchildren to 4-H wheat shows.

This is a family tradition that has paid off. Bill and Fran’s oldest grandson Luke, won a 4-H scholarship to help him study chemical engineering at K-State this fall. In addition, their daughter-in-law Lisa has won the national 4-H leader of the year award.

“I really feel that 4-H helps in developing young leaders and it is just amazing what 4-H has done for our young folks,” said Bill.

Bill and Fran are looking forward to completing another wheat harvest together this year. After about 50 years of farming, Bill reflects on how wheat harvest has changed since he began farming.

“It has changed drastically but for the better,” said Bill. “When I started helping my dad when I was in high school, he had a pull type combine with a twelve foot header and you had to adjust the header height with a crank. The grain tank was definitely smaller and it was just an entirely different world.”

As another harvest is about to begin, Bill looks forward to operating the combine, watching the wheat flow into the bin and Fran bringing him lunch out in the field.

Even after a half century of growing wheat, some things just don’t change.