Suburban family goes rural

Posted July 10, 2014

Farming is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, less than one percent of Americans are farmers that dot the rural landscape. So, many Americans don’t have the opportunity to get “farm” dirty. But, the Kansas Farm Food Connection changed that for one suburban family.

Photo: Wilson family with Justin Knopf in wheat field.
On June 28, 2014, Fraser, Dana and Rebecca Wilson, of Roeland Park in Johnson County,  explored two Kansas farms as winners of the “Bringing Mom to the Farm: Get the Dirt” event. The Wilsons made their way to meet with the Knopf family of Knopf Family Farms near Gypsum in order to learn about Kansas crops. 

Eight-year-old Rebecca Wilson had her first opportunity to ride in a combine around the farm with Justin Knopf, a Kansas Association of Wheat Growers board member. The Knopf farm had received rain right before the visit, so no harvesting was done that day, but the experience for the Wilsons was still rewarding. 

“I’m from Kansas; I live in Kansas. And now I love Kansas even more, knowing what these farmers do for us each and every day,” said Dana. “They’re ambassadors for the state and Kansas has one of the best products you can find anywhere. Not very many people realize what goes into these farms, how hard these families work and the science behind it all.” 

While on the farm, the Wilsons were able to take a closer look at Kansas’ famous amber waves of grain and learn about the importance of wheat, the history of Knopf Family Farms, partake in some pedal tractor races and even had some photo opportunities inside the giant combine tire. 

Marsha Boswell, director of communications at Kansas Wheat, met the Wilsons at the Knopf farm.

“The Wilson family came to the farm ready to learn more about where their food comes from,” said Boswell. “They asked some wonderful questions and seemed to really enjoy themselves. Dana assured us that she would share what she learned with others.”

The Wilsons also visited Tiffany Cattle Co, Inc. farm in Herington to learn about the Kansas livestock industry. There they got nose to nose with some Kansas cattle, learned a little about the diet of the animals and even helped out with the morning feeding. 

The “Bringing Mom to the Farm” event is one of the first hosted by KFFC, a Manhattan, Kan.-based coalition of eight farm organizations formed to connect consumers and the people who grow their food, said Meagan Cramer, co-director of communications at the Kansas Farm Bureau. The coalition members include Kansas Wheat, Kansas Corn Growers Association, Midwest Dairy, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Pork Association, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Soybean and Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission.

Justin Knopf believes that the event had a strong impact on the Wilsons, and was more than willing to become involved in the event. 

He said, “Lindsey and I thoroughly enjoyed hosting Dana, Fraser and their wonderful daughter Rebecca. As a farmer, I think that’s part of my responsibility, part of stewardship.” 

For more information on the Kansas Farm Food Connection and the “Bringing Mom to the Farm: Get the Dirt” contest, please visit