Speak for Wheat!

Posted January 28, 2015

Share your story through the Kansas Wheat spokesperson program

Spokespersons learn about wheat research during a tour of the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center.
Do you enjoy sharing your farm story? Are you known for that special baked good in your hometown? Do you love teaching people of all ages about wheat production, nutrition and home baking?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes – consider joining the Speak for Wheat spokesperson program sponsored by Kansas Wheat and participating in educational programs from classroom demonstrations to Wheat Safaris to Ag Day events – not to mention the National Festival of Breads coming in June.

Kansas Wheat is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help spread the good word on wheat to Kansas and the world. Speak for Wheat spokespersons are kept up-to-date on the nutritional importance of wheat foods, related consumer information and preparation of wheat foods in addition to receiving weekly news releases and the latest educational materials available.

“The Speak for Wheat program has been very effective and successful for Kansas wheat producers,” Cindy Falk, Kansas Wheat nutrition educator, said. “Each of our spokespersons has a personal connection to wheat through farming, teaching or a background in nutrition. And all are passionate about sharing those experiences with others.”

Falk speaks from experience as she joined Kansas Wheat as a volunteer spokesperson when the Speak for Wheat program began in 1986. Twelve volunteers were recruited by Sharon Davis, then Kansas Wheat Commission nutritionist, to share information about wheat across the state through food preparation demonstrations and talks on nutrition and wheat marketing. Since then, the program has grown to more than 30 spokespersons.

The Speak for Wheat program is divided into three teams: Nutrition, Field to Table and Production and Research. Spokespeople are reimbursed for demonstration expenses and mileage.  

The Nutrition Team provides wheat nutrition and wheat foods demonstrations to consumers on the goodness of grains in a diet. Audiences include family and consumer science classrooms, 4-H and FFA groups, state extension personnel, health and food fairs and the State Fair.

The Field to Table Team presents programs on how wheat is grown and processed into wheat foods. Audiences include classroom presentations, Ag Day pizza parties, farm days and AgriLand at the State Fair.

The Production and Research Team communicates production and research messages to farm and urban audiences. Audiences include producer meetings, farm show exhibits, wheat plot tours and first purchaser events. This team also monitors perceptions of production agriculture online through article comments, blogs and other responses.

Help your friends, family and neighbors – here and around the world – rediscover their love of wheat or learn something new by contacting Cindy Falk at cfalk@kswheat.com or 785-539-0255 for more information.

Not yet convinced? Check out the experiences of current Speak for Wheat spokespersons Melanie Eddy, Betty KandtJulene DeRouchey and Donna Keyser.

Spokesperson Requirements:

  • Assist in a minimum of six programs or exhibits per year.
  • Attend one training session a year.
  • Use approved Kansas Wheat sources of information.
  • Use own technology equipment.

Kansas Wheat staff will assist with writing and reviewing pre-approved programs as well as providing each spokesperson with a name badge, shirt and business cards.

By Julia Debes