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K-State Research and Extension News

Kansas Profile

Kansas Profile is a weekly radio feature hosted by Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development.  Each is approximately 4-minutes in length.

Send comments, questions or requests for copies of past programs to ksrenews@ksu.edu.

Program Date

Segment Title
and Description

Listen and Download

10-07-22

FLINT HILLS BOOKS Even when business models indicated an independent bookstore might struggle in rural Kansas, a woman with a lifelong interest in books decided to move forward with her plan. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says the bookstore has been successful and is now partnering with a number of other woman-owned businesses to revitalize downtown.

KAN 10-07
09-30-22

AMBER WAVE A new wheat processing project in rural Kansas could end up being the largest wheat protein producer in North America. Currently, 70% of the wheat protein used by U.S. food manufacturers is imported. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says the protein from the wheat flour can be extracted for food and feed use, and the starch can be used for ethanol.

KAN 09-30
09-23-22

TWO LITTLE GOATS “Necessity is the mother of invention” is a well-known proverb. Simply put, it means that the primary driving force for most new inventions is a need. When a rural Kansas teenager, looking for goat milk soap to help her complexion, was unable to find any locally, she used her 4-H goat project to produce it herself. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says the goat milk soap worked so well that she started selling it to others and used the entrepreneurial project to win first place in a Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge hosted in her county.

KAN 09-23
09-16-22

La DOW’S MARKETA rural grocery store is often tied to the success of a community. However, when one closes it can be difficult to find new owners. Sometimes, according to Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, it boils down to timing. He says a couple were looking for a retail outlet for their specialty pork business when their local grocery store suddenly closed. Using a grant from the Healthy Food Financing Initiative and assistance from the Rural Grocery Initiative, they purchased the store and remodel it to support their meat business as well as continue to serve the community.

KAN 09-16
09-09-22

R FAMILY FARMS Kaden Roush was active in the swine project in 4-H and developed a knack for livestock judging. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says his experience as a collegiate livestock judge helped him develop ideas about how to produce high quality pork for specialty markets. Now, Kaden and his wife Emily are putting those ideas into practice on their family hog farm.

KAN 09-09
09-02-22

BLACKBEAR BOSIN– ARTISTA Wichita artist of Comanche and Kiowa descent had a remarkable career. In addition to developing an internationally recognized career as an artist, Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says one of his most visible creations was the magnificent sculpture honoring the native American history of Kansas – known as the Keeper of the Plains.

KAN 09-02
08-26-22

DIRCK HOAGLAND– BLACK HEREFORDSDirck Hoagland’s parents partnered with a friend to develop a breed of black Herefords, eventually founding the American Black Hereford Association and registry. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says Dirck and his wife, Natalie, are continuing and expanding on that tradition, with hopes of passing it on to another generation of their family.

KAN 08-26
08-19-22

J&N RANCH”Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a common saying. In business, diversification is often the key to success. That’s proving to be a successful business practice for a rural Kansas ranch. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says this innovative family has diversified into multiple segments of the industry. He says the ranch has a cattle feeder, a timber producer, a crop farmer, a stocker cattle grower and a beef seedstock producer.

KAN 08-19
08-12-22

HEARTLAND GAME BIRDS When you grew up pheasant hunting with friends and think the opening weekend of pheasant season is better than Christmas, owning and operating a pheasant business makes perfect sense. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says this rural Kansas business raises thousands of pheasants, leases farmground for hunting, provides guided hunts, and even opened a hunting lodge. He says the business aims to provide customers with the best upland hunting experience the Heartland has to offer.

KAN 08-12
08-05-22

PIVOTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS The vision of the founder and CEO of a non-profit organization equipped with a fitness center, resource center and physical therapy clinic is to build stronger rural communities physically, mentally and emotionally across all age groups. As a non-profit organization, Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says they can provide free services to the uninsured and indigent patient populations.

KAN 08-05
07-29-22

MARMATON MARKET – It often takes energy, initiative and “out-of-the-box” thinking to keep rural grocery stores open and financially successful. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says a rural grocery store in southeast Kansas has been re-energized with the help of volunteers, K-State’s Rural Grocery Initiative and others.

KAN 07-29
07-22-22

ASTRONAUT RON EVANS For a youth from rural northwest Kansas, touring a naval air station as part of his Navy ROTC commitment sparked an interest in becoming a naval aviator. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says he not only became a successful pilot, he became an astronaut and played a record-setting role in the United States’ final manned flight to the moon.

KAN 07-22
07-15-22

LEARNING CROSS CHILD CARE There’s magic in a smile, especially a young child’s smile. After observing an inter-generational childcare facility in southern Kansas, Brett Schmidt was inspired to open a similar facility in Hays. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says the facility allows children to share space and interact with seniors – and it’s proving to be beneficial for both the children and the seniors.

KAN 07-15
07-08-22

RESURRECTION VINEYARD After returning to the family’s dairy farm following a distinguished military career, Allen Schmidt listened to his son’s suggestion to turn it into a winery. They opened as a commercial operation in 2017 and are producing wine in the former dairy facilities and revitalizing the family farm. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says they offer five dry wines and seven sweet wines which are available online and through local stores.

KAN 07-08
07-01-22

HUMANITIES KANSAS For 50 years, an organization in Kansas has worked to enhance the humanities in communities across Kansas. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says the executive director of Humanities Kansas, Julie Mulvihill, became enchanted and inspired by the humanities as a child in Kansas. Now, her organization is promoting the humanities to new generations of Kansans.

KAN 07-01
06-24-22

DYNAMICS DISCS– PART 2Last week, we learned about how one man’s passion for disc golf became a successful business in rural Kansas, selling products across the nation and sponsoring tournaments. This week, Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, has the story of another passionate disc golfer who joined the company in 2016 and moved up through the ranks to become president in 2021. The company is doing more than selling discs and merchandise, it’s also helping the community thrive.

KAN 06-24
06-17-22

DYNAMIC DISCS– (PART 1)For one student at Emporia State, discovering the fun of playing disc golf was just the beginning of his interest in the sport. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says it all started with labeling and dyeing discs different colors and selling them through eBay. Now, this passion for disc golf has become a successful business, selling products across the nation and sponsoring tournaments.

KAN 06-17
06-10-22

SANTA Fe TRAIL ASSOCIATION While a student at Washburn University, a present-day historian and writer became enamored of western history. She is now leading the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says more of the trail is found in Kansas than any other state. He traces the history of the Santa Fe Trail and the efforts underway to commemorate its bicentennial.

KAN 06-10
06-03-22

RENATA’S GARDEN Whether it’s food from the local grocery store or clothes, furniture and other merchandise from a national retailer or company, we’re increasingly dealing with businesses willing to come to us. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, introduces us to a business located in a retrofitted old school bus that sells plants on a mobile basis across south central Kansas.

KAN 06-03
05-27-22

HARVEY KING KNIVES Hunters know the importance of a good knife. In fact, they have an old saying: the gun does the work for 30 seconds, but the knife does the work for 2-to-3 hours. In other words, a hunting knife is used extensively, so it’s important to have a good one. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, introduces us to a rural Kansas man who started making his own handcrafted knives and then turned it into a business. Those knives are now being sold from coast-to-coast.

KAN 05-27
05-20-22

BOOTH CREEK WAGYU When a Manhattan businessman ate some of his uncle’s Wagyu beef, he thought it was wonderful – and a great business opportunity. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says this entrepreneur has launched an integrated Wagyu beef operation of his own, from genetics and production all the way through to processing, sales and distribution. And, it’s all being done in rural Kansas.

KAN 05-20
05-13-22

HYS FILLING STATION – YATES CENTERA café in rural Kansas has some people wondering whether it’s a place to eat or a place to fill up their vehicle. That’s because an antique gas pump sits out front and the café has an automotive theme. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says it’s the homemade food that’s drawing customers to this café from across the region and beyond.

KAN 05-13
05-06-22

“TELEPRESENCE ROBOTS” –In what appears to be something straight from “The Jetsons” cartoon, K-State’s Rural Education Center has used a grant to deploy innovative mobile “telepresence robots” to several schools across the state. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says these robots enable students to connect with fellow students and a teacher in another classroom miles away.

KAN 05-06
04-29-22

JILL ZIMMERMAN– KARL PROGRAMThe Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership program, or KARL for short, has provided a two-year, privately-funded leadership development experience for young leaders in rural Kansas for more than 30 years. In addition to educational tours across Kansas, class members participate in educational tours in Washington DC and overseas. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says the most recent class went to the United Arab Emirates.

KAN 04-29
04-22-22

RURALPRENEURS IN LINCOLN A husband and wife in rural Kansas are ruralpreneurs – entrepreneurs who have taken on multiple projects in their small town. According to Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, the couple are involved in the family farm equipment supply business that has expanded to specialize in hay equipment, augmented by an auto parts store. They also bought and renovated two downtown businesses. One is now a coffee shop/Airbnb and the other houses MarCon Pies.

KAN 04-22
04-15-22

FLY BOY BREWERY AND EATS The owners of an airplane-themed brewery and restaurant in rural Kansas are proving that you can be successful by offering a variety of made-from-scratch main dishes and house taps – or prop washes. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says this brewery and restaurant is thriving in a town of only 297 people – which makes it the state’s smallest town with an active brewery.

KAN 04-15
04-08-22

MANHATTAN CHIEF THUNDER It takes talent, hard work and dedication to become a championship team. It also takes teamwork. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, spotlights a rural Kansas coach who has led his team to four straight national championships at the Division 2 Christian Homeschool Association Tournament. He says this coach credits the players, not himself, for the national championships.

KAN 04-08
04-01-22

INA ALERT– ELLINWOODA rural Kansas company has grown from one person building something in their garage to 46 employees. The company’s product lines include texting software, surveillance camera systems, “smart door” controls, nurse calling, VOIP phone systems, computer hardware, and private LTE networks. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says the business has grown by servicing rural communities with a need for technology.

KAN 04-01
03-25-22

GOOD FARM – SPECIALTY PORKWhen the hog market crashed in 1998, a pork producing family in Kansas faced a difficult decision…keep doing what they were good at or try something new.  Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says they contacted a K-State professor and he encouraged them to keep raising hogs. He also connected them with a startup company that was sourcing heritage breed products for upscale urban restaurants, primarily on the east and west coasts. That partnership is still going strong and continues to serve a niche market of urban consumers.

KAN 03-25
03-18-22

PAWNEE ROCK EASTER PAGEANT In 1936, the ministerial alliance in the rural community of Pawnee Rock decided to put on an outdoor performance of an Easter play as an Easter Sunday sunrise pageant. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says using the actual Pawnee Rock as the natural backdrop for the play made this performance unlike any other and it quickly became a community tradition.

KAN 03-18
03-11-22

C CROSS CUSTOM WELDING – A self-taught welder has taken his passion for welding and fabrication to create a business that makes custom-built products, including specialized farm equipment, gate personalization, custom art and more. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says he and his wife create products for government clients, rock quarries, parks, farms and ranches, industrial clients, and their friends and neighbors.

KAN 03-11
03-04-22

AUDREY RUPP– HORSETHIEF RESERVOIRHorseThief Reservoir, constructed in 2009, is the largest body of water in southwest Kansas, consisting of 450 acres of water in 1,600 acres of prairie. Thousands of outdoor recreation enthusiasts come to HorseThief Reservoir each year. There are 54 camping sites with utilities, primitive camping sites all over and even five yurts.

KAN 03-04
02-25-22

MJE LLC– MONTEZUMAA rural Kansas excavation business that started with a tractor and just one pull-type earth scraper has grown into a business with more than 200 employees and 350 pieces of equipment. According to Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, this earth-moving business has added a livestock equipment line that sends products coast to coast and beyond.

KAN 02-25
02-18-22

DONNA KRUG– BICYCLE TRAILWhen you have tandem bicycled in each of the 48 U.S. contiguous states, it’s probably no surprise that your name surfaces when a national bicycling trail organization needs help with a local project. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says this tandem bicycling team worked to reroute a bike trail through their hometown of Great Bend and help develop a bike park which has hosted visitors from across the nation and beyond.

KAN 02-18
02-11-22

DONNA KRUG– COTTONWOOD DISTRICTStaff retreats are typically held in a bigger city with lots of venue choices. However, the district director for the K-State Research and Extension Cottonwood District chose to go in the opposite direction. She holds their retreats in smaller towns within Barton and Ellis Counties. In addition to the retreat, the staff takes time to explore each town and enjoy some kind of fun activity.

KAN 02-11
02-04-22

CARRICO LEATHERWORKS A fourth generation farmer grew up making leather products he could use as a cowboy and then as a Civil War re-enactor. Now he creates period leather goods used by Hollywood actors and others across the United States and beyond. He specializes in authentic Cavalry equipment and old west gear, including making McLellan and Hope saddles, military belts and holsters, western belts and holsters, and horse and saddle accoutrements.

KAN 02-04
01-28-22

KRAFFT BEEF– PHILLIPSBURGIf you want to skip a trip to the grocery store to buy beef, you can place an order online from a family-owned business in rural Kansas that sells its products across the country. They’re using  direct-to-consumer marketing to add value to their family beef operation and to connect with customers through social media, such as Instagram and Facebook – because that’s where the next generation of consumers are.

KAN 01-28
01-21-22

THE COMEAUS– BRANT’S MARKETIt’s common to be disappointed when one of your favorite retailers closes their business. However, it’s less common to purchase that business. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says that’s exactly what a couple in rural Kansas did – purchase the market they frequented for authentic German sausage and other meats.

KAN 01-21
01-14-22

HISTORIC LaSADA LODGEWhat can a couple do when one is an avid outdoorsman wanting to find a career involving hunting and fishing and the other wants to have an events center? How about purchase and upgrade a historic lodge in rural Kansas. Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, says the lodge has an events center, lodging, multiple hunting options and hunting dogs that attract visitors across the nation.

KAN 01-14
01-07-22

JOE SEDLACEK– THE JOE CHUTEWhen a longhorn cattle operator needed better equipment to handle his herd while giving them shots and other treatment, he designed his own working chute. It worked so well others wanted one too and it became a business that now ships chutes to ranches and zoos across the nation and beyond.

KAN 01-07