My name is Eric Durban, and I’m the most recent addition to the Harvest Public Media team. I’m based at High Plains Public Radio in Garden City, Kan., but you’ll see me throughout Kansas reporting on agriculture. Like the rest of our staff, I have a bio in the ‘About’ section if you’re interested in more fun facts.
After spending some time at KCUR in Kansas City, Mo. I set out yesterday for the western side of Kansas. Thanks to a winter storm brewing in the region, my journey across the state was a tale of two halves.
Not until I got past Wichita did the fog clear up and allow me to start seeing the land around me. And I saw plenty of things between Wichita and Garden City that caught my eye. Wind turbines in Pratt and Greensburg stuck out just as clearly as the neighboring grain silos. Outside of Cullison, cotton fields lined a bit of the highway. Cotton seems to be a crop in Kansas that could get lost among the giants of wheat and corn. After some further research, though, I found out that cotton prices are at an all-time high, reaching prices not seen since the Civil War.
I also passed a Meteorite Museum and one of the 8 wonders of Kansas -- the World’s Largest Hand Dug Well, outside Greensburg.
Just outside Ford, Kan., I drove over the Arkansas River. To be more accurate, I drove over the riverbed where the Arkansas had previously flowed. Water, or the lack of it, is a big concern in western Kansas. The dry bed was my first visual of water issues in the region. Harvest Public Media is going to give the water issue a much closer look and try to decipher the ever-evolving situation.
As I got closer to Garden City, the feed centers and cattle ranches became more apparent. I probably saw more cattle from the highway than I’d seen in my entire life. Like water, cattle are also extremely important in this part of the state and region. From feeding and production, to the consumers’ table, there are issues to explore.
I’m excited to finally be out in Garden City and help boost Harvest Public Media’s coverage in Kansas.