Thursday, February 28, 2013

Visit to Snow Country (Could be a lot of places)

Well snow country could be a lot of places lately, but this was up in NW Kansas.  And I doubt any place appreciated the snow as much as the growers up here.  This is drought country, and the snow was very welcome here, but much more snow and rain are needed.  Here is a wheat field near Oakley, Kansas that received around 8 inchees of snow.  Not a lot of water, but it's a start.  At least it got people talking about topdress.
One of the stops on this fertilizer mission was to meet with one of the Liquid dealers up here, and that was Frontier Ag.  They have quite a few locations and their salesmen came to the Oakley office where Sales Account Manager Brian and I presented product information and research results applicable to them.  I had not worked with them before, but it was a good group and they received some usable information to help growers in their areas.  (No really, they are paying attention.)
The next morning we drove over to Goodland where there is a Liquid fertilizer factory.  Now I used to go to Goodland quite a bit back in the day.  Like when one of our favorites, Area Manager Bill Ashton was a Liquid pioneer there along with Judy his wife. That was long before this facility was built.  In fact, I can't remember when the last time I was there. But anyway, I had a car and followed Brian into the site.  I knew what it looked like as I had seen pictures.  I took this one as I approached the site.  There were trucks lined up to get loaded up with Liquid fertilizer.
Once inside Brian and I had a chance to visit with some of the Goodland crew.  Here is my former golfing partner Teresa (that's another story), site manager Robert, and Dani, whom I just met.  They said they were happy to see us.  They are smiling after all.
Robert gave us a tour of the outside.  (Don't worry Dale, I didn't see any of the secret stuff.) On the left are the three new half-million (that sounds like so much more than 500,000) gallon tanks, and the ground is being prepared for another one behind these. I think there should be a big "Go visit the NCRS" painted on the sides of those big tanks.  Or at least something Liquidy. While most of the trucks are loaded on the inside of the building, during busy times they also load on the outside there by the tracks.  Robert said they put up that enclosure on the right as it was often so windy that there was danger of the loading person being blown off the top of the tanker.  I think magnetic boots would have been cheaper. 
When we got back to the front of the building after the tour, there was a familiar yellow semi-tractor and tanker parked waiting to get loaded.  Could it be???  It was!  There was Danny Barker.  I had not seen him for several years.  I've known Danny since he had his fertilizer and aerial and ground spray business in nearby Brewster.  And that was quite a while back.  Since then Danny has been running a trucking business, still doing some flying, and selling fertilizer down in West Texas.  And lives in Tulsa.  He has never been one to sit around.  It was great to see him again.  I do have some entertaining old pictures of Danny doing the hula in Kauai, and his story about climbing the Sleeping Giant mountain in the rain there is a classic.  Oh, and I also saw Area Manager Roger Mauck of Hoxie Flying Service also in to pick up a truck load of fertilizer.  I didn't pester him for a picture, but it was good to see him.
After that we drove up to Bird City for a grower meeting at one of the Frontier Ag stores.  There was a good turnout and the information presented was outstanding as usual.  Now if we could just have a year of at least some rain to get a good use of AgroLiquid in the dryland fields and to make it easier in the pivot fields.  I drove North from there and saw more fields of snow and kept my fingers crossed.
Somewhere North of Bird City there was this interesting array of something.  So of course I stopped.  (This is why I often like to drive myself.  If someone is going to go to the trouble to make this, then I feel obligated to have a look.)  Well as the sign on the left says, it seems that near this spot back in 1867-1868 there was a cavalry camp and General George Custer was stationed out here and used the camp.  Probably should have stayed.  It didn't say when this metal commemoration was erected, but it looked old.  If it's not an antique now, it will be someday.
And then just over the Nebraska border is the town of Benkelman.  Well I did not know that this was where Ward Bond was born. But he was, in 1903.  I like it when small towns put up stuff like this.   Now I am old enough to know who Ward Bond is, but many today may not.  He was as actor who was in lots of movies, but rarely as the lead.  He was mainly in cowboy movies.  He went out to California and played football at USC where met another future cowboy star who became known as John Wayne.  I didn't know he played football too.  Ward was in 23 movies with John Wayne.  But to me his most memorable role was as Bert the Cop in "It's a Wonderful Life."  If you haven't seen that movie at least once then you may as well move to Tibet.
I do love seeing what there is out there across rural America.  Just be prepared to stop if you are riding with me and we drive by something cool.  (I'm sure Brian still remembers when I made him stop years ago to see the World's Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas.  Oh yes, and I made Galynn go see the World's Largest Hand-Dug Well in Greensburg.)  Kansas is really cool.  And they probably have other interesting stuff besides twine and a hole!