Italian Group Visits Northeast Kansas Farms

By Ken McCauley, Kansas Corn Commissioner
White Cloud, KS

Ken & Mary McCauley of White Cloud hosted a group from Italy who were involved in Agriculture, on June 19 & 20.  The group was led by Anna Trettenero, a farmer (and was the interpreter for the group)—the group included 6 farmers, a professor of Agronomy, an animal nutritionist, and an Italian Government official.  The group was interested in and practice no-till farming.  They were also interested in irrigation techniques that Midwest farmers practice.  Prior to their arrival in Hiawatha they visited farms in South Dakota & businesses in Nebraska.  In Kansas they visited Great Plains Mfg., Agco Inc. and Kansas State University.  Kansas Corn Commission staff Sue Schulte and intern Paige McFarland arranged the group’s tour in this part of Kansas.  From there they traveled to Hiawatha.

They arrived in Hiawatha in the afternoon and checked in to the Hiawatha Lodge.  The group visited the Davis Memorial—they were excited to learn that much of the marble had come from Italy.  Before dinner, the group was thirsty so we traveled to First Street Grill for a “locally produced beer”.  We quickly found the language barriers eased with the universal language of “beer”.  Next stop was our dinner at the Country Cabin where the group enjoyed refreshments on the deck before dinner.  They enjoyed the Cabin’s famous smoked pork chop and rib eye steak and of course some red wine.

Thursday morning the group started out the day at 7 am. for coffee & pastry at the Daily Perk on Oregon St.  Ashleigh did a great job preparing for us–her coffee supplier came and made the espresso and cappuccino coffees taste their best!!  The group was very impressed with Ashleigh, her new restaurant and the friendliness with the local folks who came in and visited with us. 

Our next stop was a visit to Hiawatha Implement to see Larry Roeder’s new building and look at the equipment he had on hand. They also enjoyed the opportunity to buy some John Deere souvenirs!  While there, we had presentations by Andy Pederson on seed trends, and Keith Grimm regarding irrigation.  We then went to the Keith Grimm farm near Morrill for a demonstration of irrigation on his farm. 


The group enjoying a nice lunch at the McCauley Farm in White Cloud, KS.

We journeyed on to the McCauley Farm Shop just before noon and looked at machinery, grain storage and crops in the field. We all enjoyed lunch at Ken & Mary’s house where we ate in the shade under their Maple trees.  The group had fun seeing where and how we live here in Kansas!  Next stop was “Lookout Point” in White Cloud where you can see four states and a great view of the Missouri River valley.  We then went to LifeLine Foods in St. Joseph, MO for a presentation and tour of their facility. 


Kansas Corn Commissioner, Pat Ross, discusses cattle and crops with the Italians.

The final stop of the day was at the Pat & Mary Ross home near Lawrence to see their farm and feedlot.

We finished the day at their hotel near the KC Airport.  The group flew back to their homes in Italy the next day.

The group was very impressed with Hiawatha and the surrounding area, making comments about how nice the city looked and the friendliness of the people they met.  I think that our little communities have much to offer groups like this.  We tend to take our surroundings for granted until we look at things through a strangers’ eyes!!  This group’s visit made me appreciate the things in our own back yard.  


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