So God Made A Farmer


If you are old enough to remember radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, his famous “The Rest of the Story” segments might come to mind. He would begin “Hello, Americans, this is Paul Harvey, stand byyy for Newwws!” and end his segment with “Paul Harvey…good day!”

For many who listened to the radio while traveling or perhaps farmers and ranchers in the fields or pasture, it might have been one of the highlights of their long days spent tending to their farms or livestock. 

One of his speeches titled “So God Made a Farmer” was delivered in 1978 at the Future Farmers of America convention in Kansas City, Mo. Thirty-five years later, his voice was heard once again delivering the same speech during a Dodge Ram commercial during Super Bowl XLVII. 

The speech was a continuation of the Genesis story of creation and began, “On the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer. The speech continues on to describe the life of a farmer, but one excerpt applies to today. It says, “at planting time and harvest season, will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon. Then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another 72 hours. So God made a farmer….”

Why would someone do that? Work that hard day after day, year after year. So this was asked to several farm families in our community, many of whom are second and third generation farmers. ”

 Pat (Ochs) Keller has been a vital part of harvest for over 60 years. She began preparing meals when she was in the seventh grade while her mom, Emogene drove the combine. “I always admired mom because she could do it all!” 

After she and her husband, Chuck, were married, they would take their vacation and come to Kansas to harvest. “Mom had a milking stool in the cab and Ken was only two and would ride with mom all day.” 

She is especially proud of her family as they continue her parents’ legacy, but admits she worries when the storms come, hoping the crops are spared. “Everything cost so much and when I bring a small sack of parts with a bill for $7,000, it breaks my heart, but that’s what they want to do, they love it!” 

Tracking down the second and third generation in the Keller family was a little more of a challenge. Pat’s son Ken had gotten rained out of the wheat field so after attending his son’s baseball game, he was back in the field on a spray rig at 9:30 pm when we had a chance to visit. 

He began to explain his love for agriculture by saying, “I turned 49 years old on the 27th of June and this is probably my 45th harvest!”  His time spent riding in the tractor and combine on a three-legged stool was still fresh in his mind, just like his mother, Pat explained. “I spent every summer on the farm, I don’t know why but I just loved it!”

Ken’s chance to farm came after high school when his grandfather, Bud Ochs’ health was deteriorating. “My dad (Chuck) encouraged me saying, I think you will learn as much the next four years working on the farm with your grandfather as you would in college,” adding, “He knew my passion and love for the farm.” 

He recalls his grandmother (Emogene) driving their C combine and having to stick her arm through the rubber on the side of the cab to engage the separator and at the end of the night, her arm would be black. 

Ken’s wife Denise, is now in the combine and he is amazed by her, working 12-14 hours a day in the field, while still managing her own business. “She enjoys the change in profession for a few weeks in the summer,” said Ken. “Our son Kyler is running grain cart, and son Chase and I run semis, it’s awesome having the kids working with us. 

Chase remembers being in the field harvesting wheat with both his grandfathers, Dale Holdren and Bud Ochs, but mainly just being in the field in general. When Chase was asked why he came back to the family farm, he replied, ”To me, it’s not just a job, it’s a way of life and I’ve always had a strong passion towards it and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do!” 

Jed Simon, son of Janice and the late Don “Duck” Simon, remembers beingwith his father riding on the 95 John Deere combine which had a small window in the cab. He would climb through it and shovel wheat in the corners of the bin of the combine, making more room for grain until the grain cart came by, “It might have been a little dangerous!” 

He came back to the family farm because it’s fun and he likes doing it. He hopes his children develop a good work ethic while spending time on the farm and in the harvest field and to teach them there is good and bad and no guarantees. 

Jed’s brother Justin’s early memories during harvest was waking up at 5:30 am every morning, having breakfast at the Ramble N with his dad, Don, his uncles and cousins, “I remember listening to the local farmers tell how great their yields were compared to others! 

Janice Simon added, “Wheat harvest is a very special time for farmers. I watched my Grandparents-Elmer and Elsie Ploeger, my parents-John and Anna Graber, my in-laws, Cletus and Bert Simon and countless others work their tails off to get to the two week harvest period.  In the good years you see an extra perk in their step and in the rough years you saw new worry lines grow.  I now get to watch my sons Jed and Justin along with their families go through these same emotions.  Many ask why you do it and the only answer I have is it’s in our DNA.  That once a year paycheck pulls us together as a family and everyone steps in to contribute.   So proud to say we are Southwest Kansas Farmers!”

While memories vary from generation to generation, a common denominator is mealtime in the field with the family and crew. A time to laugh about the day’s events, rest and recuperate to continue doing what they love. 



The Never-Ending Harvest Is Ending

It’s mid July and combines, grain carts and campers are loaded up on semis and heading out.   It’s been a long, long harvest. But on Tuesday afternoon, Hamilton County’s harvest is 80 to 90% completed.  It is likely a hard push is coming and... [More]

Sunflower Summer program gives students chance to learn while visiting attractions

  TOPEKA — A new program will help children stay engaged in learning throughout the summer months while spending quality time with family members and friends touring some of Kansas’ greatest attractions – all for free. The Sunflower Summer program,... [More]

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Childcare Resources for Kansans and Providers

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Childcare Resources for Kansans and Providers ~More Kansas families will be eligible for financial assistance; new round of sustainability grants support childcare providers~ TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that, in an effort... [More]


Farm Report

Farm report: Planting spring crops is wrapping up and Hamilton County has started wheat harvest. The high temperatures caused an onslaught of biting flies. The cattle expended energy swatting and stomping them. The stress causes animals to lose weight, get open sores that can... [More]


The KPRA Rodeo Is Back

The Kansas Professional Rodeo Association (KPRA) rodeo has made it’s return to Syracuse after being absent for nearly ten years. The rodeo, sponsored by the Syracuse Saddle Club, was held at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds June 4th and 5th. A hot Friday afternoon cooled... [More]

KDHE amends travel quarantine list

All of Colorado has been removed from the travel quarantine list! TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has amended its travel quarantine list to include the countries of Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Several states... [More]


This Memorial Day, We Remember the Fallen

On a cool cloudy Memorial Day in Hamilton County, the reverence for the fallen was crystal clear.  The morning began with Rotarians quietly raising flags at many area homes and businesses.  If you drove 14 miles to the west on the two lane highway 50 and a mile north... [More]


Where are they now? Retired USMC Sgt. Ralph Shorter

“We don’t talk much about what we saw in Vietnam because it was so terrible.  Then, when we returned to the United States, Americans didn’t want us back either.  They threw urine and feces on us, called us baby killers.  We might as well have... [More]

More News


I'm Still Alive

Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam once said he wrote the lyrics to Alive. - I’m still alive - with sadness and heartache.  When he sang it to the packed stadiums, the audience screamed it back to him with joy. “I’m still alive!”  It struck... [More]

See You At The Fair!

See you at the fair! About 55 kids and 30 families from 4-H and FFA in Hamilton County have worked hard most of the year to get ready for one week of exhibitions and competitions. And with that comes a parade, street dance, demo derby, Ranch rodeo and much more for the community... [More]

Having Fun Yet?

Have you heard that saying, “No one ever said on their deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time working”? Well I am guessing they never met a farmer. I am pretty sure there have been some death bed thoughts that went something like “But I need to get... [More]

Flashes of Inspiration

Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” A dream of mine that has sat on the back burner is to run a half marathon. I have said it so many times I don’t honestly believe it will happen anymore. But driving through... [More]

Fame and Fortune

I’ve decided fame and fortune are not for me.   Growing up I lip synced for hours in my bedroom every rock song from my Elvis Presley eight track tape to Johnny Cash, Molly Hatchet and Judas Priest and Led Zeppelin albums. I dreamed of being a rock star. I would... [More]

What's the lesson?

While rushing to get from here to there, my daughter and I ran out of the house, late again! I yelled for her to hurry up and she was so frazzled that as she put the large orange juice jug back in the refrigerator, she left the lid off and put the bottle back on the shelf laying... [More]

Playing Your Cards Right

You know that old saying “If you play your cards right?” Every day I play three games of three card solitaire. They say it helps with strengthening your mind. The sequence matters. If I play the first red eight I see and the cards I need are behind the second... [More]

Emotionally Paralyzed

Have you ever felt emotionally paralyzed and not sure how to go forward? Panic inside? Fear of the future or fear of being stuck? The world we live in today has lots of opportunities to think what’s the point? So much is out of our control. So much is scary or heading... [More]

More Opinions



HS Track

Head coach Steve Navarro said, “The coaching staff has really enjoyed working with this group of kids this year. They have been putting in hard work despite some less than stellar conditions for practice and meets. We are excited to see what they can do now that we are... [More]



Baseball: The Bulldogs faced the Goodland Cowboys at home on Thursday, April 8, losing game one, 2-22 and game two, 1-17. Head Coach Dustin Doze said the Bulldogs really struggled throwing strikes again and they had too many errors. We need to clean things up if we want to... [More]


Spring Sports Start

One year ago, athletes and coaches were beginning practice for their spring sport, some practicing during spring break, others enjoying the break from school. Soon they found out their break was extended a week, some with great joy, others with apprehension. Then came the unfortunate... [More]



Substate began and ended quickly but these Varsity teams left it all out on the court. In heartbreaking last second baskets, our basketball season was over. The boys lost by two points in the last five seconds and the girls lost by three. A wrap up of the season will come in... [More]



The SHS Bulldogs faced the 4-A Holcomb Longhorns for the final home game of the season, with the varsity teams unable to win. The boys will be the number three seed in first sub state match up at home, Monday, March 1, against the number 6 seed, Stanton County. This will be the... [More]


Junior High Bulldog Basketball

The Syracuse Jr. High basketball season has come to end following the High Plains League Tournament last Saturday. And what a season it was. It began when Head coach Jeff Mathias resigned from basketball due to his wife Tori’s health concerns. “The kids love... [More]



The varsity Bulldogs have finished the annual High Plains League Tournament and now looking toward the rest of the season. They will travel to Johnson to face the Stanton County Trojans Friday, January 29.  Junior Varsity boys and girls will play at 3:45, varsity girls... [More]



Syracuse High School varsity basketball teams began the High Plain League Tournament this week. The Monday Tuesday games were hosted by Stanton County and the Thursday, Friday Saturday games will be in Syracuse.  According to Athletics Director, Dan Delgado, this is the... [More]

More Sports



John Ronald “Ron” Squire

John Ronald “Ron” Squire, age 87, passed away Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, Kansas. He was born July 3, 1934 in Syracuse, Kansas the son of William A. and Rosa (Fulton) Squire. Ron graduated from Syracuse High School. After high... [More]


Lola Mae Tomson

  Lola Mae Tomson May 5, 1934 – June 30, 2021 Lola was born on May 5, 1934 to Nellie Oxley Walker and Joseph Herbert Walker in Cleo Springs, Oklahoma and died on June 30, 2021 in Fairview, Oklahoma.  Lola graduated from Cleo Springs High School in 1952.... [More]

Robert F. Crittenden

A Celebration of Life for Lamar resident Robert F. Crittenden, better known as “Bob” to his family and friends will be held at 11:00 AM, Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at the Peacock Family Chapel with Pastor Paul Floyd of the Lamar High Plains Fellowship Church officiating.... [More]


Troy Logan Cartwright

Troy Logan Cartwright, age 60, passed away at his home in Syracuse, Kansas on April 13, 2021. He was born on December 12, 1960 in Tribune, Kansas, the son of Lowell Cartwright and Jan (Peterson) Cartwright. Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 11:00... [More]

Salvador Orta Carrillo

Mass of Christian Burial for Holly, Colorado resident,Salvador Orta Carrillo will be held at 10:00 a.m. and Rosary at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 18, 2021, at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Holly, Colorado.  Interment will follow in the Holly Cemetery.  Visitation... [More]

Ted Sitts

Funeral Services for Holly, Colorado resident, Ted Sitts will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel with Pastor Paul Floyd officiating.  Interment will follow in the Holly Cemetery.  Visitation for Ted will be held from... [More]

Gwendolyn Lucille Woods Reid

On Wednesday May 26, 2021, Gwendolyn Lucille Woods Reid, Homemaker, Mother of four, Bookkeeper, Golfer, and Civic Leader passionate about education, passed away following a stroke at the age of 90 in Houston Texas. Gwen was born the eldest of 4 on September 11, 1930 to Ruby (Toland)... [More]

Marilyn “Sissy” Schurtz

Marilyn Jean Schurtz stubbornly went to join her guardian angels on May 28, 2021 - and surely gave them a few choice words on her way through the heavenly gate as they insisted it was time to go. She undoubtedly felt that 92 years was somehow not quite enough time. Born in... [More]

More Obituaries

View All Obituaries