Grass & Grain

Grass & Grain 8-25-15

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By Lucas Shivers Sweeping panoramic scenes, diving camera angles from a drone and GoPros fixed to combine blades make a Kansas wheat har- vest look like a Hollywood production. Doug Armknecht created a video of harvest, posted on YouTube at https://youtu.be /oRVEaxZFH8I, of Osborne farming family Jhan and Marsha LaRosh, and their children Kenton, Kevin, Kelli and Kandi. The LaRosh operation includes cattle, soybeans and corn, along with the main part of the operation: more than 2,000 acres of wheat. "I hope that anyone with- out a farming background can watch the video and un- derstand the family farm a little more," Armknecht said. "And anyone with a farming background, hopefully it will touch them and remind them of everything that's good with farming." Armknecht started film- ing the annual wheat harvest traditions in 2012, after mar- rying into the family in 2011. "Kelli, my wife, suggest- ed I use the handheld cam- corder I had to take a few shots of harvest," Armknecht said. "Later I edited them to- gether, and it was surprising- ly good and fun to watch. Each year I've tried to make it just a little bit better." Upgrading to a Sony Handycam camcorder for the 2013 harvest season, Armknecht continues to build a collection of high- tech tools for filming. "Last year, my father-in- law purchased a drone to get aerial views," Armknecht said. "This year, I added a GoPro camera for machine- mounted shots, and upgrad- ed to a higher quality drone." In the final editions of the videos, there is no narration yet the captivating videos highlight underlying themes of the LaRosh legacy: farm- ing, faith, and family. "I guess the images speak for themselves," he said. "You can see how much work harvest is, how beauti- ful Kansas can be, and how much of a family operation farming really is." As YouTube views hit more than 37,000 for the 2014 video, Armknecht and the family launched an event to premiere the new video, LaRosh Wheat Harvest 2015, at the Center Theatre in Smith Center. On Aug. 9, Armknecht showed all four of the videos from 2012- 2015 in a 40-minute presen- tation to more than 125 peo- ple. Armknecht said he's able to tell the story of rural agri- cultural family life and the rich heritage of the faith from the heartland. "The LaRosh family traces its heritage back to an 1871 homestead, so it's neat to see how farming has been passed down through the years," Armknecht said. The 2015 film features a historical era when Jhan brought out his first combine to run for the family. "My father-in-law got out his 1959 John Deere 55 com- bine," he said. "They ran it for one evening. It brought back some good memories and made for great video!" Passionate about a stellar finished product, Armknecht invests many hours into the project. "I spent about 30-40 hours out in the field shoot- ing, mostly in the evenings after my day job," he said. "That yielded 14 hours of raw footage. Editing took at least double the amount of time shooting." He's able to adjust the speed of the shots and fine- tune the multiple camera an- gles. "Slapping some video to- gether can be done relatively quickly, but making a film that flows and tells a story takes a lot of time and thought," he said. "Then there are the finishing touch- es that make it look great, like color correction, stabi- lization, effects, sound mix- ing, and so on." Since posting on YouTube and his own site, ksfarmim- agery.com, less than 15 per- cent of those who have viewed his videos live in Kansas, showing the impact of the outreach and story- telling power. "I've been surprised by how much interest the videos have generated," Armknecht said. "They were originally made for the family to enjoy. Since I posted them online, interest and views have grown every year." Viewers often find con- nection to their own child- hoods, farming backgrounds or links to the past in the har- vest videos. "I never would have thought that watching some- one else's farming videos would have such an impact, but I guess it does," Armknecht said. "This year, I've heard from people sur- prised that the video is in Kansas. They didn't know the state had that kind of beauty! Then there was a funny comment from a guy who said his dog likes to bite tires like Rusty does in our video." Armknecht said he feels honored to create a special way to commemorate the family tradition. "It's been a blessing to be a part of the LaRosh family and their harvest," Arm- knecht said. "I feel like this year's video really pays trib- ute to the LaRosh family and the Kansas wheat harvest in general, and does so in a beautiful way." Wheat harvest on the LaRosh farm in Osborne County is a family affair that has been captured on video by Doug Armknecht since he married into the family in 2011. Courtesy photos Armknecht used a drone to capture stunning aerial im- ages during wheat harvest. YouTube video features Osborne County farm wheat harvest Yearning to learn to "drive" a combine? Itching to understand an irrigation ditch? Curious about the weight of a calf? Find it all – and more – at the Kansas State Fair Sept. 11-20. The Kansas State Fair provides enjoyable educa- tional opportunities for fair- goers of all ages, especially students who might not be exposed to agriculture, re- ceive a front and center view of the benefits, lessons, ac- tivities and necessities of the role agriculture plays in Kansas. S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Program Hands-on agriculture ac- tivities to teach state stan- dard curriculum to students, all conveniently located at the Kansas State Fair. What more could educators want? This is exactly what puts this program at the top of the ed- ucational opportunities for the Kansas State Fair. Not only are students given the chance to learn about S.T.E.A.M, (science, tech- nology, engineering, art and math), but the agriculture ap- plications utilized set it apart from a classroom lesson, benefitting educators and their students. To learn more about the S.T.E.A.M Ahead Program, please visit: bit.ly/KSF-STEAMProgram Scholastic Press Corps The Kansas State Fair has competitions of all kinds, but Scholastic Press Corps gives high school students the op- portunity to compete against others in creating four-page newsletters and four-minute videos covering activities at the Fair. Scholastic Press Corps provides realistic job experience for students by utilizing their journalism and video editing and production skills, all while working to hit a strict deadline for com- pletion. Unique to the 2015 Fair, SPC will introduce a new optional category of competition for students to create social media plans and augmented videos made specifically for social media. Kansas' Largest Classroom Step outside your normal classroom and step into the Kansas State Fair – serving as Kansas' Largest Class- room for children of all ages. This program supplies teach- ers with lesson plans to make effective and enjoyable field trips for their students from kindergarten to sixth grade. Whether it's studying farm animals in detail or introduc- ing the basics of electricity and how social studies and science apply to the Kansas State Fair, the Fairgrounds provides a dynamic environ- ment for soaking up new in- formation. For more infor- mation on lesson plans at the Kansas State Fair, go to bit.ly/KSF-KLC Educational opportunities at the Kansas State Fair bring out the kid in us all Continued on page 3 8-25-15 Sect. 1.qxp:Layout 1 8/19/15 3:55 PM Page 1

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