Meet our Kansas Farmer Volunteers
Love for the land, our friends and our food — that’s what fuels our CommonGround community. Scroll down to learn where our Kansas volunteers are located, or apply here to get involved.
Kim Baldwin - McPherson
A native of New Mexico, Kim moved to Kansas to marry her husband. With her unique career background as a television news professional and teacher, Kim helps keep the family farm running smoothly while blogging about her new life as a farmer.
Lana Barkman- Circleville
Animal lover Lana married her college sweetheart, Caleb. She shares their adventures on social media as the “Barkman Bunch” on their farm near Circleville, KS. She studied animal science at Kansas State University and loves horses.
JENNY BURGESS — Sterling
Jenny and her husband Geoff are a first-generation farm family farming near Sterling, KS. Geoff emigrated from England to pursue better opportunities in the United States. Together, they grow corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum and cover crops.
Molly Drimmel - Wakarusa
Molly and her husband David raise corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, sorghum, chicken, beef cattle, pigs and goats on their farm near Wakarusa, KS. Molly has a busy full-time job off the farm as a field testing agronomist and is passionate about helping families understand where food comes from.
Frances Graves — Bartlett
Frances was raised in the city and spent her 20s consuming a vegetarian diet. Today, she and her husband raise children and cattle on their ranch, where they are the fifth and sixth generations on the family homestead.
Laura Handke - Atchison
Laura worked in the food safety and regulatory industry before finding her passion and embarking on a career in agriculture advocacy and education. She and her husband Chris have a daughter, Audrey Ann. Laura and Chris have a cow/calf herd in both Missouri and Kansas.
Jami Loecker — Manhattan
Jami and her husband Billy live in Manhattan, KS, with their children raising a chicken flock and garden while Jami is employed full-time off the farm as a local agronomist. She helps other farmers and retailers in eastern Kansas by recommending improvements to crop production practices for corn, soybeans, milo, wheat, alfalfa, and cotton.
Krystale Neitzel - Lawrence
Krystale and her husband Lowell run a fourth-generation farm just outside Lawrence, KS, raising corn and soybeans, and operating a small beef cattle feedlot. They operated a garden market for many years and enjoy clearing up the confusion on food labels about farming practices
Kelsey Pagel - Wetmore
Kelsey and her husband, Matt, are living their dream as farmers near Wetmore, KS. They work with Matt’s parents raising corn, soybeans, wheat, cover crops, chicken and beef cattle. Kelsey and Matt are constantly learning more about how to use more sustainable practices on their farm.
Janet Phillips —
Janet and her husband Caleb raise corn, wheat, soybeans, and cattle on their family farm near Cherryvale, KS. Their growing farm includes Caleb’s father and grandfather, each farm operating financially independently but sharing in equipment and workload.
Melissa Hildebrand Reed - Abilene
Melissa works alongside her family at Hildebrand Family Dairy near Junction City, KS. The farm raises 150 dairy cows, bottling and selling the milk to more than 90 grocery stores across the state and through their on-site retail store. A mother of two young sons, Melissa is especially knowledgeable on local foods.
Katie Sawyer - McPherson
Just outside of McPherson, KS, Katie and her husband Derek raise cattle, wheat, corn, soybeans and grain sorghum. Katie works full-time off the farm as District Director for U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall and advocates for the agriculture through various platforms.
Lesley Schmidt - Spearville/Dodge City
Lesley is part of the fifth generation on her family farm in the Spearville and Dodge City area. She works with her brothers and parents raising cattle, alfalfa, oats, sorghum, soybeans and wheat. She enjoys sharing her farm’s story and showcasing the care and dedication that go into the food that is put on the dinner table.
Janna Splitter - Lyons
Food safety and sustainability are high priorities for Janna as she raises two girls on a farm in Lyons, Kansas with her husband, Matt. Janna grew up on a first generation farm and met her husband through the 4-H program. They went on to study at Kansas State University and are growing their farm operation.
LaVell Winsor - Grantville
LaVell lives and farms in Grantville, Kansas, with her husband, Andy, and their two sons. She helps with merchandising and management of grain sales and farm financial records. She also is employed off-the-farm with a consulting service that provides farmers with business recommendations and risk-management tools.