“Hi! My name is Kaitlyn Alanis and I am a freshman agricultural education major from California!”, is by far the most common way I have introduced myself throughout the last seven or so months at K-State. Whether it be in classes, club meetings, or during a trip or event, I have got this introduction down. But that is not all I have got down, as I also have the vast majority of people’s reactions down. The three most common reactions have seemed to be, “Why would you move from California to plain ‘ol Kansas??”, or “Oh you came here for the agriculture, right?”, or even “All of the agriculture in Kansas must be new to you! How do you like it?”
And not by any means is this necessarily a bad thing, as I have truly enjoyed the countless opportunities to share information about the agricultural industry in California. But I do find it funny that even to this day California is known just for its beaches and not its peaches (any many other products which do not rhyme with beaches as well as peaches does). I hope you found that rhyme as cute as I did! Speaking of peaches, however, did you know that California is actually the number one producer of peaches?
California is also a lot more than beaches and peaches. In fact, California has actually been the nation’s top agricultural state for more than 50 years. Agricultural commodities in California generate more than $37.5 billion a year, which is more than any state. These commodities include, but are not limited to, almonds, olives, grapes, tomatoes, and approximately 400 other crops. And these are not mass production farms, as more than 90% of these farms are family farms or partnerships, and more than 60% are farms less than 50 acres in size which proves the number of specialty crop operations.
So why did I leave the golden state of California for the heartland we call Kansas? As an agricultural education student and future agriculture instructor/FFA advisor, I value the opportunities I am able to experience to make my knowledge as broad and diverse as possible. I did not come from any sort of agricultural background, so I have had (and still do have) a lot to learn about this industry! But though passion and love for agriculture I have truly found a lifelong career which I cannot wait to begin.
I am so fortunate to be a part of the K-State family and Sigma Alpha sisterhood, as through my sisters I have been able to learn so much about commodities in Kansas as well as several other states which I knew very little to nothing about before moving to K-State. I would also like to give a huge shoutout to my sisters who introduced me to my new favorite crop which is not as common in California as it is in Kansas… Sorghum! This is a very close second to my favorite crop grown in my hometown… Cotton!
So the next time you hear someone talking about heading to the beach in California, remind them to stop and see the peaches too!