How about ‘U’ and your inspirational event?

At what point did peas get paired with carrots? And when did celebration correspond to cheers with champagne? Some connections are natural and leave no debate. At the same time, even the most uncommon pairings are more connected than we think. The song “Don’t stop believin’” by Journey, coach John Wooden and Joshua verse 1:9 all have a common theme. Inspiration.

What inspires us is personal. Unique only to you. For me, there are many inspirations. I think of my family and faith. Then, coaches, mentors, and countless songs, books, and movies. You likely have a similar combination, but as a farmer and rancher, my hope is that High Plains Journal can also be a part of your inspiration too.

My initial assignment at HPJ was to grow producer events. I will never forget my first Sorghum U in January 2016 and my first conversation with an attending farmer. He shared his appreciation of the education and connections he made. I felt like I was part of something. We helped advance his operation with tools he could apply on his farm tomorrow. I was inspired.

A year later at Wheat U in Wichita, Kansas, a grower said, “The sessions were farm level, which made me feel comfortable to ask questions and interact. The knowledge I gained will help with gaps in my cropping system.” Another inspiration occurred early last year when an alfalfa producer showed me his notes from eight years ago. He talked about University of Wisconsin agronomy professor Dan Undersander’s session at Alfalfa U in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It meant so much that he drove seven hours to attend Alfalfa U in Dodge City.

I have enjoyed countless conversations with attendees at HPJ U events. Last summer at Cattle U, I visited with area cattlemen about the rodeo the night before and what we did and did not like about the Paramount show “Yellowstone.” Just two people, one adult soda, and some common ground. It was fun. More importantly, these conversations have had an impact on me and been an inspiration for HPJ to continue doing what we do.

Since my rookie year, HPJ has facilitated more than 100 events across the country and expanded this knowledge to tens of thousands of operations throughout the region. Next week, we will do it again. Soil Health U returns to Salina, Kansas, on Jan. 18 to 19. I encourage you to attend and information is available at

Together we will learn how to better work with our land instead of against it. While there is no one-size-fits-all, my goal is to help provide tools and connections for all High Plains farmers. Please join us. This one event could be the one inspiration for “U” that lasts a lifetime.

Zac Stuckey can be reached at 620-227-1833 or [email protected].