National Geographic : 1937 Aug
SPEAKING OF KANSAS Photograph from Keystone BEWILDERED JACK RABBITS HEAD FOR THE LAST ROUNDUP WHILE A NEWSREEL MAN AWAITS A GOOD SHOT Crowds jam about the wire corral at this final scene in the big drive. Frightened "jacks," leaping and kicking, are fairly packed against the barrier. Men grab them by the ears, crate them, and ship them east for release in new homes (pages 143 and 167). Land here that shook for centuries to the hammer of galloping buffalo feet trembles now under big gas tractors and combine harvesters. Today, from Boston bankers to Arizona cowboys, all America eats bread made of Kansas hard red winter wheat. Each year some 120,000,000 bushels are threshed here, and enough is ground to make about 47 loaves for every human being in the United States. Until Mennonites settled here in 1873, little wheat was grown. From Russia, however, these immigrants brought a new variety-a red winter grain so hard that millers at first had trouble grinding it. Since that time, the best kinds of wheat grown here have come through selection or hybridization, from Turkey, or from other imports of Crimean wheat similar to Tur- key's. Now agents of Soviet Russia's gov ernment come here to buy seed of this im proved wheat, taking it back-after all these years-to the regions it came from. To Kansas from Asia came white blossom sweet clover; from Manchuria the soybean. "In fact, most plants of economic value in Kansas are from other lands," said I. D. Graham, veteran writer on farm themes. "This is true of our orchards, vegetable, and flower gardens. Few plants were intro duced accidentally. The pioneer's covered wagon, carrying horse feed, may have been the means of first bringing in bluegrass; influx of noxious weeds may also be traced to accident. But the spectacular change in a few decades-in all our plant life was willfully achieved after study, selection, and scientific plant breeding."