From Farm to Plate

Did you visit a farm in your childhood? Maybe it was your grandparents’, with rolling green pastures and an old tractor that you had to turn the key “just right” and send up a prayer for it to fire up. Or maybe the only farm you’ve ever seen is one in an Old MacDonald picture book. While these farms have the same values as modern farmers, the scenery might be a little different.

About 97 percent of farms in the U.S. are operated by families. In Kansas, 20,000 farmers grow the wheat you might have consumed in your latest loaf of bread, and these are some of the farm machines that our farmers might use.

Tractor– used to pull other implements in the field. Might have Auto-steer, which is a way to boost precision in the fields by using GPS.

Planter (drill)– pretty self-explanatory, because this is how the wheat seed is planted. Ride along with a farmer as he plants by watching this video from Kansas Wheat!

Wheat drill.

Combine– these gentle giants dominate the golden fields of wheat during harvest time. The header (the front bit that swirls round and round) scoops and cuts the wheat plant up. From there, the machine sorts the grain from the straw and chaff. Grain is stored in a bin while straw is dispensed out the back for future use, like for straw bales for livestock and organic compost.


Elevator– these prairie skyscrapers dot the skyline of rural America. They are used to store grains, like wheat.

Grain elevator.

To you, the bread might magically appear on the grocery shelf, but there is an entire industry that helps you enjoy that artisan grilled cheese sandwich!


Farm machines are gentle giants that help farmers’ efficiency, to take a closer look at how wheat gets from the mind of a wheat breeder to that Hot Pocket you’ve got in the microwave, be sure to check out Kansas Wheat’s brief timeline. Or to experience a day on the farm, be sure to watch our Knopf Family Farms video!