MANHATTAN, Kan. (March 10, 2015) – At the Kansas Wheat Alliance annual meeting on February 18, 2015, Herb Mattson presided over his final meeting as chairman. Mattson, a second generation farmer from Colby, Kan., served as chairman of the Kansas Wheat Alliance board of directors from 2008 until last month.
He has used his expertise as a Kansas wheat farmer and owner of Mattson Seed Farms to give back to Kansas agriculture. He was one of the original founding members of the Kansas Wheat Alliance (KWA), an organization that brings Kansas State University-bred wheat varieties to the market and invests the profits in additional wheat research.
While his term as chairman has ended, his dedication to the organization remains strong.
“I take pride in the Kansas Wheat Alliance,” said Mattson. “It’s doing what we intended it to do, and that research does a lot of good things.”
Even in the successes of KWA’s varieties, Mattson makes it clear that he isn’t the only one whose dedication has paid off.
“All of the board members have been outstanding people,” said Mattson. “And Allan Fritz and Guorong Zhang do a heck of a job with their breeding. KWA is also so blessed to have Daryl Strouts, who does a superb job for the organization.” Fritz and Zhang are the wheat breeders at Kansas State University, and Strouts is the president of the Kansas Wheat Alliance.
Mattson’s dedication for the Kansas Wheat Alliance came from his passion for farming.
Farming is a tough business. It’s one that’s filled with hard work, long days, tough breaks, exhaustion, exasperation and on-the-fly problem solving. But as Mattson points out, it’s also a profession that is filled with passion and the desire to make things better, no matter the circumstance, because no farmer can make it without those traits.
When he speaks, you can tell that his enthusiasm for his farm runs deep.
“My passion is for farming,” said Mattson. “You can’t just like farming in order to succeed. And sometimes you’re faced with a hardship that can end in your farm either going backward or moving forward. You have to choose to move forward.”
Mattson took over his parents’ farm in the late 1960s. Over the last four and a half decades, he has built a life with his family on his farm. Herb and his wife, Brenda, are the parents of six children: five boys and one girl. Although his children have varying interests and scattered locations their involvement on the farm is growing.
The Kansas Wheat Alliance is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2007 with the goal of maximizing value for wheat farmers from new wheat varieties developed by Kansas State University and other wheat-breeding programs. The Kansas Wheat Alliance delivers modern genetic technology that is not otherwise showing up in wheat varieties, a real economic benefit to the wheat producers and end-users of the crop.
by Jordan Hildebrand