Craig Miner’s latest book, “Next Year Country: Dust to Dust in Western Kansas, 1890–1940,” was featured in Monday’s Journal-World. In the book, Miner, a history professor at Wichita State University, chronicles the peaks and valleys of western Kansas, where harsh weather often spelled the difference between success and failure for the agricultural economy.
While compiling the history, Miner turned up several clues about why residents of the western two-thirds of the state have a good feeling about K‑State. The school set up experiment stations across the area to test crop varieties and develop new hybrids that were resistant to pests and drought.
K‑State, the railroads and the local Farm Bureaus took information on the road, traveling to different cities giving lectures and sharing information about better agriculture techniques for men and home economics for women.
I see nothing to suggest that a similar strategy, reaching out to the more distant communities and showing the value of science and evolutionary biology to people in rural Kansas couldn’t bring the western part of the state as firmly onto the side of Darwin as they are of the Wildcats.