Kansas Specialty-Crop Grower Discusses Getting Started, Scaling Up, and Scaling Down

In the latest in Kansas Rural Center’s series of specialty-crop grower profiles, Dan Kuhn relates how his operation has grown since he and his wife began with 1.5 acres in 1989. Now, Kuhn farms 190 acres with as many as 29 employees and has 12 hoop houses in production. Kuhn sells pumpkins in 10 states, including sales to large wholesale customers. His farm also produces tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, and raspberries. Newer ventures include asparagus and blackberries. Kuhn notes some of the challenges of working with wholesale customers, ranging from the certifications they demand to their bookkeeping requirements and warehouse consolidation. He also expressed his concern about the potential for Dicamba damage to crops. Kuhn would like to scale back and serve more local markets rather than continuing to grow and serve wholesale markets.