Kansas Farm Bureau recognized members and friends at its 101st Annual Meeting, Dec. 1-3 in Manhattan.
Jackie McClaskey, Crawford County, received KFB’s Distinguished Service award. A former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, Jackie now serves as President of the American Royal New Campus Development. She’s helping move the Royal from Missouri to Kansas, and leading a team that’s designing from the ground up, a state-of-the-art multi-faceted complex aimed at securing the Royal’s proud heritage while opening new venues for agriculture education and promotion, all in an urban setting ripe for teaching about the importance of farming and ranching.
The organization also presented 13 Friends of Agriculture awards. This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to Kansas Farm Bureau and agriculture or rural Kansas. They included:
- Pat Bosco, Riley County, is known to many as the face of Kansas State University. Under his leadership, K-State became the number one choice for Kansas high school seniors and remains so today.
- Larry Goering, Harvey County, is a devout Farm Bureau member and has served agriculture for more than 60 years. In the past, Larry taught vocational agriculture to students who are now successful leaders in the agricultural industry.
- Glen Good, Logan County, has taught agriculture for more than 30 years and has served on the Ways and Means Committee for the Kansas Association of Agricultural Educators as well as the State Career Development committee. He has given countless hours to promote and educate people about agriculture.
- Rich Hawkins, Thomas County, is a dedicated farm and ranch broadcaster. He began his broadcasting career in Colby and carried the agriculture story there for 17 years. He then brought the farm and ranch voice to Kansas City. Rich listens intently to others and values the knowledge of those in the agriculture industry.
- Kelly Lenz, Shawnee County, is a familiar voice to everyone in agriculture, as he has been a leader in the farm broadcast industry for 41 years. Through his work on both TV and radio, he is someone farmers and ranchers trusted for the latest information on the ag industry.
- Denise Middleton, Cowley County, began her Farm Bureau career by serving on the Board of Directors of Cowley County and was later hired as the Cowley County Coordinator. She has worked faithfully educating about agriculture for 15 years, focusing on children, women, legislators and the urban community.
- Stacy Minson, Ellis County, currently works as a K-State Watershed Specialist for the Kansas Center for Ag Research and the Environment. Her job leads her to help educate youth about water and environmental issues in Kansas.
- Rob Olson, Johnson County, represents the 23rd Senate District in south Johnson county. He chairs the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and played an integral role in the effort to create authority for Kansas Farm Bureau to offer health care member benefits in the 2019 legislative season.
- Dan Peterson, Labette County, has served agriculture for more than 40 years. He is currently the Local Affairs Coordinator for the Labette County Farm Bureau. In the past, Dan taught vocational agriculture classes and taught many students who became state and national Proficiency Award winners. Many of his students now have successful agricultural careers.
- Gayle Ross, Sedgwick County, retired last year from Farm Bureau after 31 years of service as the County Coordinator. She brought years of contributions to her community by working with Extension, 4-H and the Ronald McDonald House. Working with these organizations established good relationships for Sedgwick County Farm Bureau and helped to educate an urban community about agriculture.
- Charlie Sargent, Riley County, retired from Kansas Farm Bureau after 46 years of serving Kansas farmers and ranchers in various roles throughout the organization. Charlie enjoyed relating the importance of agriculture and Farm Bureau’s role in supporting a way of life that helps feed and fuel our world.
- John Schlageck, Riley County, retired from KFB last year after 45 years as a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. One of his favorite things to do was visit with members and share their stories with others.
- Chairman Jene Vickrey, Miami County, was first elected to the Kansas House in 1993. He is currently Chair of the House Insurance Committee and has previously served as House Majority Leader, in other leadership posts, and is a longtime friend of Farm Bureau. He played a critical role in the effort to create authority for KFB to offer health care member benefits in the 2019 legislative session.
- Kent Winter, Sedgwick County, has served on numerous boards related to agriculture throughout the past 40 years. He served on KFB’s Centennial Task Force Committee and currently serves on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Issue Advisory Committee on Energy.
Jill Casten, Riley County, was recognized posthumously for her work in agriculture and education throughout the state and nation. Her passions shone through her work with the National FFA organization, American Farm Bureau Federation and Kansas Farm Bureau along with service to organizations like the Kansas FFA Foundation, K-State Ag Alumni Board, Kansas FFA Association and numerous 4-H roles. A Memorial Fund has been created to continue and expand her work to inspire, equip and stretch Kansans by developing them as thought leaders and exposing them to a broader world. To date, more than $275,000 has been raised.
Ted Cambern Jr., Neosho County, received the Kansas Farm Bureau Natural Resources Award. This award goes to the farm family who exemplifies good land stewardship. Ted and his family operate River Farms, a 1,700-acre laboratory. In addition to growing soybeans, corn and wheat in the Neosho River’s fertile bottomlands, River Farms has a pecan orchard, a timber management plan and a small cattle herd. River Farms has been in the American Tree Farm system since the 1980s, and, more than 300,000 board feet of timber have been sustainably harvested over the last three decades.
Kara Sedlacek, Director of the Farm Bureau Financial Services Business Center, received KFB’s Partnership Award. This award recognizes someone from Farm Bureau Financial Services who has gone above and beyond for the state’s largest farm organization. Kara oversees the ag underwriting team, and she, along with her staff, assists agents across the state in growing their ag book of business as well as delivering on the promise to clients and Farm Bureau members in the event of a loss. She is a strong advocate for Kansas farm and ranch members.