Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) recognized members and supporters at its 105th annual meeting, Dec. 2-4 in Manhattan. Photos of those honored are available here.

KFB presented Rich Felts with its Distinguished Service award for his exemplary contributions to agriculture in the state.

Rich Felts, Montgomery County, is the former president of Kansas Farm Bureau and his career of community service and involvement in Farm Bureau spans decades and includes serving on the Montgomery County Farm Bureau board, as a county 4-H leader, the Montgomery and Kansas State Extension Council, helping start their local volunteer fire department and serving as chairman of SEK Grain. Under his leadership, Kansas Farm Bureau Health Plans was created, providing affordable healthcare coverage for Kansans; more than $150,000 was raised and shared across the state to end hunger in Kansas communities; support for and expansion of mental health resources was created; consumers were educated about sustainable agriculture; and innovation and entrepreneurship were improved in rural communities.

The organization also presented Friends of Agriculture awards recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to Kansas Farm Bureau and agriculture. They are:

Gerald and Linda Franklin, Sherman County, have served Kansas Farm Bureau for more than 20 years. Linda represented the 10th District as a board member from 2005-2014, and Gerald took a position on the board from 2015-2016. Through the years, the Franklins have fought challenges on the political forefront, specifically advocating for water quality. The Franklin family manages a diversified operation, which includes irrigated and dryland wheat, corn, grain sorghum, soybeans and sunflowers.

Bud Stumpff, Miami County, has served agriculture for more than 70 years and is well known across the state as a vocal advocate for agriculture and Farm Bureau. From 1997 to 2004, he served on the Kansas Farm Bureau board of directors. He’s also served on the Johnson County Farm Bureau board and currently serves on the Miami County Farm Bureau board. After spending 31 years in education, Bud now raises cattle and hay.

Former KFB employees Ron Betzen, Holly Higgins, Dale Maneth, Mike Matson, Donna Mosburg, Carol Sherley-Days and Cindy Sink also were honored with the designation for their years of dedicated service to the organization and industry.

Pleasantview Farms, Ellis County, received the Kansas Farm Bureau Natural Resources Award, which goes to the farm family who exemplifies good land stewardship. Originally a dairy and small grain crop operation, brothers Ernie, Steve and Tom recently began the process of transitioning the remaining crop ground to pasture to increase their cattle herd. The Binders have actively worked to protect Big Creek, which flows through their farm. They’ve installed more than 3,000 feet of pipe for an alternative water supply for their cattle herd and built nearly 7,000 linear feet of fence to create a buffer strip protecting the creek from erosion and nutrient runoff, among other conservation efforts.

Members of the media were honored for telling the stories of Kansas farmers and ranchers across four categories. In the broadcast feature category, Pilar Pedraza and Andy Duffy of KAKE received first place. Samantha Boring, KSN, took second and Kellan Hevican, Brownfield, was third. For broadcast news, Boring received first followed by Nick Gosnell, Hutch Post, and Hevican. In the print feature category, Faye Smith, Angus Journal, received first-place honors. Emily Zahurones, Farm Talk, placed second and Macey Mueller, Kansas Stockman, was third. For print news, Mueller took top honors followed by Donna Sullivan’s entries from the Riley Countian and Grass & Grain, respectively.

Bill Shipley, Atchinson and Doniphan County, 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. In his role as an agent, Shipley embodies the Farm Bureau brand every day in all aspects of his life.