Mary Kay Thatcher has worked as a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation for 30 years. She currently serves as Senior Director of Congressional Relations where she lobbies primarily on issues covering farm programs, crop insurance, conservation and credit.
In the past few years, she has also spearheaded AFBF’s participation about the topic of farm data, security and privacy. She serves as President of the Ag Data Transparency Evaluator, a tool developed by Ag Tech Providers and farm/commodity groups to help farmers understand the contracts they sign to share their farm data. She also serves as Secretary of the Ag Data Coalition, a group of 14 members consisting of farm groups, land grant universities, ag equipment manufacturers and technology companies and providers. The coalition is working to develop an ag data cooperative to confidentially maintain a farmer’s data and to facilitate collaboration in the new era of data-driven agriculture.
Mary Kay served in the “first” Bush Administration as a political appointee as the director of congressional and public affairs of the Farm Credit Administration. In that capacity, she was responsible for the policy direction and management of the agency’s congressional and public affairs activities.
Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Richard Myers has returned to his home state and alma mater to serve as Kansas State University President. He graduated from the university in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and joined the Air Force through K-State’s ROTC program.
The native Kansan from Merriam served his country and retired as a four-star general. From 2001-2005, he served as the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was the principal military adviser to the U.S. president, secretary of defense and the National Security Council.
Throughout Myers’ active duty, he continued his close relationship with K-State. In 2000, he presented the 118th Landon Lecture at Kansas State University, and the Gen. Richard B. Myers Hall, home of the Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs, is named in his honor.
Myers is a foundation professor of military history and leadership at K-State. He and his wife, Mary Jo, serve as co-chairs of the Kansas State University Innovation and Inspiration Campaign to raise $1 billion.