Kansas Farm Bureau recognized members and friends at its 99th Annual Meeting, Dec. 3-5 in Manhattan.
Seven people were recognized with the organization’s Friends of Agriculture award. This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to Kansas Farm Bureau and agriculture or rural Kansas. They included:
Alan Boultinghouse from Crawford County had a storied teaching career at Girard High School where he served for 33 years. While there he was an agriculture education instructor and an advisor of the Girard FFA. He saw 17 state winning FFA teams and two national winning teams at the National FFA conventions in 2009 and 2013. He also coached 122 state FFA degree recipients and 22 American Degree candidates.
Marjorie Cartmill from Harper County has been serving the agriculture industry for more than 50 years. In that time, she served on the local FSA board as an advisor for nine years and nine more as a board member. Marj served on the Harper County Farm Bureau board for 18 years and filled many positions including president and women’s chair. She’s also served on Kansas Farm Bureau’s women’s leadership committee.
Mel Heddlesten from Haskell County has been serving the agriculture industry since he started driving a tractor at the age of 12. He spent 38 years teaching agriculture at Satanta helping students receive more than 80 scholarships to division one colleges. Mel is a 38-year member of the Kansas Association of Agricultural Educators and has trained 36 teams that represented Kansas at national competitions.
Harold and Jeanne Mertz were active ag industry leaders their whole lives. Jeanne served as president of the American Agri-Women Association, while also serving in the United Farm Wives of America. In 1977, Jeanne developed a billboard project to promote farm commodities in Kansas. A year later, the first “grocery bag” sign highlighting how many people one Kansas farmer could feed was put up. Harold quickly became the chief project manager for the signs while also serving on both state and national sheep boards, the local co-op board and the Wamego School Board. The couple was honored posthumously by the organization. Jeanne passed away January of this year and Harold in 2015.
Warren Parker from Riley County served the members of Kansas Farm Bureau for 28 years as a staff member. His role in the organization included lobbying; initiating, directing and overseeing the creation of Kansas Farm Bureau’s political action committee, VOTE FBF; directing the organization’s communications and public relations; and creating and managing the organization’s website presence.
Mick Rausch from Sedgwick County has served the agriculture industry for 40 years. Mick has served as president and vice president of the Sedgwick County Farm Bureau, and on state-level Farm Bureau Committees In 2012, Mick’s family was honored as the District 4 Farm Family of the year. He currently serves as president of the Wichita Agribusiness Council and trustee for Garden Plain Township.
Marvin and Twylia Sekavec from both Ness and Edwards counties received the Kansas Farm Bureau Natural Resources Award. This award goes to the farm family who exemplifies good land stewardship. In 1994 the Sekavecs purchased property from the Wet Walnut Watershed District and began a journey of purifying the watershed and building habitats for wildlife. They are proof conservation and wildlife can be successfully integrated into an agricultural operation. Marvin and Twylia have worked together to plant more than 10,000 trees and shrubs to serve as windbreaks and increase wildlife.
Danny Dinkel, Farm Bureau Financial Services Agent in Hays, 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. Danny works closely with the Ellis County Farm Bureau board of directors and does an outstanding job bringing in new members and retaining current clients. He is an excellent example of a great partnership between the county Farm Bureau and a successful agency force.