TOPEKA, Kan. — More than 200 soybean enthusiasts gathered Jan. 8 in Topeka for Kansas Soybean Expo 2020. The Kansas Soybean Association (KSA) organized the annual event, with checkoff funding from the Kansas Soybean Commission (KSC), to coincide with the Topeka Farm Show at the Stormont Vail Events Center (formerly the Kansas Expocentre).
“In agriculture, we are always trying to learn and improve, and this year’s Expo provided an excellent opportunity to learn from leading researchers, industry partners and other farmers,” said KSA First Vice President Teresa Brandenburg, Osborne, who chaired the Expo planning committee. “That made for a wonderful day.”
KSA President Dwight Meyer, Hiawatha, and KSC Chairman Bob Haselwood, Berryton, welcomed the attendees. The opening session featured updates from checkoff-partner organizations. The presenters were Shelby Watson, allied-industry relations manager for the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, and Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications for the Animal Agriculture Alliance.
The keynote speaker, comedienne Leslie Norris Townsend, entertained the audience with a classic fish-out-of-water tale.
“Leslie moved from Hollywood to rural Ohio to live and work on her husband’s 100-year-old family farm,” Brandenburg said. “Her agricultural humor from a decidedly different perspective was like Green Acres brought to life.
“Her outlook and humor about farming, married life and motherhood reminded us that, no matter the situation, there is always something to laugh about. It was such a treat to have an entertainer who regularly appears on multiple TV programs join us for a day of fun, learning and fellowship.”
Steve Scott, the farm and ranch news director for KKOW-AM 860 in Pittsburg, was the master of ceremonies at the luncheon. The featured speaker was Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam. He discussed the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s role; growth strategies for the soybean sector; his recent trade mission to Taiwan with the U.S. Soybean Export Council; and some of the state government’s rural-focused, “front burner” topics and projects.
During the awards and recognitions, Marvin Wahl, Oswego, was recognized for six years of service on the KSA board of directors; Ron Ohlde, Palmer, for nine years on the United Soybean Board; and Kurt Maurath, Oakley, for three years as KSC chairman. Jeremy Olson, Everest, was introduced as this year’s ASA Corteva Agriscience Young Leader.
Chris Fisher with WIBW-TV 13 in Topeka received the Friend of Soy award. He arrived at the station in October 2011 and now is anchor for the morning and midday shows. He has provided his viewers with information about the soybean industry by scheduling KSC Consumer Media Specialist Charlene Patton’s cooking programs, involving her in weekend teasers, sharing video for the Kansas Soybean website and YouTube channel, offering Facebook Live opportunities, and promoting the Expo every year.
“Chris has made a difference,” Patton said, “and we are fortunate to get to work with him.”
Awards for meritorious service were presented in absentia to Dallas Peterson, Manhattan, and Jim Zwonitzer, Horton. Peterson was a weed scientist in the Kansas State University Department of Agronomy and for K-State Research and Extension for 30 years, retiring in October 2019. Zwonitzer represented the Kansas soybean sector nationally and internationally for more than 40 years in numerous roles with both KSA and KSC.
Charles Atkinson, Great Bend, who represents KSA on the American Soybean Association board of directors, outlined the national organization’s 2019 policy successes and 2020 priorities then shared its centennial celebration plans for the coming year.
Next, Meyer (Hiawatha) presided over the KSA annual meeting. Andy Winsor, Grantville, who chairs KSA’s policy committee, presented the guiding resolutions for 2020, which the voting members present accepted. The board elections returned directors Brice Bunck, Topeka, for District 2; Gail Kueser, Garnett, District 3; and Kim Kohls, Moundridge, District 6. Jared Nash, Parsons, became the second director at large.
The KSA directors gathered afterward and re-elected their officers for continued service in 2020: Meyer (Hiawatha), president; Brandenburg (Osborne), first vice president; Scott Gigstad, Everest, second vice president; Kueser (Garnett), secretary; and Gary Robbins, Emmett, treasurer. As the most recent past president, Lucas Heinen, Everest, will remain chairman.
Kohls (Moundridge) announced the district and overall winners in the Kansas Soybean Yield and Value Contests. LarMar Inc., Robinson, led the dryland division with a no-till entry of 94.01 bushels per acre. Love & Love Farms, Montezuma, topped the statewide irrigated division with a no-till entry that made 88.82 bushels per acre. Longenecker Farm, Abilene, won the value contest with 66.4 cents per bushel of increased value (7.2% over the cash price). This year, for the first time, the highest protein content also earned special recognition, and that went to Chris Bodenhausen, Muscotah, whose entry was 37.3% protein. Complete results and award photos are available via https://KansasSoybeans.org/
Participants then heard three K-State Research and Extension updates.
- “Getting to the Root of the Problem: Managing Sudden Death Syndrome in Kansas” by Chris Little, Ph.D., associate professor of plant pathology
- “Cover Crops for Integrated Weed Management” by Sarah Lancaster, Ph.D., weed-science specialist
- “Kansas Farm Financial Situation” by Allen Featherstone, Ph.D., head of agricultural economics
The day’s program concluded with David Schemm, Sharon Springs, state executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, who provided a special update about those programs related to commodities and disasters, natural-resources conservation, and agricultural credit.
— Kansas Soybean
For more news from Kansas, click here.