34th Annual Farm Forum Highlights
The Farm Forum is an opportunity to share information on current agriculture topics that affect us all. It is also a time to recognize dedicated ambassadors that help promote agriculture, making a difference in our community and world. It brings the agriculture and business sectors together, for education, for networking, and for the possibilities of future collaboration.
While attendees filled up on a great hot breakfast prepared by the McPherson Chamber Agriculture Committee, Dale Ladd presented the 2018 Friend of Agriculture award to Sheila Corn after sharing stories about her life-long contributions to the success of agriculture and commending her as a resilient and articulate ambassador for modern agriculture. Dale described Sheila as 100% “farm girl” who grew up on a diversified dairy, beef & crop farm, graduated from KSU and later raised 8 children with her late husband David on an 80-acre farm with everything from sheep, poultry and cattle to garden and feed crops. Sheila continues to grow produce for the farmers market, takes an active leadership role with the McPherson Co. Extension office board, 4-H Fair, Reno County Farmers Market, is a substitute teacher at Inman and is passionate about promoting agriculture.
Ellis & Rita Yoder, who received the 2018 Farm Family of the Year award during the Farm Forum, also have a long history of agriculture pursuits and dedication to helping others. Ellis & Rita Yoder homestead west of McPherson on the same farm that has been in the Yoder family for 120 years. Ellis earned his agriculture degree, served in the Air Force for 6 years then returned to McPherson where he and his wife Rita raised their children, all whom are KSU grads in Engineering. Rita, also a KSU grad, spent many years as an Extension Home Economist then taught pre-school. The Yoder’s continue to farm 1440 acres of crops and for the past 11 years, have participated with Growing Hope Globally to make a lasting impact. Ellis described the program as a partnership with U.S. farmers (who donate proceeds from appointed acres) and churches who help raise money that goes to finance agriculture programs overseas, teaching people how to grow their own food.
Dr. Dan Thomson, a 3rd generation veterinarian, Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology and the host of a nationally aired veterinary television show entitled “Doc Talk,” was the key speaker at the Farm Forum. Thomson emphasized the importance of advocating for agriculture to the 98.3 percent of Americans who are not farmers and ranchers. With the small number of people involved in the agriculture field, people are absorbing information from the media which is often ill-informed on agriculture production and health related facts, making it vital for farmers and ranchers to promote the real story.
Part of that story is shared with McPherson County 3rd and 4th graders, through a program called Ag in the Classroom, teaching 320 children each year about where their food comes from and the role farming and ranching plays in their life. The McPherson Chamber Agriculture Committee is proud to be a partner of Ag in the Classroom and other programs to promote the importance of agriculture. Jeff Smith, Ag Committee chair, shared information about the McPherson Chamber AFA Leadership and Academic Scholarship for McPherson County. The scholarship is a partnership with AFA to support higher education and leadership development of future agriculture producers and rural business leaders. Find out more about the scholarship at www.mcphersonchamber.org and mark your calendar for the Mac County Round-Up 5K/1 mile fun run on Saturday, April 20th in Canton, KS with proceeds going to the scholarship fund.
Special thanks to our Farm Forum sponsors and all those who continue to make a difference in the future of agriculture: PrairieLand Partners, First Bank Kansas, Allan & Deanna Sents, Emprise Bank, Peoples Bank & Trust, Zeitlow Distributing, Krehbiels Specialty Meats, McPherson Eye Care, Home State Bank, American AgCredit, Ken Cotton DDS, Esping Farms, Ag Seeds, Nelson Ag Seeds, Phillips Seed Farms, Nutrien, Cooperative Grain & Supply, Mid Kansas Coop, Penner Seeds, Baldwin Seeds and Iron Horse Seed.