MANHATTAN – Ten families were honored as Kansas Farm Bureau’s Farm Families of the Year at Kansas Farm Bureau’s 97th Annual Meeting in Manhattan, Dec. 7.
One family in each of Kansas Farm Bureau’s 10 geographic districts is selected each year for the award. It recognizes families for their service and leadership in agriculture, Farm Bureau and their communities.
Jay and Stacy Rezac, Pottawatomie County: The Rezacs are lifetime farmers and work in partnership with Jay’s mother, Barbara Rezac, and brother and sister-in-law, Lance and Debra Rezac. Their farm consists of stocker calves, cows, sows corn, beans and wheat.
Jay and Stacy have three children, daughter Jayme and husband Corey Lundberg, son Russell and wife Tiffany, and son Matthew. Russell returned to the farm after graduating from Kansas State University and is working his way into ownership.
Jay has served on the Pottawatomie County Farm Bureau board since 2011 and has presented at Day on the Farm, as well as attending Listening Post Meetings, Day at the Statehouse and serving as a convention delegate. He currently serves on the state Resolutions Committee and as president of the Pottawatomie County Farm Bureau board.
Randall and Erin Debler, Wabaunsee County: Randall and Erin have three children, Dalton, Jacob and Anna.
The Deblers, along with their business partners, Paul and Nancy Miller, own and operate Rock Hill Ranch, Inc., which consists of a cow-calf operation along with improved grasses, alfalfa and no-till row crops.
Both Randall and Erin have served on the Wabaunsee County Farm Bureau Board and as delegates at the Kansas Farm Bureau Annual Meeting.
Randall served as president of the Wabaunsee County Farm Bureau Board and currently serves as the Policy Committee chair. He has also served as the state Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee conference chair and state Beef Advisory Committee chair.
Erin currently serves as the health and safety chair for the Wabaunsee County Farm Bureau and has helped with presenting for Ag in the Classroom. She also served as state YF&R Committee secretary.
Layne and Alicia Sterling, Allen County: The Sterlings have three children, Morgan, Mason and Mylan. With 23 years experience in the agriculture industry, Layne got his start raising swine on a farrow-to-finish operation with his parents while in high school, in addition to crop ground. Now, Layne and Alicia are involved in grain, cattle and hay production as well as row crops.
Layne has served on the Allen County Farm Bureau board for eight years and also served as president for six years. He has attended the Presidents Trip to D.C., Day at the Statehouse in Topeka and multiple district and local events.
The Sterlings say they feel Farm Bureau’s role in the future will center around expanding and maintaining urban consumers’ knowledge of the importance of production agriculture.
Rick and Carole Schlender, Harvey County: With 40 years in agriculture production, Rick started out on his family farm, San-D-Akr Farms, before owning a custom harvesting business and a 25-year career as a crop production specialist, branch manager and agronomist and precision agriculture specialist for a local Co-op. Now the Schlender farm consists of wheat, corn, soybeans, milo and alfalfa, along with a crop consulting business.
The Schlenders have one daughter, Erica. Rick served on the Harvey County Farm Bureau board for six years, including three years as president and two years as vice-president. He currently serves as the policy chair for the Harvey County Farm Bureau, as well as serving on the Farm Bureau Feedgrains Ag Advisory Committee and the Technology Committee.
Rick enjoys speaking to children about agriculture at Earth Days, Kansas Days and Ag Fest at the Harvey County Fair, as well as helping with the Harvey County Farm Safety Day. He has served as a Farm Bureau annual meeting delegate for seven years and represented Farm Bureau on the South Central Kansas REAP Natural Resource Committee.
Jim and Sarah Schmidt, Geary County:The Schmidts have four children, Rylie, Elijah, Elaina and Ava.
Jim and Sarah own and operate Double KS Farms, Inc, with Sarah’s cousin. Their farm consists of no-till corn, soybeans, wheat and milo. Jim and Sarah are both fifth-generation farmers.
The Schmidts served on the Young Farmers and Ranchers State Committee and Jim served as conference chair for the leadership conference and later as the committee chair. They also served on the Geary County Farm Bureau Board where Jim leads the Safety and Health Committee and Sarah chairs the Marketing Committee.
Jim has served as an advocate by doing radio spots on KMAN to promote Farm Bureau and Young Farmers and Ranchers, as well as serving on the Farm Bureau Technology Committee and the AFBF Technology Committee. Sarah helped with Farm Bureau’s first Zest-N-Zing and serves on the Farm Bureau Membership and Promotion Committee.
Stanley and Donna Kats, Phillips County: The Kats’ farm consists of wheat, milo, summer fallow and grass, along with a cow-calf operation and a herd of feeder cattle.
An active Farm Bureau member for 60 years, Stanley has served on the Phillips County Farm Bureau board as president and vice president. He has also served on the Environmental Natural Resources committee and the Resolutions Committee. He has attended Day at the Statehouse for seven years and has served as a voting delegate at the Farm Bureau annual meeting.
Stanley believes Farm Bureau can serve as a lookout for the government regulations that can affect the agriculture industry.
Kyle and Bonny Schartz, Barton County: The Schartzes have two children, Bailey and Kaleb, and they have been involved in agriculture production for 36 years.
Kyle and Bonny, along with their children, own and operate a farm consisting of alfalfa, wheat, corn and milo.
Kyle served on the Barton County Farm Bureau board as president and vice president. He has served on the Hay and Forage committee and he and Bonny have attended AFBF and Presidents Trip to DC multiple times. They have also helped with the local farm safety day.
The Schartzes say Farm Bureau’s future role is to stay active in all forms of government and promote agriculture to consumers.
Wayne and Donna Powell, Meade County: The Powell farm consists of wheat, milo and corn.
Wayne has served on the Meade County Farm Bureau board for seven years and as the president for three years. He also serves as the district 8 representative for Farm Bureau’s Environmental and Natural Resource committee. Wayne and Donna attended the 2013 Farm Bureau Presidents Trip to D.C.
The Powells feel Farm Bureau’s most important role is serving as a voice for farmers and ranchers in the political field.
Wade and Tammy Tucker, Stanton County: Wade and Tammy have two children, Jalen and Jordyn. The Tuckers’ farm consists of corn, wheat and sorghum, as well as cattle. They received the Banker’s Conservation Award in 2013 for their efforts to conserve their ground and improve their soil.
The Tuckers have served on the Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and Wade has served as chairman as well. They also served on the American Farm Bureau Federation committee for several years. Tammy currently serves on the Stanton Country Farm Bureau board as the chair of the Women’s Committee and the Membership Committee. Both Wade and Tammy have served as president of the Stanton County Farm Bureau board.
Wade and Tammy say Farm Bureau’s most important job is serving as a voice for people in agriculture in state and national government.
Ken and Rhonda Higley, Rawlins County: The Higleys have three children, Matalyn, Gracyn and Emmersyn. Their farm consists of wheat, milo and summer fallow as well as a cow-calf operation.
Ken has served on the Rawlins County Farm Bureau board of directors for 13 years and has served as president and vice-president. He has attended the Presidents Trip to D.C. six times and Rhonda and their children have attended three times. Ken has also served on the state oilseed board. Rhonda has served as the county coordinator for the past six years.
The Higleys say they see Farm Bureau as a great resource for educating farmers and ranchers about the latest information about their practices and educating consumers about the agriculture industry.
Kansas Farm Bureau represents grassroots agriculture. Established in 1919, this non-profit advocacy organization supports farm families who earn their living in a changing industry.