Two Pratt County farms received "Century" designations at Thursday's double celebration for the Farm Bureau organization.
By Fran Brownell
Special to the Tribune
Pratt County Farm Bureau Association members had a double celebration at their Annual Dinner Meeting Thursday at the Pratt County 4-H Center where friends met and awards were presented.
Over 100 PCFBA members celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of both the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Pratt County Farm Bureau during the program that featured Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, Professor Emeritus K-State Ag Economics, as guest speaker and Sen. Jerry Moran as guest.
Kansas Farm Bureau President Rich Felts and District 7 Board Member Keith Miller were also special guests.
Topic for Flinchbaugh’s speech was “US Economy: The Facts Behind the Numbers.”
Dwane and Sue DeWeese, whose membership dates to 1959, were honored as District 7 Kansas Farm Bureau’s Farm Family of the Year.
“Their vision for Farm Bureau is to be an advocate for their way of life, to continue to be honest about what they do every day, to bring food to the mass of people,” said PCFBA Board Member Dave Snider who presented the award.
“We need to continue to tell our story to people about our way of life,” said Dwane DeWeese, who was elected to a two-year term as board member, along with Josie Fox, during the business portion of the meeting.
Pratt County Century Farm awards, presented by PCFBA Board Member Jackie Mundt, went to The Piester Ranch and Stan and Sharon McAhren and son Travis, based on continued family ownership dating from 1919.
The Piester Ranch award was presented to Ron and Brenda Piester and sons Austin and Andrew, who raise beef cattle on 3,700-plus acres about 25 miles southwest of Pratt near Coats.
“We’ve always been a livestock operation, but we used to have a few crops on the side,” Ron said.
The 2000-acre McAhren property, located in the Byers area near the Pleasant Plains Church and Cemetery in northwest Pratt County, produces corn, beans, wheat, along with some dryland crops.
“Farm Bureau is important to us because it’s a voice for agriculture. They fight for fair markets and that means a lot to us,” Stan McAhren said.
“Plus, we like the insurance,” Sharon McAhren said.
Mundt said both families will receive a display sign designating the properties with “Century Farm” status.
“Many people associate farm bureau with insurance and we do have our partnership with the insurance company as a benefit but we are really an agricultural advocacy organization,” Mundt said. “Our grassroots structure is very effective at advocating for policy that will help keep farmers profitable and thriving. In Pratt where agriculture makes up 70 percent of the local economy, Farm Bureau is a very important organization.”
Mundt said that since the year 2000, Kansas Farm Bureau has recognized more than 2,800 family farms. Pratt Farm Bureau also supports agricultural education through programs like Ag in the Classroom and Kids Day on the Farm.
Vice President Dalton Hodgkinson reported the 2018 membership year ended with 821 members, which included 445 associate members and 376 voting members.
Weston Goyen, currently serving as secretary-treasurer, was elected to second two-year term as board member as was Nick Panek.
The PCFBA Board is rounded out by Adam Hampel, Dave Snider and Cherie Riffey, who were also in attendance.
A presentation about a new KFB health benefit being offered in 2020 was made by Kansas Farm Bureau District 7 representative Matt McCabe.
Pratt County Farm Bureau Agent Cheri Griffin and sales associates Mary Anne Stratford, Chris Westerhaus, Jayme Roach and Mellissa Craft were also recognized.
As part of the centennial celebration, a special meal was catered by Wheatland Cafe from Hudson for those in attendance.