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Kansas Soybean Expo 2014 Informs, Inspires Attendees



More than 250 soybean enthusiasts gathered Jan. 8 in Topeka for the Kansas Soybean Expo 2014. The Kansas Soybean Association (KSA) organized the annual event, with financial support from the Kansas Soybean Commission (KSC), to coincide with the Topeka Farm Show at the Kansas Expocentre.
 
"It was a great day that inspired us to be involved in our industry and informed us about what is coming in the new year," said KSA District 2 Director and 2013 Second Vice President Raylen Phelon, Melvern, who chaired the Expo planning committee. "Interacting with our colleagues and industry partners from across the state gives us a good idea of what's going on with yields, markets, best production practices and a lot more."
 
The opening session featured an update moderated by Gary Kilgore, Chanute, a Kansas State University (K-State) professor emeritus of agronomy. The presenters were William Schapaugh, Ph.D., K-State professor of soybean breeding; David Mengel, Ph.D., K-State professor of soil fertility and nutrient management; and Xiuzhi Susan Sun, Ph.D., K-State distinguished professor of grain science and industry. Schapaugh discussed physiological and spectral parameters in soybean associated with seed yield; Mengel addressed phosphorus, secondary and micronutrient fertilization in Kansas; and Sun shared the latest information about biobased materials and products from soybeans.
 
The audience also heard about sustainability and international opportunities from Jim Hershey, executive director of the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health; Brent Babb, regional director for Europe and the Middle East at the U.S. Soybean Export Council; and Jody Longshore, director of corporate responsibility for Cargill.
 
Bruce Vincent -- a third-generation logger from Montana, president of Communities for a Great Northwest, executive director of Provider Pals and co-owner of Environomics -- presented the keynote address, "With Vision, There Is Hope." He spoke about the "collision of visions" for rural America and how farmers can protect their interests. Many urbanites want to protect rural areas, he said, but they only see a choice between development without concern for the environment and no economic development at all.
 
"Rural America is being protected to death," he said. "The American public is making the right choice, but they're being given the wrong things to choose from."
 
Duane Toews, farm director for KFRM-AM 550 in Clay Center, was the master of ceremonies at the luncheon, where the featured speaker was Gov. Sam Brownback. The governor commended the soybean industry's economic contributions, variety of end products, and strong values and work ethic.
 
To open the awards and recognitions, KSA President Terry Reschke, Hiawatha, congratulated and thanked Marvin Wahl, Oswego, and Jim Zwonitzer, Horton, for being the association's top recruiters.
 
Josh Falk, Robinson, who represented Kansas in the 2011 DuPont Young Leaders program, introduced Kregg Rennie, Columbus, as the 2014 young leader.
 
Reschke followed by congratulating Gail Fuller, Emporia, for winning the American Soybean Association's national Conservation Legacy Award in 2013. He presented Mengel (Manhattan) with the Kansas Soybean Meritorious Service Award and recognized Kilgore (Chanute) for his role in founding KSA 40 years ago.
 
Kilgore then took the podium to announce the district and overall winners in the Kansas Soybean Yield and Value Contests. Getman Brothers Farm, Columbus, won the value contest with a protein and oil premium of $0.94 per bushel. Sam Miller, Haven, won the irrigated yield contest with 92.12 bushels per acre. Gleue Farms, LeRoy, was the yield contest's overall dryland winner with 85.69 bushels per acre. 
 
Next, Reschke presided over the KSA Annual Meeting, which included the approval of 2014 policy resolutions and the board of directors elections. The voting members present elected Phelon (Melvern) as the District 2 director; Gail Kueser, Garnett, as the District 3 director; and Dwight Meyer, Hiawatha, as a director-at-large. They left the District 6 directorship vacant, so the board will appoint a director at its next meeting, March 17.
 
After a biodiesel-industry update from Tom Verry, director of outreach and development for the National Biodiesel Board, the afternoon session focused on planning for the future. Darin Newsom, DTN senior analyst, presented "Last Man Standing." He said the soybean market continues to indicate a bullish view of long-term supply and demand. As 2014 begins, he continued, soybean is the last grain market standing, yet it also could fall by year's end.
 
Following the Expo's closing reception, the KSA board met to elect officers for 2014. The team includes Reschke (Hiawatha), president; Phelon (Melvern), first vice president; Lucas Heinen, Everest, second vice president; Meyer (Hiawatha), secretary; Gary Robbins, Emmett, treasurer; and Charles Atkinson, Great Bend, chairman.

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