1. K-State home
  2. »Ag Report
  3. »Alumni
  4. »Notes

Ag Report



Calvin Drake (B.S. ’55, Ph.D. ’64, animal sciences), professor emeritus, received the World Simmental-Fleckvieh Federation Golden Book Award from the American Simmental Association.


Richard Janssen (B.S. ’64 animal sciences) was named Stockman of the Year at the 47th Annual Stockmen’s Dinner on March 2.

Kenneth Sorensen (M.S. ’68, Ph.D. ’70), emeritus professor at North Carolina State University, was named the 2016 Department of Entomology Distinguished Alumnus. He has worked heavily with fruit and vegetable production in the southeastern U.S., as well as improving vegetable pest management in Central America, the Caribbean, and India.


Kelli Cox (B.S. ’86, M.S. ’88 agricultural economics, EDD ’08 educational leadership) accepted the position of vice provost for institutional effectiveness at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She previously was director of the K-State Office of Planning and Analysis.


Darren Hibdon (B.S. ’91 agricultural education), Frontier District crop production agent, earned a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Jonie James (B.S. ’91 animal sciences) is an extension agricultural economist for the Kansas Farm Management Association office in Hutchinson. She previously was the K-State Research and Extension – McPherson County agriculture and natural resources agent.

Wendy Fink (B.S. ’92 anthropology, M.S. ’98 agronomy/history) was named director, food, agriculture, and natural resources for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Richard Fechter (B.S. ’93, M.S., ’00 agribusiness), Rolling Prairie District director and agriculture and natural resources agent, was elected vice president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents

Mark Dikeman (B.S. ’96 animal sciences, M.S. ’02 agricultural economics) is the new associate director of the Kansas Farm Management Association. He previously was the coordinator of professional development and training for KFMA.


Jesse McCurry (B.S. ’00 agricultural journalism, M.S. ’02 speech) is the executive director for Kansas Grain Sorghum. He previously was regional director for the National Sorghum Producers and United Sorghum Checkoff Program. 

Sharon Thielen (B.S. ’02 agribusiness; M.S. ’05, Ph.D. ’12 curriculum and instruction) is educational curriculum manager for the Kansas Corn Commission.

Jeanne Falk Jones (B.S. ’02, M.S. ’04 agronomy), northwest area multicounty specialist, was a national communications awards finalist in the computer generated graphics presentation category from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. 

Holly Dickman (B.S. ’02 horticulture), Ellis County horticulture agent, earned an Achievement Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Brandi Miller (B.S. ’05 bakery science and management, MS ’13 adult and occupational education) is associate director of the IGP Institute following an 11-month appointment as the interim associate director. She also serves as the IGP Institute online education and professional development coordinator.

Sandy Klein (B.S. ’06 agricultural economics, M.S. ’11 curriculum and instruction) is now assistant dean for academic programs. She previously was event coordinator for the College of Agriculture.

Stacy Mayo (B.S. ’07 agricultural communications and journalism) is director of industry relations for the Kansas Corn Commission.

Kimberly (B.S. ’07 animal sciences) and Jeremy Young (DVM ’06) announced the birth of daughter, Ryleigh Makenna, on Dec. 13, 2016.

Lindsay Bryant (B.S. ’08 agricultural economics/animal sciences) is an extension agricultural economist for the Kansas Farm Management Association office in Dodge City. 


Dena Bunnel (B.S. ’10 agricultural communications/B.A. political science) joined the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss as program coordinator. She holds M.S. degrees in agricultural and resource economics and international agricultural development from the University of California, Davis. Prior to attending UC Davis, she served as an agricultural advisor for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Derek deBoer (B.S. ’10 horticulture) is the garden store manager for Blueville Nursery Inc. in Manhattan.

Ty Josefiak (B.S. ’10 agribusiness) and wife Kayla (B.S. ’14 education) announce the birth of daughter, Nora Ann, on July 9, 2016. Ty is a farmer with Josefiak Farms.

Aaron Yoder (B.S. ’11 horticulture) joined the Kansas Forest Service as an agriculture technician with the Conservation Tree Planting Program.

Alyson Lister (B.S. ’12 animal sciences, M.S ’14 counseling and student development) is events coordinator for the College of Agriculture.

Nicole Crosson (B.S. ’13 agricultural communications and journalism) joined K-State Research and Extension, Wyandotte County as a 4-H youth development agent. She previously worked as creative services coordinator for the American Hereford Association.

Ashley Zelenka (B.S. ’15 animal sciences), first-year veterinary-medicine student, was chosen for the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas, which provides financial incentive for veterinary students to practice in rural areas of the state upon their graduation.

In Memoriam

Cecil Eyestone (B.S. ’44 agricultural economics), 96, Manhattan, died Oct. 1, 2016. He was involved with 4-H (1946–1977) as Montgomery County club agent, assistant state club leader, and extension specialist. He helped start the Manhattan Farmers Market and establish a World War II memorial on campus. In 2008, he was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C.

Harold Brown (B.S. ’50 agricultural journalism, M.S. ’69 education), 88, Council Grove, died March 1, 2017. He worked for Indiana Farm Bureau, owned a poultry business, taught elementary school, then became a minister (1970–2013).

W. Dale Eustace (B.S. ’59 feed science; M.S. ’62, Ph.D. ’67 milling science), 79, North Newton, died Jan. 31, 2017. He worked in the milling industry with International Multifoods, General Foods Corp., and Peavey Co. before joining the grain science and industry department in 1973. In addition to teaching and research, he presented seminars in Europe on the quality of hard red winter and conducted surveys on the milling industry in Bolivia and the corn milling industry in South Korea. He retired in 2006.

Charles V. Hall (Ph.D. ’60 entomology), 93, Parker, Colorado, died Feb. 18, 2017. He was a horticulture faculty member from 1953 to 1974 and developed several watermelon varieties, including Crimson Sweet that is now grown in more than 50 countries. He retired from Iowa State University in 1990 as head of the horticulture department.

Lowell Moser (B.S. ’61 agricultural economics), 82, Effingham, died Oct. 6, 2016. He worked as a soil conservation planner for the USDA in Holton and a district conservationist in Atchison County. He raised Holstein, Hereford, and Angus cattle and showed them at local, district, and state fairs.

Dale Twaddell (B.S. ’68 agricultural education) 71, Beloit, died, Feb. 7, 2017. He taught high school agricultural classes in the Randolph-Blue Valley and Phillipsburg school districts. He later worked for Farmland Industries in Kansas City, Missouri; a fertilizer plant in Burlington and a COOP grain elevator in Kirk, Colorado; farmed in Beloit; and advertising sales for the Solomon Valley Post and Waconda Trader.

James “Jim” Gleason (B.S. ’73 animal sciences), 76, Manhattan, died Sept. 25, 2016. As a young boy, he helped with the family farm near Spearville, producing a strong work ethic and love of farming.

Phillip Knight (B.S. ’82 animal sciences), 56, Lyons, died Aug. 22, 2016. He was a farmer/cattleman and a member the Kansas Livestock Association and Alpha Gamma Rho at K-State.



From left, Ryan Rush, Brian Braden, Joanne Rush, and Joseph Hornung used succulents to decorate the ESPN Super Bowl set in Houston. Shortly before the Super Bowl, ESPN called Thriving Botanicals owner Joanne Rush to design and rent arrangements for their Super Bowl coverage. “We did the install on Tuesday, and it was absolutely amazing,” she said. Joanne ‘10 and husband Ryan ’08 are both K-State horticulture graduates. They recruited K-State friends Braden ‘08 and Hornung, a master’s student, to help. “Business has been going really well. I always give K-State a shout out when people ask my background,” she said. “I couldn’t have done this business without my great education and internships.”