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Ag Report



Larry Benyshek (B.S. ’69) received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry. He has had a notable career as a researcher, professor, university department head (University of Georgia), and entrepreneur (Benyshek and Hough Consulting Services).


Sam Hands (B.S. ’70 animal sciences) was honored on March 1 as the Stockman of the Year at the 48th Annual Stockmen’s Dinner. The Hands family operates Triangle Ranch in southwest Kansas.

Jerry McReynolds (B.S. ’70 agricultural economics) received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from Kansas Farm Bureau at the organization’s annual banquet.

Jerry Meng (B.S. ’73 agricultural economics) retired after 44 years in community banking and ag lending. He spent the past five years as senior vice president of First Security Bank in Overbrook. 


Clint Rusk (B.S. ’80 animal sciences), head of the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University, was a featured speaker at the 2018 Kansas Cattle Drive.

Ron Graber (B.S. ’82, MS ’85 animal sciences), K-State Research and Extension watershed specialist, was named a Top 10 exceptional extension specialist by Successful Farming.

Ron Honig (B.S. ’87 agricultural education) joined the staff of K-State Research and Extension, Stevens County as an agriculture and natural resources agent. He previously worked for Seaman Crop Consulting and South Dakota State University.

Jeff Chaltas (B.S. ’85, horticulture) has published a book of 25 one-panel cartoons called Dogbone Boulevard.

Marlin Rice (Ph.D. ’87), product biology technical manager with Syngenta, was named Distinguished Alumnus by the Department of Entomology. He has worked as an entomologist at Texas A&M University, University of Idaho, Iowa State University, senior research scientist at DuPont Pioneer, and product biology technical manager at Syngenta. 

Gregg Doud (B.S. ’89 animal sciences, M.S. ’91 agricultural economics), president of the Commodity Markets Council was the featured speaker at the 105th Cattlemen’s Day. In September, he was honored as Distinguished Alumnus by the Department of Agricultural Economics. He was recently confirmed as U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.


Jill Zimmerman (B.S. ’95 animal sciences) is president of the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership, Inc. program. Class XIV will visit Cuba in March 2019.

Nicole and Randall Small (B.S. ‘94 agronomy) received the 2018 Good Steward Award from the National Corn Growers Association at the Commodity Class convention in Anaheim, California. The award recognizes farmers who demonstrate superior commitment to sustainable farming practices.


Tracey Mann (B.S. ’00 agricultural economics) was appointed lieutenant governor of Kansas. He served as K-State student body president from 1998 to 1999.

Courtney Meyers (B.S. ’03 agricultural communications and journalism), an associate professor and graduate studies coordinator with Texas Tech University’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, has been named a 2018 Integrated Scholar by Texas Tech.

Rizana Mohamed Mahroof (Ph.D. ’04 entomology), assistant professor at South Carolina State University, received the 2018 Governor’s awards for: Excellence in Scientific Research, Excellence in Scientific Awareness, the Young Researcher Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, and Excellence in Scientific Research at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution. 

Nathan Smit (B.S. ’08 food science and industry) received the Learner Achievement Award from the National University Technology Network.

Sheridan Wimmer (B.S. ’08 agricultural communications and journalism) is the communications and social media manager at Kansas Farm Bureau.

Robyn Schmitz (B.S. ’09 horticulture), owner of High Prairie Landscape Group, LLC, was selected for a Thinking Bigger Business Media Inc.’s 25 Under 25 Award. This is the first time a horticultural company has been recognized with this award.


Cody Crowther (B.S.’11 horticulture) was named 2017 Assistant Superintendent of the Year by the North Texas Golf Course Superintendent Association of America. He works at the Dallas Country Club.

Shannon Rogge (BS. ’14 animal sciences) joined K-State Research and Extension, Sedgwick County as a 4-H Youth Development agent. She transferred from Pawnee County where she had been the agriculture and natural resources agent. 

Lindsay Shorter (B.S. ’15 agribusiness) is the new K-State Research and Extension, Greenwood County agriculture and natural resources agent. She had been a grain originator at Gavilon Grain LLC in Wichita.

Kaliramesh Siliveru (Ph.D. ’16 grain science) is an assistant professor in the Department of Grain Science and Industry, working with undergraduate and graduate students in the milling science and management program. He previously was a research associate in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Faith Orth (B.S. ’17 horticulture) joined K-State Research and Extension as the Hamilton County community vitality agent.

In Memoriam

William H. Borst (B.S.’50 agronomy), 92, Overland Park, died Sept. 30, 2017. From 1953 to 1990, he worked as a county club agent in Osborne and Wyandotte counties then as an area extension 4-H specialist.

Kathryn Morton Krista (BS ’99 ASI, DVM ’03), 41, Bluemont, Virginia, was killed in a car accident on Jan. 5, 2018. She was an ambulatory veterinarian at Piedmont Equine Practice in The Plains, Virginia.

Emery Castle (B.S. ’48, M.S. ’50 agricultural economics), 94, Portland, Oregon, died Oct. 31, 2017. He spent most of his career at Oregon State University as a professor, department head, dean of faculty, and dean of the Graduate School. He received a Distinguished Service Award from the K-State College of Agriculture and spoke at the May 2012 commencement.