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Wheat industry mourns loss of colleague

Mark Fowler’s career in flour milling took him from the Kansas prairies to around the globe and back.

February 28, 2023

3 Min Read
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WHEAT INDUSTRY LEADER DIES: Kansas Wheat reported Feb. 22 the sudden passing of Mark Fowler, a milling industry leader and U.S. Wheat Associates vice president of global technical services, at his home in Manhattan, Kan. Fowler spent his career providing technical expertise to flour millers here in the United States and around the globe.IakovKalinin /Getty images

Kansas Wheat announced Feb. 22 the sudden passing of Mark Fowler, a milling industry leader and U.S. Wheat Associates vice president of global technical services. Fowler died at his home in Manhattan, Kan., Feb. 20.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mark in various capacities in the wheat industry over the past 20 years,” said Justin Gilpin, Kansas Wheat CEO. “His impact and network of friends reached around the globe. He was a strong asset to the U.S. wheat industry and farmers, and a friend who will be dearly missed.”

“Mark’s passing is a great personal and professional loss for our organization and the wheat farmers we serve,” said Vince Peterson, USW president. “Mark embraced his work and our mission with enthusiasm; as a result, our technical experts are better equipped and motivated partners for our many customers across the world. Our most sincere sympathy goes out to Mark’s family and to the wheat community he loved.”

Wheat at heart

Fowler grew up on his family’s farm near Emporia, Kan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in milling science and management from Kansas State University and later returned to complete a master’s degree in agricultural economics.

His career began as a flour miller — first for Cargill Inc. and then Seaboard Corp. In those roles, Mark ran flour mills; worked on projects in several developing countries, including Ecuador, Guyana and Haiti; and worked as a technical director of the Africa Division within Seaboard’s Overseas Group in Durban, South Africa.

Later, Mark spent 12 years back at Kansas State as a milling specialist and associate director at the IGP Institute, in the university’s Department of Grain Science and Industry.

As a highly respected flour milling expert, Mark also served as a technical milling consultant for USW, as well as the Northern Crops Institute (NCI), allowing him to become well acquainted with many USW staff and overseas customers.

Before joining USW originally as vice president of overseas operations, Mark was the president and CEO of Farmer Direct Foods Inc. a farmer-owned flour milling company in New Cambria, Kan. In 2017 he returned to USW as vice president of global technical services.

Service length, breadth

Throughout his career, Fowler once said he had experienced the global impact of the milling industry from several perspectives and that gave him insight into helping friends and colleagues — in Kansas or around the globe — advance the U.S. Wheat export market development mission. His dedicated service, mentoring and friendship were the common theme of many of his colleagues’ memories of Fowler.

Fowler was 52 years old and is survived by his wife, Courtney; their daughters Piper and Paige; his mother, Ruth Fowler; and his sisters Rhonda (Scott) Gordon and Amy Fowler. Funeral services were Feb. 25, and burial will be at a later date. Obituary and memorial information will be posted at robertsblue.com. Condolences can be sent to robertsblue.com; mailed to Kansas Wheat, 1990 Kimball Ave, Manhattan, KS 66502; or emailed to [email protected] to be shared with the family.

Source: Kansas Wheat

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