Nine young Kansas farmers completed Kansas Corn’s Corn Corps, where young farmers expand their network and knowledge of the corn industry, and grow in their business expertise. The participants were recognized at the 2019 Kansas Corn Symposium.
This year’s Corn Corps graduates are David and Alicia Allen, Smith Cattle Co., Sharon Springs; Ben Bellar, Bellar Farm Inc., Howard; Hayden Guetterman, Guetterman Brothers Family Farms, Bucyrus; Sara Ellison, Marquette; Garrett and Arissa Kennedy, Knopf Farms/Tri-Valley Seed & Services, Gypsum; Kyler Millershaski, MK Farms, Lakin; and Chris Ostmeyer, Ostmeyer Family Farms, Park City.
This is the second class to graduate from the program since its start in 2015. The third class of Kansas Corn Corps was selected in October. The program was patterned off successful young corn farmer development programs being conducted in other corn states.
The farmers participated in three sessions over an 18-month period, plus a domestic agriculture trip. Overall program objectives include the farmers learning:
- how they fit into their farm
- how to progress as an individual
- how their farm fits into the industry
- what opportunities and challenges they face in the industry
- how they can progress in the corn industry
The first session focused on the idea of growing as an individual and as a farm. The second session focused on learning how participants can grow and improve their farming operations from employee engagement to differentiating their farm brand.
The domestic trip consisted of visits to Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. During the trip, they gained a better understanding of how they fit into the larger production picture and how to effectively engage consumers.
In the third session, the Corn Corps participants focused on communications and marketing, becoming more informed about how they can tell their story and how Kansas Corn is communicating with consumers.
“We are proud of the graduates in the Corn Corps Class 2,” says Stacy Mayo-Martinez, Kansas Corn director of industry relations. “We appreciate the time they have committed to learning and growing as individuals and allowing us to bring them information that gets them thinking bigger. We look forward to seeing all the ways they will affect the future of the farming operations and the corn industry.”
To apply for Corn Corps, candidates must be actively involved in a Kansas corn farming operation and be a member of the Kansas Corn Growers Association. Participants must be 45 or younger, and can be either individuals or couples.