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Kansas State breaks ground on livestock event facility

Kansas Digest: Sorghum checkoff elects leaders; KFB leaders named; Young Farmers to meet.

Jennifer M. Latzke

January 3, 2024

2 Min Read
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Bilbrey Family Event Center, Dec. 15 included several dignitaries
GROUNDBREAKING: The groundbreaking ceremony for the Bilbrey Family Event Center on Dec. 15 included several dignitaries. Pictured are (left to right) Kala Ade, representing GH2 Architects; Jeanne Mabery, representing the Marvin Robinson and Jack Goldstein charitable trusts; Kansas State senior Brody Nemecek; Justin Janssen, K-State College of Veterinary Medicine; Mike Day, department head for K-State Animal Sciences and Industry; Marty Vanier, project donor; Ernie Minton, Eldon Gideon Dean of K-State's College of Agriculture; K-State President Richard Linton; Carl Ice, Kansas Board of Regents vice chair; Gregg Willems KSU Foundation president and CEO; JP and Theresa Bilbrey, project donors; and K-State senior Kristen Kahler. Courtesy of K-State Research and Extension News Service

Kansas State University broke ground Dec. 15 on a new animal science event center that is part of its $220 million agriculture innovation initiative. The facility, located adjacent to the Stanley Stout Center on the north end of the Manhattan campus, is in the area that will be known as the Edge District.

KSU Foundation President and CEO Greg Willems announced during the ceremony that the new facility will be named the Bilbrey Family Event Center, and the indoor arena will be the Tee Jay Quarter Horses Walker Family Arena. When it’s completed in August 2025, the new facility will house livestock competitions, judging competitions and other large youth events.

The campus is undergoing massive change in the agricultural programs. This facility will join the new Agronomy Research and Innovation Center, across from the Snyder Family Football Stadium. Next spring, the university will break ground on the Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation, a new facility that will connect Weber and Call halls.

Sorghum checkoff elects leadership

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program board of directors elected Kendall Hodgson, Little River, Kan., as the chairman for 2024. The board also swore in four new directors appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack during its December annual meeting.

The newly elected USCP executive committee and board of directors includes:

  • Ethan Miller, vice chairman, Columbia, Mo.

  • Kim Baldwin, treasurer, Inman, Kan.

  • Zack Rendel, secretary, Miami, Okla.

  • James Jay Haase, at-large member, Eads, Colo.

  • Ethan J. Miller, at-large member, Columbia, Mo.

  • Tracy Zink, at-large member, Indianola, Neb.

  • David K. Schemm, Kansas member, Sharon Springs, Kan.

  • Brian Adamek, Texas member, Victoria, Texas

  • Scott Irlbeck, Texas member, Lubbock, Texas (two-year term)

Kansas Farm Bureau elects leaders

Kansas Farm Bureau members gathered in Manhattan in December for their annual business meeting. They elected Glenn Brunkow, Pottawatomie County, as vice president.

Others elected to the board of directors included Tim Tyson, Linn County; Dan Schmidt, Marshall County; Jim Schmidt, McPherson County; and Jim Sipes, Stanton County.

Laura Haffner, Ellis County, was reelected as chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee.

Young Farmers and Ranchers to meet

The Kansas Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference will be Feb. 2-4 at the Manhattan Conference Center in Manhattan, Kan.

The event will focus on connecting members ages 18 to 35 with practical tools and resources to add value to their daily work, expanding peer and professional networks, and providing encouragement and motivation to keep pushing forward in a tough time for agriculture.

This conference has something for all young people connected to agriculture, on and off the farm, and will empower attendees to return home with the tools and knowledge to make positive changes for their farms, families and communities. The registration deadline is Jan. 4.

Learn more at kfb.org.

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Next Generation

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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