Osborn Barr Study Points to Four Key Factors Shaping America's Ag Industry

Click here to view O+B Study - Farmers of Tomorrow

Reprinted from GrowingAmerica

A study released by Osborn Barr reveals many challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the agriculture industry as the next generation prepares to take over the farm. 

The generational shift study titled "Farmers of Tomorrow: Generation Z's Future in Agriculture" is the first comprehensive study to better understand how the next generation views farming and ranching. 

The initial qualitative research results indicate the gap in attitudes, perceptions and intentions between "Gen Z" (18-to 22-years-olds with an immediate family member farming) and "BoomXY" (Baby Boomer, Generation X and millennial farmers age 28 to 74). 

O+B's Ag Advisory Council - which was created in June 2017 to examine and interpret some of agriculture's most important issues facing rural America - provided strategic guidance on the study development. Richard Fordyce, Ag Advisory Council Chairman, said this study is vital to our future and he's eager to lead more groundbreaking research. 

"A number of trends emerged, and their potential for impacting the industry are real," said Fordyce. "It's important to consider how the next generation will shape the ag industry moving forward." 

The study results identified four major factors shaping the future of agriculture: 

1. Farm Succession Expectations Differ
Of the sample surveyed, succession expectations differ between older farmers/ranchers and their children, many of whom plan to work in agribusiness.

· 71 percent of BoomXY farming parents believe at least one of their children may desire to take over their farming business someday COMPARED to 54 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds who indicate a desire to take over the family farming/ranching business some day

· For those 18- to 22-year-olds who don't currently plan to take over the family farming/ranching business, obtaining a degree in an ag-related field is viewed as a means of remaining involved in agriculture with the steady paycheck that farming often doesn't offer

"The reason I do not choose farming as a career is because I need a more steady option and also want a career that does not have such big risk and startup costs," said one Gen Z Study Respondent.

2. Gen Z Views Government Involvement More Positively
Research indicates a shift with Gen Z viewing government involvement more positively than the older age group.

· Gen Z had an overwhelmingly positive outlook when it came to government entities (USDA, EPA, FDA), far outpacing BoomXY in regard to the FDA, in particular

· 64 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds view restricted immigration policy FAVORABLY compared to just 35 percent who oppose greater immigration restrictions

"Based on this data, I believe Gen Z has more trust in government, they know the issues and they are committed to ag," said Fordyce. "They are more engaged with law makers, active in policy and want to make a difference." 

3. Ag Tech Tops the List for Gen Z
According to the study, Gen Z is more in favor of agricultural technology.

· 85 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds view existing herbicide technologies positively COMPARED TO 43 percent of farmers 28 and older

· 85 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds view existing insecticide technologies positively COMPARED TO 59 percent of farmers 28 and older

· The older age group had a more balanced opinion of organic farming, while Gen Z skewed negatively and also in favor of existing bio ag technologies

· GMOs and more advanced genetic engineering is largely perceived positively by both ag groups but even more so from Gen Z

"Gen Z seems to not be afraid of technology and even expect new advancements more than any other generation," said Fordyce. "It's a very encouraging signal for this industry, and I'm confident in our leaders of tomorrow.

4. Gen Z Prefers Peers Over Brand Names
Research shows Gen Z is less brand loyal, and more peer driven when making decisions and are more receptive to marketing messages. 

· 78 percent of the farm-raised 18-to 22-year-olds consider brand names important when it comes to purchasing farm products COMPARED TO 90 percent of BoomXY farmers/ranchers

· For ag information, Gen Z was far more receptive to information provided by their peers via social media, other farmers, network/cable TV and ag/rural radio, while the older age group favored ag print pubs, network radio and manufacturer websites

· Gen Z was much more inclined to pay attention to marketing messages, while BoomXY was not, unless it came from their dealer/retailer

"We know what we need on our farm and ultimately if it gets the job done the brand shouldn't matter," said one Gen Z survey respondent. 

This baseline data will be expanded within the next year to provide a more in depth understanding of the compelling aspects of the next generation and tomorrow's American family farm. Future key topics of exploration include ag tech adoption, food innovation and the broader issues of rural America. 

Visit RuralSpirit.com to learn more about future research and survey results.

Agricultural Business Council to Honor Two Agribusiness Leaders

March 14, 2018, KANSAS CITY, MO:  The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City will honor two of the region’s leading agricultural figures on May 15 at a luncheon in the Chamber Board Room in Kansas City’s historic Union Station.  Agricultural Business Council Chairman Robert Thompson notes the honorees are champions for agriculture in separate but very key areas in the region.  

The honorees are:

  • Lowell Mohler, former director of Missouri Department of Agriculture.  A native of Holt County, Missouri, Mohler served for 26 years as the chief administrator of the Missouri Farm Bureau.  He later served as Missouri Director of Agriculture under Governor Bob Holden.  He is a long-time member of the Missouri State Fair Commission.  He has also served on boards of the Missouri Ducks Unlimited, Missouri Conservation Foundation, and 4-H Foundation of Missouri.  He also served on the Missouri Conservation Commission from 2001 to 2009.  He has been honored by many Missouri agricultural groups, including ALOT, Missouri Ag Industries Council, and the University of Missouri Alumni Association.
  • Dr. Ken Odde has spent his career serving the animal industry including the last 10 years leading the Kansas State University Animal Sciences and Industry Department. During his tenure as department head, undergraduate enrollment grew from 793 students in 2007 to 1,226 students in 2017 while also increasing faculty and research productivity. Also, under Dr. Odde’s leadership, $32 million in new and renovated facilities were added to the department. Dr. Odde retired as department head in January 2018, today he serves in a faculty role at K-State with a research and teaching appointment. A native of South Dakota, Dr. Odde holds degrees from South Dakota University and Kansas State University.

The honorees will receive the Council’s highest award, the Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence.  “These individuals have had a positive and lasting effect on our community, said Council Chairman Thompson.  “They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish.”

The May 15 event will be held at the Chamber of Commerce Board Room in Union Station (30 W Pershing Rd in Kansas City, MO) beginning at 11:30 a.m. for networking followed by lunch at noon.  Click here for more information.

Ag Business Group Elects Thompson, Krissek as 2018 Leaders


December 13, 2017, Kansas City, MO – Robert M. Thompson, a partner with the Kansas City office of the Bryan Cave law firm, was elected chairman of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City at the group’s annual meeting held December 7.  Greg Krissek, CEO of the Kansas Corn Growers Association and Kansas Corn Commission, was elected vice chairman of the Council. 

Thompson serves as co-leader of Bryan Cave’s Food and Agribusiness Industry Group.  He served as managing partner of the firm’s Kansas City office from 2006-2012.  He is a native of Nevada, Missouri, where he and his family have an active livestock and crop business.  He holds a law degree from the University of Missouri.  He has been active in numerous civic organizations, including the American Royal.

Krissek, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, has over 24 years’ experience working with agriculture and ethanol sectors.  Prior to being named CEO of Kansas Corn in 2014, his previous stints included executive positions with Kansas Department of Agriculture, ICM, Inc., and Kennedy and Coe. He earned his law degree and MBA from the University of Denver.

The Council’s Board of Directors is composed of 20 persons who serve staggered two-year terms.  Those elected to the Board for a two-year term commencing January 1, 2018 were:

  • Lee Blank, GFG Ag Services
  • Ben Breazeale, Cargill
  • Brad Garrison, Alpha Gamma Rho
  • Garrett Hawkins, Missouri Dept. of Agric.
  • Terry Holdren, Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Dustin Johansen, Osborn Barr
  • JJ Jones, Roots & Legacies Consulting
  • Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Dept. of Agric.
  • Kristen Parman, Livestock Marketing Assoc.
  • Lynn Parman, American Royal Association

Thompson extended his thanks to several outgoing leaders who have played an influential role in the Council’s activities through the years.  Those include Cliff Becker, outgoing Council Chairman and vice president, Farm Journal Media, as well as to outgoing long-time board members Jim Gray, Amber Spafford, and Steve Taylor.

Ag Outlook Forum Set for Sept. 28

Kansas City, May 22, 2017 - The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City and Agri-Pulse Communications announce plans to present an Ag Outlook Forum on September 28th in Kansas City.

This year has already proven to be very challenging for farmers, agribusiness and rural America. With a new Administration, a new Congress, and debate already starting on the 2018 Farm Bill, this is a great time to connect with top-notch leaders across agriculture and rural America, including:

  • Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George
  • Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
  • Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (invited)
  • John Deere Senior Vice President John Lagemann
  • Kansas City Southern President & CEO Patrick Ottensmeyer

"Kansas City has been growing as a regional hub for hundreds of agribusinesses and this is great way to showcase some of our best and brightest," says Cliff Becker, chairman, Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. "The event will build on the very successful inaugural session the group held in 2016."

Becker, a senior executive with Farm Journal Media, said the Council is excited to partner on the 2017 version with Agri-Pulse Communications, a media company known as an industry leader in agricultural policy coverage and analysis.

"We are pleased to partner with the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City to provide participants with a CEO-level perspective on the issues, opportunities, and challenges facing the agriculture industry," said Sara Wyant, President, Agri-Pulse Communications.

The Ag Outlook Forum will be held at the offices of Stinson Leonard Street in downtown Kansas City, 1201 Walnut.  The program will begin at 1:30 p.m. and will conclude with a networking reception at 5:00 p.m.  Early-bird registration is $95 for Agricultural Business Council members and $125 for non-members.

Registration is now open at:  www.agbizkc.com/agoutlookforum

Becker said there are a limited number of seats and expects the event to be a sell-out, urging those interested in attending to register early. General event information is available at www.agbizkc.com or by calling (816) 912-2084.

Sponsorship opportunities are available and you can learn more by e-mailing tomdavisrmg@outlook.com.

Kansas City is First Stop For New Agricultural Secretary

May 1, 2017, KANSAS CITY, MO:  In his first public appearance outside of Washington D.C., since his Senate confirmation earlier this week, new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was welcomedbymore than 450 enthusiastic Missouri and Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusiness men and women at a town hall meeting at the American Royal on April 28.  The event was hosted by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.

Sec. Perdue said agriculture is the most productive sector of the U.S. economy, and although it is going through a difficult stretch at the moment he offered an optimistic outlook: “The sun is shining above the clouds.” As a footnote to his comments about being sworn in as secretary by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Sec. Perdue said his oath was also a pledge to do the best job he can. “What I do reflects on you and what you do reflects on me,” he told the farmers and ranchers. “Let’s be a family, do things right and feed everyone.”

Describing agriculture as a noble profession, Sec. Perdue went on to describe the pride he felt to be part of an occupation responsible “for the actual sustenance of the world.”

Then Sec. Purdue got down to business, succinctly stating his philosophy regarding agriculture: “Grow and trade it” – which is what everyone in the auditorium wanted to hear. He noted NAFTA has been good for American agriculture and industry, but the Trump administration intended to bargain for the best terms possible in all areas of the pact.

Sec. Perdue said he has been impressed with President Trump’s negotiations, referring to how the White House has walked back some of the earlier rhetoric about leaving NAFTA. Also, rolling back onerous regulation enacted in the last eight years will boost productivity. More interagency cooperation, which he intends to foster, will further stimulate the economy.

On hand for the event were many key agricultural and government leaders in Missouri and Kansas.  Bob Petersen, executive director of the Agricultural Business Council briefed the secretary on the benefits agriculture provides to urban economies.  Dignitaries included:  U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Parson, Missouri Department of Agriculture Chris Chinn and Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey.

Senator Jerry Moran said there was no more important business sector in the U.S. economy than agriculture. But he may have summed up the proceedings before they even got underway when he said that politics for Sec. Perdue have always been personal. And he expected the new USDA secretary to run his agency with a personal touch.

Agricultural Business Council to Honor Three Agribusiness Leaders

January 9, 2017, KANSAS CITY, MO:  The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City will honor three of the region’s leading business figures on March 16 at a luncheon in the Chamber Board Room in Kansas City’s historic Union Station.  Agricultural Business Council Chairman Cliff Becker notes the honorees are champions for agriculture in separate but very key areas in the region. 

The honorees are:

  • Glen O. Klippenstein, Klippenstein Farms, Maysville, MO.  Klippenstein rose to prominence as the partner/operator of GlenKirk Farms which was one of the nation’s top purebred cattle operations.  From 1966 to 1993, GlenKirk Farms sold more than 7,000 bulls and 7,500 females into all 50 states and 22 countries.  His industry and civic service has included:  two-term chairman of the National Beef Promotion and Research Board; chairman, American Polled Hereford Association; director, National Cattlemen’s Association; member and vice chair of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation Board; CEO of the American Chianina Association; and as a member of both the Missouri State House of Representatives (2011-2013) and Missouri Senate (1993-94)
  • Ken McCauley, K & M Farms, White Cloud, KS.  McCauley, along with his wife, Mary, and son, Brad and his wife, farm corn and soybeans on 4600 acres of no-till cropland.  McCauley is a past president of the National Corn Growers Association (2007).  He is also a member and past chairman of the Kansas Corn Commission, former board chair of the Kansas Corn Growers Association, member of the National Association of Farm Broadcaster’s Board, and trustee of Iowa Township, Doniphan County, Kansas.
  • Dr. Thomas L. Payne, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CAFNR), University of Missouri.  Dr. Payne has just retired from his position as vice chancellor and dean of CAFNR, a position he held since 1999.  An entomologist by training, he was head of the Entomology Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute from 1987-1993, before moving on to the Ohio State University where he was associate vice president from 1993-1998.  His tenure at Mizzou was marked by growth in the college’s research programs, recruitment of world-class faculty members and an increase in private funds raised in support of the college.

The honorees will receive the Council’s highest award, the Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence. 

“These individuals have had a positive and lasting effect on our community, said Council Chairman Becker.  “They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish.”

The March 16 event will be held at the Chamber of Commerce Board Room in Union Station (30 W Pershing Rd in Kansas City, MO) beginning at 11:30 a.m. for networking followed by lunch at noon.  Visit www.agbizkc.com for more information.


Media Contact

Bob Petersen




Agri-business Has $29.3 Billion Impact On Region

New Study Details Economic Impact Of Ag In Kansas City Area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (September 8, 2016) – Agriculture and its related businesses continue to be a driving force in the regional economy, according to an analysis (LINK) released by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City, the American Royal, and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Using the most recent data available, 74 agriculture, food, and food processing sectors were analyzed to determine their overall contribution to the economy supported by the Kansas City Agribusiness Council.

These 74 sectors have an estimated total economic impact of approximately $ 29.3 billion and support 114,503 jobs in the Greater Kansas City area.

The study looked at the impact of agriculture, food, and food processing sectors of the 20 counties contained in the Greater Kansas City area. The study found those agri-business sectors:

  • Account for 7.7 percent of the entire workforce in the area, or 114,503 jobs; and
  • Contribute approximately 22 percent of the Gross Regional Product, or an impact of $29.3 billion.

In looking at the components of the agri-business sector, landscaping and horticultural services is the top employer in the agricultural industry with 9,965 employees.  Running a close second is beef cattle ranching (and related businesses) with 8,438 employees.  The animal processing industry (excluding poultry) directly contributes about $2.1 billion to the regional economy.

A more expansive view of agri-business’s impact includes related retail sectors such as restaurants, food and beverage stores, garden and farm supply businesses.  These additional sectors grow the total impact to 16.9 percent of the region’s employment and 29.59 percent of the gross regional product.

“This study illustrates the continuing strong role agri-business plays in this region’s economy,” said Bob Petersen, executive director of the Agricultural Business Council.”   He continued, “These are impressive numbers – 22% of the Gross Regional Product.  And a more expansive view that encompasses the food sector grows the employment impact to nearly 17 percent.”

Lynn Parman, president and CEO of the American Royal, said “the American Royal’s mission of impacting the future of agriculture is more important now than ever. Providing scholarships and agriculture education programs to ensure we have a pipeline of employees is vital to this burgeoning KC industry,” she added.

“Agriculture is the largest industry, employer and economic contributor in the state of Kansas, and this study has confirmed that impact within the greater Kansas City area,” said Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. “The Kansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to work with the Agricultural Business Council to continue exploring opportunities for growth of agribusinesses in this region.”

About The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City

The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City is an association that advocates growth and awareness of the food, fiber, agri-science and related industries in the Kansas City region.

About the American Royal Association

Woven through the history of Kansas City since 1899, the American Royal provides opportunities for youth and adults from around the country to compete in our Livestock Show, ProRodeo, Horse Shows and the World Series of BBQ.  These events allow the American Royal, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization to give over $1 million annually for youth scholarships and support agriculture education programs. Over 270,000 attendees annually attend American Royal events that generate over $60 million of economic impact. To learn more about the American Royal visit AmericanRoyal.com.

About the Kansas Department of Agriculture

KDA is the state agency devoted to the total support of agriculture in Kansas. The department works for the entire Kansas agriculture sector, including farmers, ranchers, food establishments and agribusinesses. The department is dedicated to providing support and assistance to make Kansas businesses successful and encouraging more agribusinesses to expand in or relocate to Kansas.


For more information contact:

  • For general questions, either Bob Petersen (816) 912-2993, Lynn Parman (816) 569-4040 or Jackie McClaskey (785) 564-6700
  • For questions about the study and the underlying economics, Josh Roe, assistant secretary, Kansas Dept. of Agriculture at (785) 564-6700
  • For questions regarding the ag industry impact, Jackie Klippenstein, vice president, Dairy Farmers of America, (816) 801-6392


Agricultural Business Council Honors Three Agribusiness Leaders

The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City recognized three regional business leaders  and public figures at a luncheon March 10 in the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Board Room in historic Union Station.

The 2016 Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence, named in honor of the late Jay B. Dillingham, was given to the Honorable Kit Bond, former U.S. Senator, Missouri; Dr. Bud Hertzog, Lee's Summit Animal Hospital; and Russ Weathers, CEO, Agriculture Future of America.

“These individuals have had a positive and lasting effect on our community. They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish,” says Cliff Becker, Chairman of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.

“These individuals have been civic champions for agriculture in separate but very key issue areas in our region,” noted Cliff Becker, Chairman of the Board of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. “They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish.”

In his acceptance remarks, Senator Kit Bond, warned that “bureaucrats were fighting to stifle agriculture, and too many things were coming up to hinder agriculture from feeding the world.”  In his introduction of the senator, John Dillingham, son of Jay B. Dillingham, described Sen. Bond as someone who could work across the aisles of Congress and “who knew the important role agriculture had in feeding the world in the 21st Century.” During his time in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Bond was recognized as an expert and leader on a wide range of subjects, including international trade and Asia; transportation and economic development; cyberintelligence and national security; and plant biotechnology.

A partner in the Lee's Summit Animal Hospital, Dr. Bud Hertzog has been the official veterinarian for both the Kansas City Zoo and the American Royal.  He is a past president of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association and served as executive chairman of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  Dr. Herzog said a major challenge for agriculture is that it is taken for granted by Americans and the industry itself “is not vocal in promoting” its achievements. He also wondered what was wrong with Kansas City being called a cow town?  “It was what made us,” he said. Dr. Ralph Richardson, former Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University introduced Dr. Hertzog.

Russ Weathers, CEO of Agriculture Future of America, started out as an ag teacher and never left the profession. Under his leadership, AFA, founded in 1996, has become the premiere agriculture organization for college students, preparing a new generation of agriculture leaders. “The ag industry needs human capital,” Weathers stressed, “as much as it needs financial investment.”  2013 Dillingham Award recipient Harry Cleberg introduced Weathers.

Presenting sponsor of the 2016 Award Luncheon was John Deere.