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.