The Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership (KARL) program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational organization dedicated to developing leaders for agriculture, business and rural communities.
All funds for the program come from private and corporate support, donations and private grants. KARL offices are housed on the Kansas State University campus under an agreement with the Kansas Cooperative Extension Service of KSU.
To ensure that the Kansas rural and agricultural community can keep pace with the rate of change, it is imperative we supply informed, decisive, communicative spokespersons to represent our industry and communities, keeping the public factually informed as policies are formed and decisions are made. To address these needs, we provide an intensive study, training and travel experience for future leaders of Kansas.
In mid-1989, a group of twenty individuals representing virtually all segments of Kansas agriculture met to discuss the need and potential for an extensive educational program designed to build a leadership base for Kansas agriculture and its related industries. The first board meeting for the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership program was held October 3, 1989 and KARL, Inc. was formed in 1990. The first class of 30 participants began their leadership development in 1991. Since then, over 300 participants have completed the program.
Since its inception, over $4.6 million has been raised and spent on this program from over 900 entities including individuals, farm and civic organizations, businesses, foundations and corporations. That money has been invested to put over 330 agricultural and rural leaders through 5,200 hours of training and experience in Kansas and Washington DC, as well as Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, England, the People’s Republic of China, Argentina, Australia & New Zealand, Mexico & Costa Rica, Brazil, Ghana, India, Vietnam and Peru.
KARL graduates are on every major commodity association board, several commissions and multiple boards, advisories and councils from the local through national level. Our graduate pool has seen many state agricultural leaders rise to service: President of the Kansas Farm Bureau (Steve Baccus); Kansas Livestock Association (Larry Jones, David Cross, Mark Smith, Mark Harms); Kansas Wheat Growers (John Thaemert, Jerry McReynolds, Kendall Hodgson, Gary Millershaski); Kansas Soybean Commission: Bob Haselwood; Kansas Dairy Commission: Dennis Metz; and No-Till on the Plains Chair (Doug Palen, Josh Lloyd). The first national president’s office of a commodity organization was earned by Class I graduate John Thaemert for the National Association of Wheat Growers and Jerry McReynolds served as president in 2010-11. Ron Suppes served as Chairman of the US Wheat Associates 2007-08. Longtime policy staffer at Kansas Wheat, Dana Peterson, was named the chief executive officer of the National Association of Wheat Growers on Jan. 8, 2010. Gary Harshberger was appointed to the chairmanship of the Kansas Water Authority in 2011. The first graduate to serve in the Kansas legislature was Don Schroeder from Hesston; the second was Class IX graduate Susan Concannon from Beloit.
The Mission of KARL, Inc. is to provide first-class leadership development for agricultural and rural stakeholders by designing and offering challenging and illuminating education and enrichment programs as well as a forum for continuous engagement. Our staff is dedicated to delivering a superior education for all of our participants.
Click on available links to view full board member and staff bios as a PDF.
Board of Directors of KARL, Inc.
Terry Nelson ( Chair) Long Island
Gary Doane (Vice Chair) Downs
Michael Leitch (Treasurer) Frontier Farm Credit Market Development Manager, Wamego
Ron Suppes (Secretary) Dighton
Advisor, Past Chair Carolyn Harms, VP/GM Aftermarket Customer Support, SpiritAero (ret.), Derby
Board of Directors
Blake Angell, Ellis
Kenny Graves, Farmer/Stockman, Bartlett
Dorothy Hutchins, Teacher, Scott City
Jay Joy, Manager, Frontier Dairy and Hemana Dairy LLC, Syracuse
Tracey Mann, Commercial Realtor, Salina
Jesse McCurry, Big Brothers Big Sisters Development Officer, Colwich
Steve Morris, Farmer, Hugoton
Marcine Moldenhauer, Livestock Consultant, Meat-Link, Valley Center
Lee Musil, Farmer (ret.), Burdett
Kent Ott, Farmer, Mulvane
Dewayne Rosson, Feed and Farm Supply Owner, Coffeyville
Charlie Sauerwein, Merchandiser for Wind River Grain – Garden City, Cimarron
Ruth Teichman, Farmer/Banker, Stafford
Ron Suppes, Farm Producer, Dighton
Jerrod Westfahl, President of Purple Wave Auction, Manhattan
EX OFFICIO MEMBERS
Dale Rodman, KS Secretary of Agriculture
Dr. John Floros, K-State Dean of Agriculture
Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, K-State Agricultural Economics
Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu, K-State Agricultural Economics
Carolyn Harms (Past Chair), VP/GM Aftermarket Customer Support, SpiritAero (ret.), Derby
Jack W. Lindquist, President
Al Davis, Vice President [News Release]
Janice Lierz, Sr Administrative Specialist