KFU’s 2019 Ruth Hirsh Awardees

KFU proudly honors the legacy of Ruth Hirsh through its award in her name which is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to agriculture and the efforts of the Farmers Union. Hirsh was a strong advocate for a viable education program in Farmers Union; not only for the children, but also for the general public. She felt if all Americans recognized the challenges that family farmers faced, they would help change the laws in their favor.

This year the board broke with tradition with not one, but three awardees. Mary Fund, Jerry Jost, and Dan Nagengast worked tirelessly for the Kansas Rural Center (KRC) over its 40 year history, helping to cultivate sustainable agriculture, expand local and regional food systems, and support family farms across the state.

Ed Reznicek accepted on behalf of Mary.

Former Kansas Farmers Union Youth and Education Director Ruth Hirsh, at right, with past KFU staff member Jim Ploger and an unidentified woman in this undated Kansas Farmers Union archive photo.

Former Kansas Farmers Union Youth and Education Director Ruth Hirsh, at right, with past KFU staff member Jim Ploger and an unidentified woman in this undated Kansas Farmers Union archive photo.

Kansas Farmers Union proudly honors the legacy of Ruth Hirsh through its annual award in her name. The prestigious Ruth Hirsh Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to agriculture and/or the efforts of the Farmers Union.

Previous recipients include Dr. Daryll E. Ray, director and founder of the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center at the University of Tennessee; Emil Mushrush, former KFU director; Tom Giessel, honorary NFU historian and former KFU Vice-President; Linda Hessman, longtime ag mediator and KFU board member; Henry Strnad, Republic County; Lavern Potuzak, KFU Vice-President;  Nick Levendofsky, KFU Vice-President; Charlie Griffin, rural mental health advocate in Kansas and Research Assistant Professor in the School for Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University; Larry Mitchell,  Administrator of the USDA GIPSA and former Vice President of Government Relations for the NFU; Adrian Polansky, former state executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Kansas and secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture; Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker, United States Senator; and Char Henton and Forrest Buhler, K-State’s Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services (KAMS).