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.
Char Henton and Forrest Buhler were recognized for the decades they’ve spent supporting farmers in their work with K-State’s Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services (KAMS). In fact, Henton was the first person to answer a hotline call for agricultural mediation services in Kansas back in the 1980s.
Buhler served as staff attorney for Farmers Assistance Counseling and Training Service from 1987 to 1995 before becoming the staff attorney for KAMS in 1995.
KAMS is a service available to Kansas residents who would like assistance in resolving all types of agricultural related issues. Agricultural producers, their lenders and others receiving an adverse decision from any of the USDA agencies including Farm Services Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development are encouraged to utilize these services.
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.
Ruth Hirsh Award 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; Char Henton and Forrest Buhler, K-State’s Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services (KAMS); Mary Fund, Jerry Jost, and Dan Nagengast of the Kansas Rural Center; and Gerard Steinlage, Nemaha County Farmers Union.