Steinlage Receives KFU’s 2020 Ruth Hirsh Award
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 recognizes the contributions of Gerard Steinlage.
Gerard Steinlage, Nemaha County Farmers Union president, served as a Northern District director from 2011-2016. Gerard is truly loyal to Farmers Union and gave willingly of his time and talents for the organization.
When announcing the award, KFU President Donn Teske said,
Gerard and Mary Beth have been active in Kansas Farmers Union for so many years. Gerard has represented the Kansas Farmers Union members message in Fly-In’s to Washington DC sharing their stories on the hill as well as active for KFU at the state legislature in Topeka. He took over as his county president, herding the largest chapter in the state, after John Rempe stepped aside and has kept it active.
Mary Howell, KFU membership specialist added:
Gerard always enjoys when we are able to do the live and silent auctions as part of our convention. He takes an active role in rounding up auction items; ones that are very cool and fought over at the actual event. Gerard always helps with taking bids and delivering the items to the winners of the bid.As county president, Gerard and with the help of Mary Beth, make planning county meetings and events in Nemaha County enjoyable. They have great ideas of where we can meet, make the arrangements complete with food and often bring door prizes.Together, Gerard and Mary Beth are always willing to step forward to help out and are enthusiastic leaders for Nemaha county and Kansas Farmers Union.Thank you for all you do!
A bit more about Gerard:
Gerard Steinlage started farming at a young age with his dad and brother on a diversified Family Farm near Corning, Ks. He served in the Army Reserves for six years and held numerous jobs to support the family and the farm.
Gerard has supported Farmers Union for 22 years by attending meetings and FU conventions. He was on the Kansas FU board from 2011 thru 2015. He attended two of the Washington DC legislative Fly-Ins along with other NFU family farmer members from the states. FU has written policies that eventually get voted on by agricultural committees in Congress. They are the grass roots. Gerard’s father and uncle served on the local FU board as well as his grandfather.
Gerard and his wife, Mary Beth, are strong believers of faith, family, farming, small businesses and have a love for Rural America.
Thank you so much for your commitment to KFU, Gerard.
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.