KANSAS CITY, MO, Nov. 4, - Agriculture Future of America (AFA) presented Agri-Pulse Editor Sara R. Wyant with their 2011 Leader in Agriculture award during an award dinner and ceremony Friday evening, along with co-honoree Paul F. Engler. The event, which was part of the 2011 AFA Leaders Conference, included over 950 global leaders, students and supporters of agriculture.

AFA sponsors the Leader in Agriculture Award to honor individuals whose accomplishments in their personal lives and professional careers have distinguished them as mentors to others in the agriculture industry.

 “AFA’s 2011 Leader in Agriculture honorees have distinguished themselves as exceptional leaders in the agri-industry,” said Russ Weathers, AFA President and CEO. “AFA is pleased to have this opportunity to recognize their contributions, but more importantly, to thank them for their commitment to the future. Their respective entrepreneurial achievements serve as models to young leaders.”

 Sara R. Wyant is the President of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., which publishes the Agri-Pulse newsletter and website to include the latest information on farm policy, commodity and conservation programs, trade, food safety, rural development, and environmental and regulation programs. After growing up on a farm near Marengo, Iowa, Wyant attended Iowa State University and has held a number of editorial positions over her career, starting Agri-Pulse as a print publication just four years after graduating from college. She launched the current version of Agri-Pulse, as an e-newsletter, 7 years ago.

 Paul F. Engler is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Cactus Feeders, Inc., based in Amarillo, Texas. Raised in Nebraska, Engler owned his first herd of cattle at age 12 and at age 15, began college at the University of Nebraska. In 1960, he founded the Hereford Feedyard in Texas, before becoming Head of Carcass Division for the Iowa Beef Producers, where he eventually initiated the establishment of a Texas-based IBP slaughter facility. In 1975, Engler founded Cactus Feeders, which is now the world’s largest privately owned cattle feeding operation with locations across northern Texas and southwest Kansas.

AFA annually selects two people for the Leader in Agriculture Award who have a record of supporting career and leader development for young men and women. With student participation increasing 38 percent in the last five years, AFA leader development programs have impacted nearly 7,000 students from more than 115 universities in 41 states.

 The three-track AFA Leaders Conference provides personal and professional development opportunities for 500 college students each year. AFA, celebrating its 15-year anniversary, has awarded more than $6 million in academic and leader development scholarships.
Founded in 1996 by R. Crosby Kemper and other agri-business leaders, AFA offers leader and career development training and community-based academic scholarships for college men and women pursuing a career in an agriculture-related field.

 AFA’s strength comes from its unique partnerships with rural communities, corporations, foundations, colleges, universities, and individuals that support academic development, leader development and career development. This network creates an atmosphere that stimulates the development of professionalism, intrapreneurialism and intellectualism – each a key factor in human capital development.

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