MEET OUR ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
President, Missouri Farm Bureau Federation
Corn, Soybean and Greenhouse Flower Farmer
Blake Hurst was first elected the 14th president of Missouri Farm Bureau on December 7, 2010. Blake was a district board member on the Missouri state board for eight years, and served seven years as Missouri Farm Bureau vice president. He raises corn and soybeans with his father, brothers, nephews and son-in- laws. He also operates a wholesale greenhouse business with his wife, Julie; daughter, Lee; and son-in-laws, Ryan Harms and Matt Schlueter. The family raises flowers in two acres of greenhouses Blake and Julie have three children. Lee works in the greenhouse with her family, Ann is the development director for their local hospital and Ben practices law in Kansas City. Blake and Julie have six grandchildren. Blake is also a freelance writer. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The American, Weekly Standard, Wilson’s Quarterly, Reader’s Digest, Today’s Farmer and the Show Me magazine of Missouri Farm Bureau.
CEO, CFO, & Operations Manager Knuth Farms
Corn, Soybeans and Wheat Farmer
Kerry Knuth is a third generation farmer, graduate of The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) and a member of Association of Agricultural Production Executives (AAPEX). Kerry has spoken at conferences on the topics of implementing managerial accounting software into his farming operation and the need for standardization of data across agricultural sectors and their multiple software platforms. Kerry’s use of precision technology in agriculture encompass the progression of GPS from WAAS guided light bars to sub inch RTK. Passive to active machine control and desktop agricultural software to cloud based platforms. Kerry has experienced the growth in the use of cellular connectivity in agriculture beginning on Knuth Farms in 1996 for remote control of center pivot irrigation to today’s technology of real-time streaming of Data to monitor: pivots and Variable rate control prescriptions (VRI), soil moisture probe data, weather data, file transfer from machine display to cloud and machine telematics for real time fleet management and field application recording.
Precision Technology Technician, Knuth Farms
Corn, Soybeans and Wheat Farmer
Angela started working on the farm with Kerry operating equipment and handling computer duties in 2000. At that time the computer duties were mostly bookkeeping a long with downloading application and harvest data from screens and importing them into desktop software; Farmworks at that time. Since then she has moved into the role of agronomist and precision software technician for the farm. Through the years she has personally used approximately 30 different Ag related software platforms covering the areas of GIS, GPS, VRA, machine control, wireless data transfer, irrigation, soil, weather, crop modeling, telematics. This has allowed us the ability to generate and process all precision data in-house. The use of multiple platforms has given her first-hand knowledge of the increasing need to standardize data transmission in order to move the focus from handling to using data to make informed decisions.
Managing Partner, Martin Farm
Cotton, Corn, Soybean and Wheat Farmer
Larkin Martin is responsible for the management of a family farming operation in north Alabama. The farms principal crops are corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton. In recent years they have also raised canola, sesame, peanuts and sorghum. The operation covers around 7,000 aces of owned and rented land. Martin Farm uses RTK guidance on their equipment, GPS mapping and precision technologies for soil sampling, prescription fertilizer applications and business record keeping. Larkin is a past Chairman of The Cotton Board, a 2012 Eisenhower Agricultural Fellow and a Trustee of the Farm Foundation.
Executive Committee, National Potato Council
Director of Food Safety & Technology, Raybould Brothers Farms
Potato, Barley and Hay Farmer
St. Anthony, Idaho
Britt Raybould, a third-generation potato farmer, works with her father and brother on their 2,300 acres in southeastern Idaho. The operation includes crop rotations of barley and hay. As the demand grew for more detailed record keeping, Britt developed the food safety plan and program for both her farm and other growers in the area. Since creating the original system, she has overseen the transition to an almost completely digital operation. In addition to her work on the farm, Britt runs a marketing consulting firm, Write Bold, where she works with clients to create and manage their digital assets. She also serves as the Vice President of Government and Legislative Affairs for the National Potato Council and previously served as the chair for the Idaho Potato Commission’s Ag Affairs Committee.
Vice President, National Association of Wheat Growers
Wheat, Sorghum and Sunflower Farmer
Sharon Springs, Kansas
David Schemm is a wheat farmer from Sharon Springs, Kansas and has been active on the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers Board since 2002. David was raised on the farm he now works, having graduated from Wallace County High School and then completing his degree at Ambassador University. He returned to the farm in 1993 while operating a custom crop- spraying business. David has also served on the board of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), having been actively involved on several committees including chair of the Domestic and Trade Policy Committee and as a member of the Operations and Planning Committee. David was a member of the 2004 Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow class, and completed the Wheat Organization Leaders of the Future program prior to joining the National Association of Wheat Growers board. He is an outstanding business manager in his farming operation, has a legacy of serving his community and also grows wheat, corn, grain, sorghum and sunflowers.
National Corn Growers Association
Soybeans, Wheat and Alfalfa Farmer
Carl and Susan Sousek farm near Prague in eastern Nebraska, in partnership with Carl’s brother Dave. Carl and Susan have three children. Their son, Nick, provides risk management and marketing for the farm, and their son-in-law joined the operation in 2015. They raise corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, and run a cow-calf operation.
Carl is currently serving as a member of the National Corn Growers Association’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. He is a past president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and currently serves on the association’s Government Relations Committee. Carl has been a participating producer in the University of Nebraska Institute of Ag On-Farm Research Program, and is currently involved in a competitive hybrid study with the University of Nebraska.
The farm has utilized yield mapping, and VRT for nutrient application for 8 years. Beginning in 1989, Carl has built customized farm management and crop budget programs with various software formats.
Treasurer, American Soybean Association
Soybean, Corn and Poultry Farmer
Davie Stephens, a soybean farmer from Wingo, Kentucky, is Treasurer of the American Soybean Association (ASA). He has been an ASA National Director since 2012. He was elected to represent his fellow farmers on the Kentucky Soybean Association board from 2006 to 2014, serving as treasurer, secretary, vice-president and president during his three, three-year terms.
Stephens farms more than 5,000 acres in Kentucky. In addition to soybeans, he grows corn and raises chickens in four poultry barns. Stephens has been farming since 1988.
His bachelors degree came from the University of Kentucky, and he completed his masters at Murray State University. He is married to Judy Byrd Stephens, who is also an active Agvocate for soybean farmers.
Partner, Watkins Farms
Corn, Soybean and Swine farmer
Brian Watkins is a sixth generation grain and swine farmer from Ohio, raising 7000 acres of corn and soybeans along with 2800 sows farrow-to-finish. His precision ag experiences began in the mid 90’s with yield-mapping and variable rate fertilizer application. He has since had experience with variable rate seeding, grid soil sampling, management zone sampling, Veris EC mapping, variable rate lime, and remote imaging, as well as RTK based machine control for steering, boom control, and surface and subsurface drainage. He also has emphasized the use of geo-referenced data as a source of value and decision support both for himself and on a cooperative level with other producers. Brian has a bachelors’ degree in Ag Econ and recently completed an Executive MBA from the Fisher College at Ohio State.