The Sunflower Award is Kansas Grain and Feed Association’s most prestigious award given annually to recognize someone who has made a significant and notable contribution to our industry and/or our association. The contribution may be of scientific achievement, marketing, engineering, transportation or management, but it is not limited to these specifically.
2022 Sunflower Award Winner
Gary Beachner Sunflower Award

Gary Beachner

Our 2022 Sunflower Award winner has been an integral member of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association for more than 25 years. This is, we hope, a surprise to him to receive the association’s career achievement award this year.

Gary Beachner was born in 1963 to farmers and stockmen who also had a seed and seed cleaning business in St. Paul, Kansas.

He earned an agriculture economics degree from Kansas State University in 1985 and began his industry career with Cargill Animal Nutrition’s management training program in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Following a position in Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s Milling Division, Gary joined other family members to found Beachner Grain Inc. in 1998.

Throughout his more than three decades in the grain business, Gary has worked tirelessly to oversee more than 30 grain elevator and agricultural retail operations in Kansas and Oklahoma. As if he’s not busy enough, he also leads several other agribusiness operations including a seed processing company in central Kansas, two commercial cattle feedlots and a wholesale seed distribution organization in Missouri.

From the early stages of his professional career, industry service and involvement has been of the utmost importance to Gary. He has served two stints on KGFA’s board of directors, his first term running from 1992 to 2001, which was highlighted by holding the chairmanship from 1997 to 1998. Gary was re-elected to the KGFA board for a second run in 2013, completing his nine-year term at our board meeting yesterday.

Gary also proudly served as chairman of the National Grain and Feed Association board of directors from 2014 to 2016, as well as a two-year term as its second vice chairman. In addition to his service on the NGFA Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Gary has been a member of the NGFA’s Country Elevator Committee and Finance and Administration Committee.

Gary and his wife, who he met while attending K-State, Kim, have three sons: Nathan, Cory and Craig.

Past Sunflower Award Winners

1986 | Frank McBride
1987 | Bill Morand
1988 | Dr. Robert Schoeff
1989 | Arch DeBruce
1990 | Jerry Schweitzer
1991 | Milton Morrison
1992 | John Cranor
1993 | Delbert Bosley
1994 | Jimmie Dean
1995 | Jim Otto

1996 | Lucille Severe
1997 | Ed Dwyer
1998 | Clayton Mantz
1999 | S. Dean Evans
2000 | Gary Bothwell
2001 | Ron Stucky
2002 | Mike Braude
2003 | Don Timmel
2004 | Brendon Donnelly
2005 | Barry Flinchbaugh

2006 | Robert Dole
2007 | Robert Gantz
2008 | Fred Norwood
2009 | Jan Moyer
2011 | Gary Mundhenke
2012 | Paul DeBruce
2013 | Charles R. “Dick” Webb
2014 | Jeff C. Borchardt
2015 | Thomas E. Meyer
2016 | Charles “Dub” Johnson

2017 | Lowell Downey
2017 | Tom Tunnell
2018 | Chuck Elsea
2019 | Pat Roberts
2020 | Duane Boyd
2021 | John Petz
2022 | Gary Beachner