speak for wheat spokespersons
Mary Beth Bowers
Mary Beth Bowers, a spokesperson since 2003, has represented Kansas Wheat at many school programs focusing on how wheat gets from the field to the table. She has given many presentations to classes within the Newton School District. Mary Beth enjoys visiting with children about where their food comes from because she feels it is something that many children have never learned. She resides in Marion and enjoys gardening, crafting, and being actively involved with her church youth group.
Cherry Coen graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education in 1981 and took her first job out of college with the Franklin County Extension service in Ottawa. She is currently a Family and Consumer Science teacher at Ottawa High School. As a spokesperson, Cherry enjoys promoting wheat and wheat products through her classroom as well as at 4-H events and with other youth organizations. Cherry has always been involved in agriculture, growing up on a farm in Iowa. Today, she and her husband, John, have four children and currently reside on a farm near Ottawa.
Donita Cohorst has been a spokesperson since 2004, volunteering at the Kansas State Fair, the National Festival of Breads, and Ag Day in several counties. Her favorite part about being a spokesperson is sharing healthy lifestyles with others and visiting with the public about the importance of a balanced diet with whole grains. Originally from Halstead, Donita graduated from Kansas State University and currently resides in Marysville. Before retirement, she was a registered dietitian and helped start and coordinate the Kansas Nutrition Network. She enjoys sharing healthy cooking and entertaining as an independent Pampered Chef Consultant and traveling in her free time.
Rita Dawson began volunteering as a spokesperson in 2008. Rita has volunteered at the Kansas State Fair, the National Festival of Breads and has facilitated bread programs at two schools in her local county to promote the use of wheat flour. She enjoys being a spokesperson because of the opportunity she has to meet new people and work with other spokespersons. In her free time, Rita enjoys working with youth of any age in afterschool programs and preschool programming. She also enjoys cooking, especially baking bread. Rita resides in Lebo.
Karen Fitzgerald became a spokesperson in 2008. She has represented Kansas Wheat at many conferences, the Kansas State Fair, and judged a whole grains baking contest. Before retiring, Karen was employed at the Kansas Nutrition Network. She lives in Wichita with her husband, Dan, in an old Victorian house they enjoy restoring. She enjoys visiting her children and grandchildren as often as she can and in her free time enjoys cross stitching and playing the bagpipes at parades, festivals and other gatherings.
Randy Fritzemeier is a fourth generation farmer and stockman on the Stafford and Reno County line, primarily raising wheat, cattle, milo and alfalfa. As a spokesperson, he enjoys meeting new people and educating the public on the wheat industry and agriculture. Since becoming a spokesperson in 2008, he has given wheat programs to civic groups and volunteered at the Kansas State Fair and trade show booths across the state. Besides farming, Randy enjoys magic, golf, K-State sports and his family.
Carol Ann Flock
Carol Ann Flock is a retired Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, having taught 31 years at the Eureka School District. Carol became a spokesperson in 2007 and since then has worked at the Kansas State Fair and Agriland booth. Her favorite part about being a spokesperson is being around people and sharing the wheat story. She believes it is important to let others know the benefits of wheat and she hopes her audience can see how important our agricultures producers are to a safe and abundant food supply. Carol currently lives south of Madison and enjoys cooking, gardening and playing with her grandchildren.
Janice Gates became a spokesperson in 1995 and over the years has enjoyed meeting others who are interested in baking with whole wheat flour. Most of all she has enjoyed learning special tips about bread baking and enjoys sharing them with others. Janice has been involved with the Festival of Breads, the Kansas State Fair, and has presented several different wheat programs. Janice and her husband live near Anthony and raise around 800 acres of wheat each year, which they harvest and clean themselves, and sell certified seed wheat. They also have a cow/calf operation. In her free time, she enjoys baking and sewing.
Connie Hudson, a spokesperson since 1999, has helped several years at the Kansas State Fair and has volunteered her time at numerous bread baking contests. She enjoys interacting with people and sharing with them how wheat is used. Connie is a ranch wife near Sharon Springs. She enjoys volunteering, interacting with 4-H and youth groups, and baking. Much of her time is spent with her husband and children in the summer traveling around the state with their family’s rodeo company.
Betty Kandt became a spokesperson in 2004. She has volunteered at the Ag Hall of Fame, Farm Bureau Youth Ag Days, and the Kansas State Fair. Betty has presented many nutrition programs on the importance of wheat foods and eating healthy, and has helped develop and test many whole grain recipes. Betty has been involved with wheat production and the wheat industry all her life. It is important to her to encourage people to eat a combination of breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables to keep bodies healthy and minds alert. Betty resides in Manhattan and enjoys gardening, music and baking in her free time.
As a spokesperson since 1991, Lois Keller has given many presentations to extension audiences and school. Her favorite part about being a spokesperson is promoting agriculture products and taking the wheat message to school children. Lois also enjoys the opportunity to take tours of flour mills, bakeries and anything else that has to do with wheat. For many years Lois and her husband, Jerry, operated a custom harvesting business. Lois resides in Ellis.
Donna Keyser has represented Kansas Wheat at the National Ag Day Pizza Party, Day on the Farm at Cico Park and the Kansas State Fair. As a spokesperson since 2008, Donna enjoys interacting with people across the state and learning from them. She worked in the child nutrition field for over 30 years, including 18 of them as the Food Service Director in the Manhattan/Ogden school district. A native of Linn County, Donna has always had a pride in the Kansas wheat industry because of her experiences growing up. Her interests include gardening, yoga, reading and singing. Donna is a resident of Manhattan.
Steve and Linda Korthanke
Steve and Linda Korthanke reside near Hiawatha. Steve has been involved in the spokesperson program since 1995, and Linda joined him as a team effort in 2000. They have covered many events for the Wheat Commission in their area. They both enjoy educating young and old alike on the nutritional benefits of wheat and the opportunity to meet and make new acquaintances. In their free time their interests are baking and cooking. They have a small catering, home-made ice cream and Dutch oven business.
As a spokesperson since 2002, Erin Laurie has conducted programs for a variety of audiences with an emphasis on nutrition and whole grains. She enjoys promoting agriculture and teaching audiences about the importance of wheat foods in a diet. Erin is a Registered Dietitian who focuses on worksite wellness and health promotion. Erin has two boys, Wayne, 9, and Ryan, 6. As K-State alumni, Erin and her husband enjoy taking their family to Manhattan for many different sporting events. She enjoys participating in her sons’ 4-H club activities, baking and looking at cookbooks.
Krista Patton became a spokesperson in 2000 and has presented 48 presentations reaching more than 1,000 people. Kristen has helped present a county foods leader training that included six counties and has annually promoted and participated in Bake and Take Day. Krista currently is continuing wheat and baking promotions as a kindergarten teacher at Indian Hills Elementary School, Topeka.
Megan Patton became a spokesperson in 2003 and has presented 18 presentations reaching more than 500 people. She has represented Kansas Wheat at the American Royal and has assisted with the State 40H breads workshop in Wamego. Megan is a junior at Kansas State University majoring in secondary education. She continues to provide wheat and baking education programs through her 4-H contacts.
Jana Patton became a spokesperson in 2001 and has presented 42 presentations reaching more than 1,000 people. She has volunteered at the Kansas State Fair and served as a food leader in her 4-H club was she has taught food preparation skills and baking classes. She continues to provide wheat and baking education through her professional contacts.
Lori Patton became a spokesperson in 2004 and has presented 41 presentations reaching more than 1,000 people. She has represented Kansas Wheat at the American Royal and has annually promoted and participated in Bake and Take Day. Lori is currently a sophomore at Kansas State University. She continues to provide wheat and baking education through her professional contacts.
As a spokesperson since 2008, Kathy Walsten has been involved with the Festival of Breads including the national contest, which has been one of her greatest highlights. She enjoys meeting consumers at trade shows and answering questions they may have. Kathy lives in Manhattan and works for Kansas State University in the Human Nutrition Department for the USDA Family Nutrition Program. There she helps develop nutrition materials for extension educators to use with low-income families. Kathy enjoys reading, walking, trying new recipes and quilting. Her greatest love is being a “grandma” and visiting her daughters and families.
Nada Thoden has been a spokesperson since 2006. She has assisted with state and national Festival of Breads contests, has taught bread shaping for area high school students and has prepared and taught many presentations to local groups. Nada’s favorite part about being a spokesperson is working with people and learning new bread baking techniques. A graduate of Colorado State University, she currently resides in Paola and enjoys reading, gardening and quilting in her free time.
Jean Ann Troutt
Jean Ann Troutt has served as a spokesperson since 2005 and has volunteered at the Kansas State Fair, 3 I Show, Festival of Breads and has used Kansas Wheat Commission materials at the Satanta Arts Council summer kids program emphasizing nutrition. As a retired FACS teachers, Jean Ann enjoys being able to continue to share knowledge about wheat and bakery products as a spokesperson. She resides in Satanta, where she taught Family and Consumer Sciences for 26 years. She enjoys working on quilts, reading, visiting her grandchildren and teaching a Sunday school class at her church.
Cricket Turley is currently the Director of Human Relations for Garden City Community College. Cricket has volunteered her time as a spokesperson since 2004. She has helped with the Festival of Breads, Kansas State Fair, and many hands-on programs with local elementary schools. Cricket most enjoys meeting people and sharing bread recipes. She resides in Garden City and enjoys quilting in her free time, especially with her daughter and her three grandchildren.
Jay Warner is a dryland grain farmer in western McPherson County between Inman and Conway. He plants primarily wheat, as well as milo, soybeans and occasionally corn. A graduate of McPherson College of Kansas, he is married to Amy. Jay has been a spokesperson since 2008, but has shared his passion for farming for decades. As an EAGALA-certified Equine Specialist with Carousel Live! LLC, he works with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to use horses to help individuals and families with therapy and relationship issues. Jay enjoys spending time hiking and camping.