A full-house packed the historic Kansas City Club on June 23 to honor Kansas City's Mike Haverty and Steve Hunt with the "Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence."
The Award, presented by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City, honored Haverty and Hunt for their vision, leadership, and the positive impact their businesses have made on agriculture and the regional economy as a whole.
Haverty, who is chairman and CEO of Kansas City Southern, was recognized for his civic and business leadership. Under Haverty's leadership, the KCS has forged a rail network known as the NAFTA Railway that links the commercial and industrial centers of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
In 2010, 84 percent of the KCS' grain business originates in the Midwest and moves into Mexico on the north-south route first envisioned by Arthur Stillwell, founder of the KCS. As a result, Mexico has become a much larger customer for agricultural products benefiting the entire agricultural system, from producer to consumer.
Hunt, who is CEO of U.S. Premium Beef, was recognized as the key force in bringing a new strategy to the beef market place where producers own processing and receive economic incentives for producing high quality beef.
Since beginning operations in December 1997, USPB's producer-owners have realized more than $150 million in value-based incentive premiums for producing quality beef designed to meet the needs of the Company's consumer markets.
In honoring these individuals, Agricultural Business Council Executive Director Bob Petersen said it illustrates the breadth of the agricultural system and its impact on the regional economy.
He said an economic impact study the Council commissioned several years ago showed agribusiness is responsible for 233,000 jobs, which is 16.2% of all jobs in the area or about one in every six jobs.
Agribusiness generates $22.6 billion dollars in direct economic impact, which is 14.2% of all economic activity for the area or about one in every seven dollars.
The percent impact of agribusiness to the overall Kansas City economy is similar to the percent impact of agribusiness to the overall national economy. This finding is noteworthy because the percent impact on the national economy includes both rural and urban areas while the Kansas City economy only includes the percent impact on urban Kansas City.