Kenneth Lenz has been an effective and long-time leader in the Missouri dairy industry, specifically with Mid-America Dairymen and more recently with Dairy Farmers of America. Mark Reinhardt, a regional DFA manager, said in his letter of support that “Kenneth’s leadership in Mid-Am/DFA spans decades and runs the breadth of the organization.”
His service and leadership is shown by his continual re-election by those Mid-Am/DFA members in his local district. His service includes membership on the Mid-Am and DFA corporate boards.
In addition, he has been a continuous, vocal advocate of the Young Cooperator Program.
Kenneth was born Oct. 27, 1944 in Boonville. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1966 with a degree in dairy science. Among other MU activities he was chair of the Dairy Club, a member of the dairy judging team, and chair of Ag Council.
He also was a member of Gamma Sigma Delta, National Honor Society, and Alpha Zeta and Ruf Nex, agricultural honorary organizations.
In 1965 he married Marian Ann Foster and they have two children. Their daughter Tina Marie married Jerry Schnelle and they live on a farm near Golden City. The Schnelles have three children-Erica, Ellen, and John.
Kevin, their son, and wife Lida have a daughter Madison and they are a part of the Lenz dairy operation near Bunceton.
Kenneth started dairy farming with 30 cows in 1968 in partnership with his brother Gale. The two brothers also farmed 260 acres and had a beef cow-calf operation. They also raised hogs for a number of years.
The farming operation now consists of Gale, son Kevin, nephew Randy, Kenneth, and full-time and part-time employees. Currently, the farming venture has 1,600 acres.
In 1998 new dairy facilities for the 150 cow operation were built. The family also maintains a 150 cow beef herd. Crops include corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, and pasture.
In addition to his service to Mid-Am/DFA, Kenneth has been an active supporter of other dairy organizations including Mid-West Dairy Association, National Dairy Council, Kansas City Dairy Council, Missouri Dairy Association, and Missouri Dairy Growth Council.
Other affiliations include the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives, Johne’s Advisory Committee, Cooper County Extension Council, Cooper County Fair, 4-H project leader, Missouri and Pettis County DHIA Associations, National and Missouri Holstein Associations, Select Sires Breeders Association, Ag Co-op Services, and Missouri Farmers Association.
Awards, accomplishments, and honors received include the Kansas City Dairy Council 2002 Oscar Award; Missouri State Fair Family Award; Cooper County Farm Management Award; Mid-Am Outstanding Young Dairyman; Ralston Purina Distinguished Dairyman of America Award; and numerous awards from Missouri and Pettis County Dairy Associations.
Kenneth is a member of Zion Lutheran Church-Lone Elm and currently serves as elder. In past years he served as president of the congregation; chair of stewardship and evangelism; past chair of Zion Lutheran School board of education; church improvement committee, and board of trustees.
Mid-Am/DFA, Midwest Dairy Association, and Missouri Dairy Association supported Kenneth’s nomination for the Dairy Leadership Award.