2017 Pioneer Dairy Leader Award

Kenny Lenz

Kenny Lenz was born on October 27, 1944 in Boonville, Missouri to Arnold and Beata (Dankert) Lenz. He was a lifelong resident of Cooper County, Missouri.

Kenny graduated from Bunceton High School in 1962 and received a degree in dairy science from the University of Missouri in 1966. At Mizzou 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 the agricultural honorary organizations Alpha Zeta and Ruf Nex.

On November 6, 1965 he married Marian Ann Foster. They had two children, Tina Marie Schnelle and Kevin Jon Lenz.

Kenny worked for Cargill a short time upon graduation, then began dairy farming with 30 cows in partnership with his brother, Gale, in 1968. They also raised hogs for a number of years. Kenny was passionate about his cows and was an effective and long-time leader in the Missouri dairy industry, specifically with Mid-America Dairymen and Dairy Farmers of America.

In addition to his service to Mid-Am/DFA, Kenny was an active supporter of other dairy organizations including the Midwest Dairy Association, National Dairy Council, Kansas City Dairy Council, Missouri Dairy Association, and the 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 Kenny received throughout his life 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.

Kenny was a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Lone Elm. At Zion he served in many roles including elder, 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.

Kenny had a quick wit and an infectious sense of humor. There are people across the continent who are happy to call him friend. Kenny and Marian Ann were afforded the opportunity to travel the country and world with a number of people they are blessed to call friends.

“Kenny was a great leader in the dairy industry, in his community and in his church. His leadership was part great endearing personality, a touch of humor, and a love of life” said Rex Ricketts, Professor Emeritus of Animal Sciences, who nominated Kenny for the award.

In August 2013, Kenny and Gale sold the milking herd. Kenny passed away in February 2014 at age 69. He is survived by his wife, Marian Ann, of the home, his daughter, Tina and husband, Jerry, Golden City, MO; son, Kevin Lenz and Kim Welch, Bunceton, MO; and grandchildren, Erica, Ellen, and John Schnelle, Golden City; Madison Lenz, Boonville, MO; Gavan and Balea Welch, Boonville, MO.