Two Kansas farmers elected to National Association of Wheat Growers board

Posted February 28, 2014

Two Kansas wheat growers have been elected to officer positions with the National Association of Wheat Growers.

Paul Penner, Hillsboro, was elected President at the NAWG board meeting on February 27, 2014. David Schemm, Sharon Springs, was elected Secretary/Treasurer.

“The Kansas Association of Wheat Growers is confident that Paul and David will work selflessly and tirelessly as NAWG officers, representing U.S. wheat producers,” said KAWG President Gary Millershaski. “They are both committed, thoughtful individuals who will be great assets to our national organization.”

Paul Penner owns and manages a cash grain farm in central Kansas near Hillsboro. His principal crops are wheat, soybeans, grain sorghum, corn and grass hay. In addition, Paul operates a custom farming enterprise in Marion County. As a representative of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers on NAWG’s Board of Directors, he served on NAWG’s Research and Technology Committee and Operations and Planning Committee. He was also a member of NAWG’s Environment and Renewable Resources Committee, and was that panel’s chairman in 2009-2010. A long-time member of KAWG, Paul has held each of that organization’s officer chairs and has served an additional year-long term each as vice president and president. During his time in KAWG’s leadership, Paul has been actively involved in the formation of Heartland Plant Innovations, Inc., a for-profit biotechnology company of which KAWG is a majority shareholder. Penner served on HPI’s first CEO search committee and currently serves as HPI’s Audit Committee chair. Additionally, Paul has served as an alternate committee member for the recently formed Kansas Wheat Alliance, which collects end-user royalties from seed revenues and reinvests those funds into wheat research. In addition to his service to the wheat industry, Paul serves as treasurer of Risely Township. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics with a concentration in accounting from Tabor College in Hillsboro. He is also a graduate of the wheat industry’s two leadership training programs, the Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) program and the Wheat Organization Leaders of the Future (WOLF) program. Paul and his wife, Deborah, have three adult children and celebrated the birth of twin granddaughters in 2010.

“I’m very excited to serve as NAWG president and am looking forward to a productive year. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as president and will work hard to live up to the expectations set forth,” said Penner.

David Schemm and his wife Lisa grow wheat, corn, grain sorghum, and sunflowers on their Wallace County, Kansas, farm along with their two sons, Clay and Luke. David has been active on the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers Board since 2002. Within the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, his fellow producers have elected him as a membership district director, secretary/treasurer, vice president and president. Schemm has also served on the board of the National Association of Wheat Growers, having been actively involved on several committees including chair of the Domestic and Trade Policy Committee and as a member of the Operations and Planning Committee. He was a member of the 2004 Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow class, and completed the Wheat Organization Leaders of the Future program prior to joining the National Association of Wheat Growers board. Schemm was raised on the farm he now works, having graduated from Wallace County High School and then completing his degree at Ambassador University. He returned to the farm in 1993 while operating a custom crop-spraying business. He has served on the Wallace County School Board for 11 years, as president for the past three. He has also been an active member on the Wallace County Health Board and local extension committee.

“It’s something I have given a lot of thought to, and I have the belief that I have to be a part of the industry to help make sure that we pass on a strong thriving industry to the next generation,” said Schemm. “We’ve got challenging times with us now and in the future, and we also have a great and positive future. When I returned back to the farm, it was not a very optimistic time in ag, and kids were not wanting to come back to the farm. My boys are excited and want to come back to the farm, and we are seeing young kids come back into the rural communities and come back to the farm. That is a positive thing to see because that is what gives our industry a future.”