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Ag Business Council Recognizes Young Leaders in Agribusiness

Ag Business Council Recognizes Young Leaders in Agribusiness

June 22, 2022, KANSAS CITY, MO. The Agricultural Business Council of Kanas City has selected 8 individuals for its inaugural class of young leaders in agribusiness.

“We are pleased to recognize these young people who have been nominated by their employers and have shown exemplary passion, leadership, and business acumen,” said Dustin Johansen, chair, KC Ag Business Council. Johansen, Director Business Development with Farm Journal, pointed out these individuals represent the future, the next generation of executives who will lead the agribusiness sector.

Chelsey Buseck, Agricultural Future of America

Chelsey Buseck is the senior manager for development and alumni. In her five years with AFA, she has improved and developed new programs to build relationships with industry partners, donors, and alumni throughout the nation. Her innovative thinking and strategy worked to restructure and rebrand the AFA Alliance Alumni Network. Chelsey is a member of the American Royal Chairman’s Club, and serves as co-chair for the inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) committee for the Kansas City chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals. Chelsey came to AFA by way of the University of Central Missouri Foundation where she was assistant editor of the nationally award-winning UCM Today alumni magazine. At UCM, she earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations in 2013 and a master’s degree in mass communication in 2015.

Emma Downing, Dairy Farmers of America

As part of DFA’s Government, Community and Industry Relations team, Emma Downing focuses on representing DFA at dairy and agricultural industry events, facilitating DFA’s farmer-lead policy process, supporting DFA’s policy advocacy efforts, leading DFA’s participation in USDA’s Dairy Donation Program as well as coordinating strategic optimization projects. Emma also participates in several organizations including the American Royal Chairman’s Club and Kansas City Agribusiness Council and serving as a board member to her local county Farm Bureau and officer of her alumni Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority Alumni Chapter. She holds a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics Public Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri.

Jebryan (Xylan) Grant, John Deere

JeBryan Xylan Grant is a Dealer Development Specialist at John Deere where he provides analytic resources to aid the company’s dealer network’s precision agriculture strategy. Prior to joining John Deere, Xylan also served in the US Army as a signal soldier. Xylan currently is the Chairperson for the John Deere Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) program, leading the efforts to engage talented students. He also is the Founder of the “Bridge Builder Mentorship Group”, focused on aiding high school juniors & seniors in his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina prepare for life after their K-12 education. He also is the co-founder of the “Adams, Daniel’s, Grant Scholarship” provided to HBCU agribusiness students at his alma mater, South Carolina State University.

Allyssa King, American Royal

Allyssa King began her career at the American Royal as an intern nearly 14 years ago. Upon completing her internship, she joined the staff on a full-time basis serving for several years as manager of the Livestock Show. In 2012, she was named manager of equine shows and in 2022 was named Director of Communications. Allyssa is active in her community as an Executive on the Johnson County Fair Board and volunteers at the Johnson County spring livestock shows.

Kylee Nodine, Corteva

Kylee Nodine just celebrated her 12th year with Corteva Agriscience, currently serving as a Crop Protection Territory Manager in Missouri & Kansas. Kylee joined the company as part of the Emerging Leader program. She mentors new employees, volunteers locally, and serves on several Corteva workstreams to help improve customer experience. In her spare time, she enjoys being with family and friends, helping with the family farm when possible, working out, reading, and cooking.

Franklin Peitz, John Deere

Franklin Peitz is a Product Marketing Manager for John Deere, where he focuses on bringing innovative application products to market that increase customer productivity and profitability. Franklin has worked for John Deere for 12 years in various positions of increasing responsibility across accounting, John Deere Financial underwriting, field sales management, sales analytics, and product marketing. Franklin is a graduate of Drake University where he earned his bachelor's in Accounting and Finance and achieved Certified Public Accountant certification.

Matt Shepheard, John Deere

A Kansas State University graduate in Agriculture Technology Management and Agriculture Economics. Matt has worked within the Product Support and Marketing Business segments within John Deere and Company since his internship in the summer of 2009. A third-generation farmer, with an operation including row crops, hay forage, a Red Angus cow/calf operation, and bred heifer marketing program. Matt and his wife Sydney have 3 children; Twins, Jolie and Thane are 5, and Rhett will be 1 in November. They enjoy getting to work within the ag industry as well as raising their children on the farm.

Scott Thellman, Kansas Farm Bureau

Scott Thellman is a first-generation farmer and owner of Juniper Hill Farms, LLC, a diversified farm producing organic and conventional vegetables, row crops and hay located in Douglas County. He is also a co-owner with a local meat distributor of Sunflower Provisions, an online local grocery marketplace for quality produce, proteins, and provisions. He has a passion for organic and sustainable agricultural production, post-harvest handling, food systems and the economics of growing. Scott is President of the Kansas Specialty Growers Association; sits on the Kansas Board of Agriculture; is a founding board member of the Agrarian Future Alliance; and serves on the boards of the Kansas Land Trust and the Douglas County Farm Bureau. He is also a member of the Douglas County Food Policy Council and Growing Lawrence. Scott was recognized as Kansas Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer of the Year in 2019 and was recognized nationally as a top ten Young Farmer and Rancher by the American Farm Bureau in 2020.

The Council will recognize these young leaders a reception in Kansas City on July 7.

Members of the Agricultural Business Council include over 350 individuals associated with the food and agribusiness sector. Agribusiness continues to be one of the largest business sectors in the Kansas City region, accounting for 8 percent of the workforce and contributing 22 percent of the gross regional product. For further information: Bob Petersen (816) 810-5000;


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