Honoring A Legend–Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh

Like many others, we were saddened to learn about the passing of the great king-maker, Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. It’s not an easy task to put into words what he made us all feel inside, but we will try in this blog as a reminder of the legacy he has left behind.

In 2018, Kansas Corn honored Dr. Flinchbaugh with our inaugural Kansas Corn Impact Award, one award amid a sea of recognition he received over his many years.  He influenced and shaped the minds of many agriculturalists, both young and old, on all matters related to ag policy and sometimes on matters related to everyday life. He opened the mind of every student and filled the seats of every class he taught. He spoke the truth, whether it was something you wanted to hear or not. You could say his favorite word was compromise, because that’s how he believed things got done both in Washington D.C. and in everyday life.

During his career he left his wisdom and influence on every Farm Bill since 1996 and met more U.S. Presidents than many of us can name. He shared his knowledge with classrooms of students until his passing, even continuing to teach K-State students via Zoom this semester. You could call him the teacher who would never stop teaching. He challenged our minds, engaged our souls, and impacted our lives in ways many others have not.

From the staff and board members at Kansas Corn, we want to show our appreciation for Dr. Flinchbaugh’s contribution to the agriculture industry and put into words what he meant to those of us that knew him.

Dr. Flinchbaugh talking with Class 1 of the Kansas Corn Collegiate Academy in 2018.

“Barry’s ability to present economic policy in real world terms and actually making it entertaining was second to none. I had the honor of knowing him as an instructor, mentor, and friend as he has impacted every portion of my life. The world is a better place because of him.” –Josh Roe, Kansas Corn V.P. of Policy and Market Development

“Throughout my career – beginning in 1989 – I’ve had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Flinchbaugh numerous times and always marveled at his wit, wisdom, frankness and insight. My duties often included understanding federal programs’ impact and benefit to Kansas. He was the master explainer of these programs. I especially appreciated his support in the last 10-15 years of the opportunities that the biofuels industry brought to ag producers.

My greatest respect for him came as I watched him meet with and mentor students in our Kansas Collegiate program in the last several years. It was obvious that his passion for mentoring students to become ag advocates was one of his great loves – and he was so good at it! It was an honor for me to know him as a state and national leader for the ag industry that he loved.” –Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn CEO

“Most people can look back and identify teachers that had an extra impact on them as they made their way through the course of their education from grade school to college.  Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh taught and presented students with the wisdom to look at issues from varied perspectives.  How the political and legislative process shapes the country and world.  When you walked in to Flinchbaugh’s class you knew you were going to be challenged to think for yourself and you would walk out prepared to do such.” –Kent Moore, Kansas Corn Commission Chairman

“I sat second row in Dr. Flinchbaugh’s ag policy class my senior year at K-State. He inspired me to become more active in policy matters and make sure the voice of farmers was heard. My favorite lesson from Dr. Flinchbaugh was, ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Nothing in this world is truly free. When you gain a free meal you are also giving up your time. In my experience, any meal with him was always well worth the time and money. It meant so much to know such a busy and important person would still make time for life-chats with me.” –Kaitlin Donovan, Kansas Corn Communications Coordinator

Ken McCauley with Dr. Flinchbaugh at the 2018 Kansas Corn Symposium after he received the Corn Impact Award.

“Dr. Flinchbaugh and I go back to the mid ‘70s when he came to speak in Hiawatha and I have been a fan ever since. From teaching both of our children in his ag policy class at K-State to personal talks about shaping the 2008 Farm Bill. Kansas farmers, and all of agriculture will miss Barry’s great mind and influence.” –Ken McCauley, Kansas Corn Board Member & Past NCGA President

“Few other professors cared as much about their students as Dr. Flinchbaugh. As many people might remember, the first day of class was completely spent getting to know each and every one of his students. I remember him walking up and down through the narrow aisles in Cardwell Hall, stopping in front of each desk, asking questions, getting to know each of us as individuals. His wit, humor, and intelligence were unmatched, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn about ag policy from him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family members and close friends who are celebrating the life of an incredible man this week.” –Emily Koop, Kansas Corn Market Development Coordinator

“My opinion of Dr. Flinchbaugh was developed through many, many others. I did not have classes with Dr. Flinchbaugh or meet him personally, but I still could feel his lessons and wisdom being shared through other people.  He was a great mind.  A great man.  God Bless Dr. Flinchbaugh and his family.” –Chad Epler, Kansas Corn Growers Association Board Member