Illustration by Diana Derstein.

Magnanimous. Dedicated. Passionate. Pillars of the community. These are a sampling of phrases High Plains Journal readers used to describe nominees for our annual Agriculture Cares issue.

Started in 2016, Agriculture Cares recognizes those people who go above and beyond to improve their community, their country and their world. People who see a need in their community and find a way to meet it. People who willingly serve their neighbors and inspire others to make a difference, no matter how small or wherever they may live.

High Plains Journal is pleased to honor these six 2017 Ag Cares finalists and share more about their contributions to their communities on the following pages:

Medicine Lodge cattleman Mel Thompson is an agricultural assistant for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts. His commitment to listening to the agricultural producers he serves allows him to better solve problems and provide resources.

Gary and Tim Moss and their mother, Opal, have gone to great lengths in caring for their father, Earl, and making sure Earl remains active in their Sheridan County, Kansas, farming operation.

Paralysis caused by transverse myelitis has not prevented Alec Gotto, age 12, also known as the “The Cow Whisperer,” from pursuing his cattle-showing goals. Earlier this year he led his steer J.D. into the ring at the National Junior Angus Show in Des Moines, Iowa.

Richard Porter, Reading, Kansas, is a philanthropist whose cost-effective business strategies enable him to make financial contributions and make his community a better place.

The community of Ashland, Kansas, came together as a team to make a difference after the Starbuck Wildfires in spring 2017 raged across the area.

Individuals and groups from all over the country also heeded the call for help following the Starbuck fire. Rodney Beer traveled from Minnesota to offer his heavy equipment and labor to clean up destroyed homes and outbuildings.

Read more about the finalists at

Shauna Rumbaugh can be reached at 620-227-1805 or

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