Kansas banker, university professor to receive top ag banking awards

The American Bankers Association today announced the recipients of its annual Bruning and Blanchfield Awards, the association’s premier awards presented for significant contributions to agricultural banking. Leonard Wolfe, president and CEO of United Bank and Trust based in Marysville, Kansas, will receive the Bruning Award while Robert Craven, associate director of the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota, will receive the Blanchfield Award. The awards will be presented during the ABA Agricultural Bankers Conference, Nov. 5-8 in Oklahoma City.

Wolfe, a native of Kansas who has more than 40 years of experience in banking, began his career as an agricultural lender and insurance agent. One of his key accomplishments was pushing for the creation of a Kansas law that gives community banks the same tax-exempt status on certain earned interest as farm credit institutions. The legislation—similar to the ABA-supported ACRE Act introduced in the House and Senate earlier this year—also includes a tax exemption for rural housing loans in communities with populations of no more than 2,500.

Craven is an experienced ag economist who served as director of UMN’s Center for Farm Financial Management for 22 years. In 2000, he co-founded the national schools for beginning and experienced agriculture bankers that he currently co-leads with the South Dakota Bankers Association. He was also an instructor for more than 15 years at the Midwest Banking Institute.