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Source: Kansas State University news release

Many Kansans or U.S. consumers are unaware that asparagus can be picked today and be on store shelves at this time tomorrow. They may also not be aware that a lot of that fresh asparagus is coming from Peru. One of the 35 largest private companies in the United States has joined hundreds of contributors supporting the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program to share that story first hand.

"We are pleased to announce the Cooperative Education 101 program component of the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership (KARL) Program will be awarded a grant in the amount of $10,000," said CHS Foundation president William Nelson in a statement.

In an application to the CHS Foundation, KARL, Inc. president and KARL program director Jack Lindquist shared the information detailing the 2009 free trade agreement with Peru: "Prior to that agreement, barely a sprig of asparagus was produced in Peru.

The U.S. has great demand for asparagus well outside of our domestic production cycle. Peru had the right soils and climate to meet that demand and started working with food cooperatives like Green Giant to propagate, produce, process and ship product by air to meet that demand."

"KARL Class XI will be going to Peru in March to study the agricultural industry and other food, technology and other consumer product production and marketing methods," Lindquist added. "As honorary good will emissaries for Kansas, as designated by the Governor of Kansas, the 36-member team will also be learning about the culture and policy development practices that enhance our trade relationship and people to people exchange."

"We will take the KARL class to the fields and processing plants to see the food we will be consuming at home and will be visiting with the producers and marketers about future opportunities.

Thanks to the trade relationship, entire communities are growing and the quality of life is improving as an advance team of KARL board members discovered during a planning trip last year. Peruvians in turn, are buying Kansas beef and other products in the exchange of goods," Lindquist wrote.

More information about the KARL program is available online at or by calling 785-532-6300.

The CHS Foundation ( is the major giving entity of CHS Inc. (, one of the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperatives which is based in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. As a part of the CHS stewardship focus, the CHS Foundation is committed to investing in the future of rural America, agriculture and cooperative business through education and leadership development.

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