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Source: Agriculture Future of America news release

R. Crosby Kemper Jr. passionately believed the best young leaders come from rural backgrounds and he wanted to give them tools to succeed. Until he passed away at the age of 86 last Thursday, he was a committed contributor to agriculture's youth.

The Kansas City native believed the city, with its strong agriculture base, should be the location of a premier leader development organization to identify, encourage and support outstanding collegiate leaders who were pursuing careers in agriculture. Because of Kemper's commitment and that of other area business leaders, including his son Alexander (Sandy) Kemper, Agriculture Future of America was born in 1996.

In the past 17 years, AFA has honored Kemper's commitment to agriculture's young leaders, awarding more than $8 million in academic and leader development scholarships and impacting over 9,000 college leaders and young professionals.

AFA's student delegation has represented more than 200 colleges and universities from 43 states. Under the leadership of the Board of Director's, which is chaired by Sandy Kemper, student participation in AFA's leader development programs has increased by 70 percent in the last five years.

"Mr. Kemper believed one's legacy should be measured by the difference they make in the lives of others," said Russell Weathers, president and CEO of AFA.

"He shared that belief often as he visited with young men and women involved in AFA. Mr. Kemper founded AFA 17 years ago and I believe it is his personal legacy, which will unfold through the achievements of thousands of men and women he touched. Personally I found him to be one of the more interesting persons I have had the privilege of knowing and to have had the opportunity to work with him has been a special honor."

Kemper's commitment to AFA and its students was personal. He served as a lifetime member of the AFA Board of Directors. Truly, Kemper's leadership and legacy live on in the alumni of the AFA program, who seek to make a difference for agriculture and for rural America.

AFA invites you to share your memories of Mr. Kemper and the impact his legacy has had on your life on AFA's Facebook Page or on Twitter using #RememberKemper. More information about Kemper's contributions to Kansas City may be found at To see video or photos of Mr. Kemper with AFA, or to make a contribution to the Kemper Fund in his honor, visit

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