2004 Kansas Cooperative Hall of Fame
Kenneth M. Lyon

Kenneth M. Lyon served Kansas Cooperatives during his entire 40 year career and provided leadership at the local, state, and national levels.

Kenneth worked for and provided leadership to a variety of Cooperative enterprises, including grain and supply Co-ops, local farm credit associations, and the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank of Wichita.

A native of Greensburg, Kansas, Kenneth attended Friends Academy at Haviland, Kansas and Salt City Business College in Hutchinson, Kansas.

He began his career in 1935 in the Greensburg Production Credit Association (PCA) as Assistant Secretary and was promoted numerous times until he became the Manager of that organization in 1941.  That year, he left the PCA to operate a farm near Garden City, Kansas.  He later began employment with the Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange and was named Manager of the Garden City Co-op in 1953.  In that capacity, Kenneth provided strong local cooperative leadership and was active in local and state agricultural and cooperative organizations.

In 1951, Mr. Lyon was elected to be a Director on the Ninth Farm Credit District Board.  In this capacity, he provided leadership to Farm Credit Financial Institutions in Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

In 1957, Mr. Lyon joined the staff of the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank as Vice President in charge of Credit.  He was named the President of the Bank in 1959.  During the early 1960's, Mr. Lyon was instrumental in the formulation of standing committees of Presidents from the 12 FICB's.  These committees dealt with sophisticated funding and finance issues for the entire FICB system, as well as public relations and training, credit, and financial services.  The financial committee, along with presidents of the other System Banks, provided input and direction to the Federal Farm Credit System Funding Corporation in New York, the organization that sold Farm Credit Bonds to investors all over the world.  Over the course of the next several years, Mr. Lyon chaired each of the four president's FICB leadership committees, providing leadership that had a significant influence over the future direction of the System related to funding, services, and automation.

Mr. Lyon always felt that one of the major changes in the Farm Credit System (FCS) was the addition of services.  Prior to the work of the national FICB leadership committees, the System was primarily focused on credit supervision and operations.  The work of the committees ushered in a new era for the FCS where the entities combined forces to develop service entities to provide services to farmers and ranchers and to each other.  Some of these service programs included providing local offices with defined training programs, salary administration programs, automation and computer services and legal assistance.  It required an amendment to national law, the Farm Credit Act, making the offering of services practical, and an authorized mission area of Farm Credit Banks and Associations.  For a time, Mr. Lyon chaired the FICB committee that worked toward the development of legislative language that later was adopted by Congress and codified in the Farm Credit Act of 1971.  This new legislation made providing services, such as credit life insurance, crop hail insurance, real estate appraisals, farm record keeping services, and many other types of assistance available to farmer/rancher borrowers of the Farm Credit System.

During Mr. Lyon's tenure as President of the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank of Wichita, the era of computer automation was just coming of age, and Mr. Lyon was instrumental in working to begin the automation of accounting systems and in working with other Intermediate Credit Bank Presidents to form a technology group that would later assist several Banks with computerizing their workplaces.  Under Lyon's direction, the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank became the technology provider for the Intermediate Credit Bank of Texas and its affiliated associations, as well as for the Wichita District PCAs.

During the 1960s and 70s, there were 37 Farm Credit System Banks, chartered to serve various geographic regions.  In each regional "District" there were three banks, a Federal Intermediate Credit Bank (to fund short and intermediate term loans for Production Credit Associations), a Federal Land Bank (to fund long term real estate loans for farmers, and a Bank for Cooperatives (to make loans to agricultural cooperatives).  These Banks have since merged and consolidated many times, but during Mr. Lyon's tenture, all of the banks were separately organized.  Mr. Lyon served on the 37 Bank President's Planning Committee and in that role also provided national leadership to the Farm Credit System.

The 37 Bank President's Planning Committee established overall direction for the System, defined the System's Vision, based on its congressionally mandated mission, and established cooperative efforts between the banks to help utilize the strengths of certain System Institutions to provide more efficient and streamlined services to all System Banks and Associations.

Despite Kenneth Lyon's national service and influence, he never forgot the people in the local associations and the farmers and ranchers in Kansas.  He formed a Farm Credit District Stockholder's Advisory Committee and utilized this group of Association Directors to provide input to the Bank on a variety of issues.  He served on the Board of Trustees of Friends University in Wichita as a way to give back to the community.  As a way to recognize Mr. Lyon's accomplishments, the members of the Stockholder's Advisory Committee spearheaded the endowment of the Kenneth M. Lyon Scholarship fund at Friends University.

Whether in service to Cooperatives, farmers, or the community, Kenneth M. Lyon was an established leader, locally and nationally.  His contributions to the Farm Credit System and to the community are still being felt as a result of the changes to the Farm Credit Act in 1971, and his contributions to the community are still being realized by students at Friend University.