Editors note: This story was written by a current student of Dr. Flinchbaugh, Noah Ochsner, who also currently works on staff at KSNT covering the Manhattan area.
MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – After teaching for nearly half a century at Kansas State University, Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh has passed away, Kansas State University Research and Extension (KSRE) announced Monday evening, he was 78-years-old.
“The charismatic Flinchbaugh was well known as one of the United States’ leading experts on agricultural policy and agricultural economics. For more than four decades, he was a top adviser to politicians of both major political parties, including Secretaries of Agriculture, chairs of the House and Senate Ag committees, and numerous senators and state governors,” KSRE said in a statement.
Flinchbaugh was currently serving as a Professor Emeritus at K-State in the Department of Agricultural Economics. He taught “Ag Policy 410” a course that details the specifics of agricultural policy and its wide ranging effects on the ag economy.
Flinchbaugh also served as the Chairman of the Commission on 21st Century Production Agriculture, which was authorized in the 1996 Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act, also known as the Freedom to Farm Act according to KSRE.
Former and current students say that Dr. Flinchbaugh will be remembered for always putting students first.
“Dr. Flinchbaugh is one of the best professors and economists to ever educate young people about agriculture. He made every lecture memorable, leaving a long-lasting impact on each of his students for over fifty years,” said former K-State student Sadie Polson. “His legacy reaches farther than K-State, the state of Kansas, and our nation. He will be deeply missed,” Polson said.
At a university that typically averages an undergraduate enrollment of over 19,000 students, Dr. Flinchbaugh also took time to get to know his students, name by name and on a more personal level.
“The first day of class each fall semester, Dr. Flinchbaugh took attendance, calling on each student and learning something about them,” Polson said. “If he had taught your parents or grandparents, he told you about it, and if you were new to his ag policy legacy, he took you in as one of his own,” she added.
“I had the privilege of learning from Dr. Flinchbaugh in his AgPolicy class three years in a row, one as a student and two more as his teaching assistant,” said former K-State student Jake Wessel.
“During that time I saw first hand how much he truly cared for his students. He would do anything for them, and they would do the same for him. I learned everything I know about agricultural policy from Dr. Flinchbaugh, but I learned even more about life and being a good person through his friendship and mentorship. Myself and many others will miss him dearly,” Wessel added.
The loss of Dr. Flinchbaugh also struck home for federal Kansas lawmakers including Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts along with U.S. Congressman Dr. Roger Marshall (KS-1).
“Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh was an icon of agricultural policy in Kansas and throughout the nation. Dr. Flinchbaugh was well known for his involvement in helping craft farm bills for nearly five decades, and his authority on agriculture issues made him a trusted advisor to me and many prominent federal officials of both parties throughout his lifetime,” Senator Moran said, in part, in a statement posted on his website.
Kansas State University will be releasing more details including tributes from current staff and colleagues on Tuesday (November 3rd) according to KSRE.
Flinchbaugh is survived in the family’s Manhattan home by his wife, Cathy. Funeral arrangements will be released in the coming days.
Dr. Flinchbaugh was one of a kind, and has left a legacy that will live on for generations to come at Kansas State University. It is truly impossible to capture the life of someone who left such an incredible legacy on thousands of students, his passion for helping students excel will not go unnoticed.
“Dr. Flinchbaugh was so much more than his class at Kansas State, the way he was able to connect with his students past, and present was so incredible,” said Faye Smith current K-State student. “He was always able to make time for a phone call, a conversation in the hallway, or a simple email thread to catch up and get to know you,” she said.
Above and beyond, a passion for making a difference in the lives of others and an impact that will live on for generations to come. Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh has touched the lives of so many, and in a way that is hard to express via text.