Farm Bureau CEO Yunk ready for full-time grandfatherhood

By Corene Brisendine

It’s time for another change.

“I tell people I’m entering my third full-time career — full-time grandpa,” said Dan Yunk, who has announced his retirement as CEO of the Kansas Farm Bureau.

“I told them I’d probably stay 10 years,” he said. “I’ve been here 13 1/2. I think I lived up to that promise.”

Stepping down from the Farm Bureau puts a bow on Yunk’s second high-profile career in Manhattan. He spent 30 years in education and served a tenure as superintendent of USD 383.

It’s a terrific resume, but one part will sound familiar to a lot of locals. Yunk moved to Manhattan in 1969 to attend K-State; and like so many other community members, he never left.

“It’s a good place to live, a good place to raise children, and I think it will be a great place to retire,” he said.

After college, Yunk got his first teaching job at Riley County. From there, he accepted an administrative position as vice principal at Manhattan High.

He was principal at Northview Elementary when it received national recognition as one of four schools featured in a TV documentary, “Learning in America: Schools That Work.”

Northview was selected as a National Exemplary School by the Reagan administration and the U.S. Department of Education during Yunk’s tenure.

After that, he moved into the vice superintendent position for the school district and finally to the top job.

Yunk said after three decades in education, he decided to make a career change — and left the district to become vice president at Farm Bureau.

Shortly after taking that position, he was asked to fill in as CEO while the Farm Bureau conducted a nationwide search. It turned out that the best candidate was already in the office, and Yunk formally took on the task of running the Farm Bureau.

Yunk said he was amazed at the number of people he has worked with over the last 13 years that were his previous pupils.

He said although being CEO of Farm Bureau was not teaching school, he really enjoyed traveling all across Kansas – giving presentations on farming techniques. He said his ability to teach helped him when presenting new farming techniques and other new research in agriculture.

Although he enjoyed his time as CEO, he said he wants to spend more time with his six grandchildren — four in Kansas City and two in Orlando.

Yunk also wants to write more books. While at Farm Bureau, Yunk wrote several children’s books on farming and agriculture. He said he’d like to write more of those kinds of books, as well as write or do something with recordings of his father’s memoirs of World War II.

Yunk said he taped his father talking about his time spent in the South Pacific during the war, and wanted to do something special with the stories.

He said he will also stay engaged in the community through various organizations, as well as serving on several boards.

He said he remains a strong supporter of K-State, and hopes to continue helping the university through his association with the alumni center and various fundraising efforts.

Yunk will retire as of Dec. 31. His replacement has already been found.

Yunk has been working with Terry Holdren, CEO elect. Holdren is currently Farm Bureau’s attorney and will assume the responsibility of CEO Jan. 1.

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