By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Wayne Foster has dedicated more than 10 years to Two Rivers Co-op as an agronomist, helping area producers in Northern Oklahoma and Southern Kansas find the best crop management solutions for their operations. That service as now been recognized as he has been promoted to General Manager of the Newkirk facility, a position he is already well-qualified for, and he looks forward to many more years with the company.
Foster replaces former manager Curtis Grace, who retired Aug. 30.
Agriculture is in Foster’s blood, having grown up on a dairy farm in Houston, Mo. It was there that he met his wife, Angie, a Blackwell native, through a family member who lived in the area.
“I was best friends with her cousin, and she was in Missouri vising them, and he set us up on a blind date,” he said. “We dated a year and a half, and have been married 36 years.”
Through that union came two children, Jonathan and Beth, and Wayne and Angie now have their own grandchildren.
The couple originally settled down in Missouri, but she longed for home, so in 1990, they packed their belongings and headed for the Oklahoma prairie. Foster started with Blackwell Co-op Elevator Association not long after they arrived in Kay County. His initial role was in customer service and agronomy, a role he would continue with Two Rivers Co-op in 2006, when he joined the company.
Through about 13 years with the company, he has served as an agronomist in multiple locations, as well as aided producers in Kay and Cowley counties. His services have included assisting with soil and tissue samples and helping them choose the best chemical options for their operations, both fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the application of those chemicals.
“I was to go out and work with the farmers, helping them with what kind of chemical to put on the crop,” he said. “It’s something I enjoy, working in agribusiness.”
Foster now primarily works for the Newkirk facility, however, he will still be able to assist the other offices and producers on a limited basis.
“I used to take care of five locations, but when Curtis Grace left as general manager, they asked me to take over,” he said. “I’ll still work with them with technology. They can send pictures of their fields, and I can still help them that way.”
Foster’s promotion comes at the start of corn harvest, with soybeans following in only a matter of weeks. He isn’t so much worried about the harvest itself as he is about the management of so many employees.
“I don’t think harvest is going to be stressful, because as I tell our employees, you can only handle so much. We just work through our problems as they come,” Foster said. “One of the things that is different with the job is, before, I only had to worry about myself, working with the farmers, but now, I have to work with the employees, and worry about their safety, and work with the farmers and getting the grain in and out safely.”
As Foster settles into his new role, he pledges to continue offering the same friendly customer service the cooperative has been known for.
“I want to continue working with the producers like I have been,” he said.