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80-year-old manages ag hedge fund

The work keeps his mind alert, he said

Staff writer

Pat Koons of Burdick is a lifelong cattleman who has been involved in every phase of production, from the ranch to the feedlot to the packing plant.

Since 2009, Koons has been manager of a low-key agriculture hedge fund that looks for investment opportunities in the ag industry, including cattle, grain, oil, dairy, and land.

The 80-year-old rancher is one of six managers.

“It is a highly-structured team concept,” he said. “We are always connected.”

The fund’s owners have an office in Dallas that is connected worldwide with large digital screens to keep track of a wide variety of pertinent issues.

The fund manages 20,000 head of cattle in 12 feedlots in three states. Koons has the responsibility to oversee the cattle. He often travels to view them and gather data on their performance.

Koons is involved in purchasing cattle for the fund, some from sale barns and some from Internet sales.

He was born on a ranch north of Council Grove, where his father was the manager. He got a degree in animal science from Kansas State University in 1962.

He was a CattleFax analyst for the Kansas Livestock Association and managed the OK Ranch south of Junction City before becoming part-owner and manager of Kearny County Feeders.

Raised in the Flint Hills, he managed Kearny County Feeders at Lakin in western Kansas for 34 years.

Koons continued at Lakin until he sold his interest in the business in 2007. He still owns a 160-acre farmstead at Lakin. His cattle and horses have been transferred to his sons.

Koons wanted to return to the Flint Hills after his retirement in 2005. He and his wife, Sharon, purchased the 200-acre former Wm. Atkinson Ranch east of Burdick.

“I didn’t want a big place, but this was large enough for us to keep our cow herd,” Koons said.

Former Senator Nancy Kassebaum’s ranch borders his on the north.

He said his work with the hedge fund keeps his mind stimulated.

“Mentally, it’s been good for me,” he said.

He lost his first wife to cancer in 1983. They had two sons. He later married Sharon of Garden City and had three more children.

The ranch he and his wife live on now has many interesting historic features. The house was built in 1896 and still has original walnut woodwork. Pat and Sharon refinished it, replaced plaster walls and ceilings, and took out some walls. New wood floors were made with wood sawed by former owner Leon Nelson.

A barn on the place was built in 1894, and an old rock corral probably was built at the same time. A stone building next to the house was used to store food and had a water tank for keeping perishable items cold. A cast iron tank in the attic was pumped full of water to provide gravity-flow running water.

Koons has been named “2022 Stockman of the Year.” He will receive the award March 3 at the Stanley Stout Center in Manhattan.

The Livestock and Meat Industry Council and Kansas State University’s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry bestow the honor annually.

Last modified Feb. 16, 2022

 

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