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Wheat industry mourns the passing of Mark Fowler

Fowler joined U.S. Wheat Associates in 2017 and was vice president of Global Technical Services.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW)
Photo courtesy of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW)

Mark Fowler, vice president of Global Technical Services with U.S. Wheat Associates, passed away at his home in Manhattan, Kansas, on February 20, 2023.

Fowler, 52, is survived by his wife Courtney, their daughters Piper and Paige, his mother Ruth Fowler, and his sisters Rhonda (Scott) Gordon and Amy Fowler.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 25. Obituary and memorial information will be posted at Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home. Condolences can be sent to or emailed to [email protected] to be shared with the family.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mark in various capacities in the wheat industry over the past 20 years,” said Justin Gilpin, Kansas Wheat CEO. “His impact and network of friends reached around the globe. He was a strong asset to the U.S. wheat industry and farmers, and a friend who will be dearly missed.”

Fowler grew up on his family’s farm near Emporia, Kansas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in milling science and management from Kansas State University (K-State), and later returned to complete a master’s degree in agricultural economics.

His career began as a flour miller, first for Cargill Inc., and then Seaboard Corp. In those roles, Fowler ran flour mills, worked on projects in several developing countries, including Ecuador, Guyana and Haiti, and worked as a technical director of the Africa Division within Seaboard’s Overseas Group in Durban, South Africa.

Later, Fowler spent 12 years back at K-State as a milling specialist and associate director at the IGP Institute, in the university’s Department of Grain Science and Industry.

As a highly respected flour milling expert, Mark also served as a technical milling consultant for USW, as well as the Northern Crops Institute (NCI), allowing him to become well acquainted with many USW staff and overseas customers.

Before joining USW originally as vice president of Overseas Operations, Fowler was the president and CEO of Farmer Direct Foods, Inc. a farmer-owned, flour milling company in New Cambria, Kansas.

“Throughout my career, I have experienced the global impact of the milling industry from several perspectives,” Fowler said when he joined USW. “I am excited to engage with friends and colleagues in the industry to advance the U.S. wheat export market development mission.”

His passing is a great personal and professional loss for USW and the wheat farmers it serves, said USW President Vince Peterson.

“Mark embraced his work and our mission with enthusiasm," said Peterson. "As a result, our technical experts are better equipped and motivated partners for our many customers across the world. Our most sincere sympathy goes out to Mark’s family and to the wheat community he loved.”

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