Once one of America’s leading agricultural reporters, Larry Dreiling now moves on to a new chapter of his life story as a candidate for Kansas Senate.
Dreiling joined High Plains Journal as an associate editor for the Dodge City, KS publication in 1989. He was a senior field editor in Hays from July 2001 until May 2019.
In his years with High Plains Journal, Dreiling traveled an average of 35,000 miles a year visiting farmers and ranchers and sharing the secrets of their success with over 50,000 High Plains Journal subscribers each week.
Dreiling also was the Journal’s principal reporter on issues related to farm policy and rural development. In his years at the Journal, Dreiling has interviewed seven Secretaries of Agriculture, dozens of members of Congress and scores of other government officials from around the world.
Dreiling served as 2000-01 President of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association and as 2005-06 President of the Association of North American Agricultural Journalists (formerly the National Association of Agricultural Journalists). He is the first person to hold the title of president of both of the nation’s major agricultural reporting groups. He was named an AAEA Fellow in 2016.
As a leader of those groups, Dreiling was involved in the development of the Agricultural Media Summit that draws together hundreds of members from three different organizations for professional development. He also planned budgets and served on two executive search committees.
In April 1999, Dreiling received NAAJ’s prestigious J.S. Russell Memorial Award. The award is considered the group’s highest honor. Named in honor of the legendary farm writer of The Des Moines Register, the award cited Dreiling for setting the highest standards for his peers and his life of service to the profession.
In 2016, Dreiling was named one of just 15 of over 500 members in AAEA to be honored as an association Writer of Merit, earned for his depth and breadth of excellence in agricultural reporting. He’s won first place in 2004’s AAEA writing contest for Best Internet Breaking News Reporting. He also won first place in AAEA’s 2012 writing contest for Best Regular Column. In 2002, he won first place in the Livestock Publications Council 2002 Critique Contest for Best Regular Column.
In 2011, Dreiling received the Reuben Brigham Award from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), an association of communicators, educators and information technologists who extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources and life and human sciences. The award cites Dreiling as “a communicator who has made a major contribution in the field of agriculture at the regional, national and international level.”
Dreiling also is an active member of the National Agri-Marketing Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a Rural Fellow of the Association of Health Care Journalists, and a non-resident member of the National Press Club of Washington, DC.
Beyond the High Plains, Dreiling has represented U.S. agricultural reporters as the leader of the U.S. delegation to the 2001 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists to Finland. He also served as a U.S. delegate to other IFAJ Congresses, including Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1995, Germany in 1998, as well as Australia and New Zealand in 2000.
As an alternate for the 1997 IFAJ Congress to England, he won the 1998 IFAJ Star Report Prize for the most outstanding coverage of the English Congress. Dreiling also was an alternate to the 2003 IFAJ Congress to the Netherlands. His contacts at IFAJ congresses have led to Dreiling becoming a frequent contributing analyst to agricultural broadcasts on Radio Tirana (Albania) and Radio New Zealand.
In May 2001, Dreiling served as part of a team of agricultural media specialists on a U.S. Wheat Associates-sponsored tour of Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan. The tour’s intent was to expose the team to USW activities.
A Colorado native, Dreiling has his roots planted firmly in Kansas agriculture. Along with his parents, he left the city to return to his father’s native Ellis County in 1976.
The family took responsibility for a 160-acre cattle and wheat operation in neighboring Trego County once owned by his grandfather. His dad took a position as an agricultural banker in Hays, and Larry became a third-generation attendee of Fort Hays State University.
While at Fort Hays State, Dreiling was a senior staff writer for The University Leader, where his first beat was agriculture. He covered the massive expansion and improvements of the University Farm and treated readers to insights into the farm’s dairy and swine operations. He also had a weekly opinion column.
Never one to sit still, Dreiling took a job as a staff announcer at KAYS Radio and TV midway through his freshman year, which grew into a relationship extending far beyond his graduation in 1980 with dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and communication. Just three months after graduation, Dreiling was named news director of what was then the largest broadcast news operation between the Front Range of the Rockies and Wichita.
While at KAYS News, Dreiling and his staff won numerous awards. In 1983, he was the first reporter in the area to fully uncover the water shortage, which has been threatening Hays ever since. Dreiling returned to Fort Hays State in 1984 to pursue a master’s degree. While there, he became one of the first full-time students to cover the Kansas Legislature. During his days in graduate school, Dreiling’s coverage of the closing of the Hays facility of Travenol Laboratories and its aftermath on the community won the College Media Advisers National Award for Business and Economics Reporting. Dreiling earned his Master of Science in Communication degree in 1985. Following graduate school, Dreiling held stints at The Hutchinson News and The Ellsworth Reporter before joining High Plains Journal.
His biographies are listed in Who’s Who In The Midwest and Outstanding Young Men of America. He formerly served on the national executive committee of the Fort Hays State University Alumni Association and as communications director of its Boot Hill Chapter.
In October 2011, he was presented with FHSU’s Nita Landrum Award, given for service to his profession, community and the university.
In 2013, Dreiling became an adjunct professor of Digital Media Production and Journalism in the FHSU Department of Informatics. He’s since added a stint as an adjunct in FHSU’s Department of Agriculture.
Closer to home in Hays, Dreiling is president of the Hays Sunrise Rotary Club, a past president and a multiple Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club of Hays, a member of the Hays Chamber of Commerce, and a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Parish.
When not on the road, Dreiling can be found in the office at his Hays home while on sports nights you can often find him in the stands cheering on his beloved Fort Hays State Fighting Tigers.
I look forward to a great future for America – a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose. John F. Kennedy