Not only are Darcy Lipskey and Jeff Schluckbier both new atop the leadership structures of their respective organizations, both are also first-generation Farm Bureau members, eagerly kicking the tires and testing the capabilities of the organization their farming forebears forsook.
We won’t hold that against their predecessors, of course — newcomers and walk-ins are always welcome additions to the Farm Bureau family, inevitably bringing fresh perspectives and a curious enthusiasm not always seen in legacy members.
Lipskey hails from northern Sanilac County near Minden City, where she works a centennial farm alongside her brother, dad and grandfather. They feed 300 head of beef cattle and raise that same number of acres of corn and alfalfa, incorporating wheat and black beans into the rotation as necessary.
She also keeps a 50-head flock of boer goats toward various ends. Some become fair animals and there’s an increasing demand, she says, for teams of goats deployed on landscape cleanup jobs, chewing their way through underbrush and invasive vegetation.
The boer breed is also a common meat variety, to which Lipskey reports that American tastes are gradually opening to the flavors that for generations found a market only in African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern populations.
She was a state-level FFA officer and enjoyed Collegiate Farm Bureau at Michigan State University, but as is so often the case it took some encouragement from a convincing peer to get her involved in the organization after returning home to the farm.
“Blake Gordon forced me,” she said with a chuckle, namedropping the local peer who persuaded her to stay involved with the organization as she settled into her early farming career back home.
Not surprisingly her to-do list as Sanilac’s new president starts with making sure local farm youth programs clearly bridge to the county Farm Bureau.
“4-H and FFA were so crucial and such a big part of growing up here,” she said. “We’ve only got one FFA chapter in Sanilac County but one thing I’m working on is trying to guide those youth programs and integrate them into the county Farm Bureau.”
Next door to the west Jeff Schluckbier last fall took the helm of the Tuscola County Farm Bureau.
With his uncles, sons and other family members he helps work more than 7,000 acres of cropland, raising sugar beets, wheat, corn, and dry beans — black and small red. There’s also a trucking company with links to ADM and Star of the West in Frankenmuth, where his family roots are deepest.
“I’ve been on the board for four years,” Schluckbier said, describing it as a “fairly young group” he works well with and which he’s keenly concerned with maintaining.
At MFB’s midwinter Council of Presidents’ Conference, one workshop in particular resonated with Schluckbier as his priorities and vision for Tuscola took shape.
“The session about developing your county’s depth chart really struck a chord with me,” he said. “I’d love to increase our Young Farmer numbers.
“I want to turn that age group over and get our Young Farmers and their families more involved in the organization” on the way to a more secure line of organizational succession for when it’s time to pass his gavel to a successor.