All-in on Agriculture
August 5, 2019
Written By Adam Buckallew
Whether it’s running his 500-acre farm outside Alma, Mo., conducting business as a seedsman or volunteering his time in the service of various farmer-led organizations, agriculture is an ever-present aspect of David Lueck’s life.
In late June, the Lafayette County farmer and MFA Oil delegate was busy cutting hay for his herd of cows and calves. Haymaking had been delayed by the frequent rains that have slowed farming progress across the Midwest, but David says he was fortunate to get all of his corn and soybeans planted.
When David is not busy tending to his row crops or cattle herd, he stays involved with a variety of agricultural pursuits. He has sold seed for the past 27 years, worked as a certified crop adviser for 20 years, and devoted a dozen years of service to the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC).
“Everything I do is focused on agriculture, and really that’s true for my entire family,” David says. “Agriculture is what we do.”
An Ag Family
The Lueck Family has been farming in the Alma area for 80 years. The tradition began with David’s grandfather, Norbert, and was carried on by his uncle, Vernon. David’s father, Harold, has also been actively involved in the Lueck’s farming operation since his retirement. David, who has been married for 40 years to his wife, Debbie, took up farming after attending the University of Missouri for two years. He got his start working land that, at the time, belonged to Debbie’s parents.
“I was lucky to have a family connection to get into farming,” David says. “Many young people who want to farm today are not given that kind of opportunity.”
The Luecks have two grown sons. Brendon, a regional manager in the seed industry, lives with his family in Basehor, Kan. Justin, a grain broker with an international company in Kansas City, resides in Olathe, Kan., with his family. Debbie works for Mid-Missouri MFA Agri Services in Alma. David and Debbie enjoy spending time with their four grandchildren as much as possible.
David was elected to the MSMC Board of Directors in 2005 and led the state’s soybean checkoff as chairman from 2014 to 2016. He is proud of the research developments MSMC has funded.
“Missouri has invested a lot of checkoff money into growing opportunities and demand for our state’s top cash crop,” he says.
Breeding and seed development efforts are crucial to the soybean board’s goal of “giving farmers new options to improve their profitability,” David says.
Shortly after he reached his term limit on the MSMC board in 2017, David began serving on the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health board (WISHH), a market development program aimed at increasing the use of U.S. soy in worldwide diets to improve global health. David continues to serve on the WISHH board and has traveled to Cambodia, Ghana, Myanmar and Vietnam with various soybean delegations.
David’s all-in approach to agriculture extends to his finances. He is an investor in a local ethanol plant and two biodiesel facilities. He says biofuels may be more important to farmers now than when the state first ramped up alternative fuel production in the 2000s.
“The trade side of things doesn’t look too promising at the moment, so we need all the domestic demand we can generate for our crops,” David says.
He’s encouraged by efforts like the Biodiesel Coalition of Missouri, which is working to build demand for biodiesel purchases in the state, and he appreciates MFA Oil’s involvement in the group. The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow sales of E15 year-round is another positive sign in David’s mind, and he hopes it will result in more demand for his corn.
While it’s clear he could share more of how his life and vocation are so closely intertwined, David has more pressing matters to attend. There’s chopped hay waiting for him in his fields, and it won’t be baling itself.