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31.08.2017 15:45    Comments: 0    Categories: Press Releases      Tags: 2017 farm family  

Alan & Delores HueftleThe ability to diversify and adapt have been key to the durability of our 2017 Farm Family of the Year’s operation. From dairy cows to hogs to a feedlot, cowherd, and now backgrounding mixed with row crops; our honorees have maintained a thriving operation for nearly 60 years just across the Tri-County Canal.


Alan Arthur Hueftle was born in Holdrege to Art and Helen Hueftle on Feb. 1, 1940. He was the youngest of four children and attended country school at the Holmes School – District 70 - about one and one-half miles south of the family farm.


He attended Cozad High School and graduated with the Class of 1957. After graduation he served six months in the Army and then joined the Army Reserves where he would serve for eight more years.After returning home from the service he began helping his father on the farm.

 

“Dad gave me grain to feed out a few things and I took no wage at the time,” recalls Alan.


In 1958 West Virginia native Delores Buck moved to Cozad to work. It didn’t take long for her to catch Alan’s eye and by the time her parents moved to Cozad in 1959, she and Alan were already an item. The couple was married on Feb. 14, 1960, at the Methodist Church in Cozad and they began farming that spring, living in the valley. Alan continued to work with his Dad and Delores worked in the office of Allied Mills.


Alan started buying milk cows and cream from the dairy was shipped from the depot in Cozad by train to Holdrege. His next venture was buying feeder pigs and putting them out on the cornstalks after harvest to glean until they were ready to sell. Eventually the family had a farrow-to-finish hog operation. In addition, Alan had corn, milo and wheat on the crop side.


In 1962 their first child, Greg, was born. They moved onto their current farm in 1963 when Alan’s parents moved to Eustis, and in 1964, Alan and Delores welcomed daughter, Kim, to the family.


As the family grew, so did Alan’s interest in taking over more responsibility and diversifying enterprises on the farm. In 1967 Alan and his Dad bought 19 bred heifers and that was the start of the family’s cowherd.


In 1968 Alan’s father died and he applied for a FHA loan, which he used to buy his Dad’s equipment for $12,000. In 1969 he bought the home place from his mother and continued to increase his farmground and pasture by renting a quarter section of irrigated ground and a section of dryland with pasture.


In addition, Alan worked with neighbor Paul Yeutter to rent farmground and pasture and they bought cows and equipment together. There was always a feedlot at the Hueftle’s and in the early years it was used to finish all their cattle, but in the early 1980s Alan changed the enterprise and started to just background calves.


Alan has always been a big supporter of the 4-H program. Alan and Paul Yeutter were leaders of the 100th Meridian 4-H Club while their children were in 4-H.


According to Greg, when he and his sister, Kim, started in 4-H the family raised Angus cattle. Over the years of showing, their Dad didn’t feel the Angus calves were doing as well, so he bought a Charolais bull. The Hueftle children were quite involved in showing cattle during their 4-H years. Despite all the ups and downs – and pulls and tugs that occur with showing livestock they persevered and each were 10-year 4-H members.
For the Hueftle family farming is truly the “Good Life.”


After raising Charolais for a number of years, Hueftle decided to try Simmentals. Because of the Simmental influence many of the Hueftle’s cattle were red and after going to an Angus bull sale, Alan decided the Angus bulls were too expensive, so he just started buying red Angus and some Simmental bulls to put on the red cows and they still run red cattle today.


Alan has maintained an active role in many of the county’s agriculture commodity groups and ag-related organizations. In the 1970s he was one of the first members of the Dawson County Corn Growers. He also helped the Extension office run different trials on starter fertilizer using UNL guidelines.


In early 1977, he and eight other farmers from across the United States went to Chicago to participate in panel discussions for an IH Farm Forum. The subject was “Is farming really the good life?” On that same trip he was interviewed by farm broadcaster Dick Helton for a television news program.


In the meantime, Greg and Kim were attending Cozad High School, where Greg graduated in 1980 and Kim in 1982. Greg went on to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) where he graduated in 1984 with a degree in agricultural economics. On Aug. 13, 1983, he was married to Renee Wetovick, also a 1980 graduate of Cozad High School. She obtained an associate degree in nursing from UNL and then worked at Lincoln General in the oncology unit.


The couple moved home in May of 1984 and Greg worked with his father for one year and then began renting his own ground as another generation settled close to the Hueftle home place. Greg and his Dad share some farm equipment and background some calves together.


“It’s nice to have Greg involved and close,” noted his Mom.


Alan and Delores currently own 450 acres of irrigated land with 320 planted to corn and the balance in soybeans. In addition they own 500 acres of grass and rent an additional 320 acres.


Greg and Renee own 600 acres of farm ground today, starting with 380 acres of rented ground in 1985. They purchased their first ground in 1990 from Harold Schmeeckle.


Alan and Greg each have one full-time employee to help with the workload. Billy Olivia has been working for Alan for about five years and Wiley Farr has been with Greg for almost seven years.


Greg and Renee soon added another crop to the Hueftle farm presenting Delores and Alan with three granddaughters, Jessica, Whitney and Madison. Jessica and Whitney were also in 4-H and took their turn in the livestock show ring.
Renee worked first at Cozad Community Hospital and now works at the Cozad Medical Clinic. Her livelihood in the medical profession must have rubbed off as all three daughters are now graduates of Nebraska Wesleyan and all have gone on to study physical therapy. Jessica and Whitney have both earned their doctor of physical therapy degrees and Madison will earn hers next spring.


On the other branch of the family Kim graduated from Kearney State in 1986 and in 1987 married Les Roberts, a graduate of Minden High School. Kim currently teaches in Prescott Valley, Ariz., and Les is a paramedic and captain for the Prescott Fire Department. They are the parents of two sons, Cole and Luke. Both have spent time on their grandparent’s Nebraska farm and Grandpa Alan can always find some work to keep them out of trouble when they arrive.


Cole and Luke are graduates of Prescott High School and are currently in college in Arizona. Cole attends Coconino Community College in Flagstaff and Luke attends the University of Arizona at Tucson.


The grandkids have kept their grandparents busy attending various school activities and ceremonies and they are now adding to the Hueftle fold.


Jessica was married to Chris Woodward in 2014 and they live in Lincoln. Whitney will marry Jordan Rathke in November this year and they will live in York.


Over the years the Hueftles have been very involved in their Cozad and Eustis communities. They belong to the American Lutheran Church in Cozad where Alan has served on the church board.


He was on the District 70 school board, as well as served as a leader for the 100th Meridian 4-H Club. Other organizations included the Farmers Home Administration, the Dawson County 4-H Council and 19 years as a board member for the Dawson County Agricultural Society.


In addition, Alan served on the county ASC Committee for 29 years. Other honors have included being named the Cozad Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer in 1968 and most recently being inducted into the Dawson County Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame in 2015.


Both Alan and Greg note there have been some real ups and downs in agriculture, the beef business in particular. “In the 70s you couldn’t do anything wrong and in the 80s you couldn’t do anything right,” noted Alan.


But despite the roller coaster ride that farming can sometimes be, Alan said growing up on a farm and getting to work with his son have been the highlights of his agriculture career.


Delores, who was raised in an urban environment, is also thankful for her years on the farm. “I grew up in the city and would never move back,” she said.

 

Greg is likewise grateful. “I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to have something to farm.”


Agriculture goes in cycles and Greg notes, “Coming back now I think would be harder than in the 80s.” Commenting on their willingness to adapt, he said, “When I came back to the farm Dad and I didn’t have any extra help. But you come to a point in when you have to accept that you can’t do it all yourself,” and he gives credit to their full-time employees Billy and Wiley for helping keep the operations going.


For Renee, life on the farm means a stronger connection to family. “My favorite thing is celebrating the holidays.” While she has had her share of being a go-pher and for a number of years helped move cattle by riding a horse, she appreciates one piece of advice given to her by Delores early in her marriage. “Never learn to drive a tractor, and I didn’t.”


For the Hueftle family farming is truly the “Good Life.”


Congratulations to the Alan and Delores Hueftle Family, our Cozad Chamber Farm Family of the Year for 2017!

~Written by Barn Batie




 


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