ST. CROIX COUNTY -- For 36 years, New Richmond farmer Dave Kruschke has served as the president of the St. Croix County Farm Bureau.
“It has been very enjoyable to be president and on the board in general. Once in a while, you ask yourself why you got involved in this, but for the most part it has been enjoyable and you hope you’ve made things better for all farmers,” Kruschke said.
Earlier this year, Kruschke decided that it was time for him to allow younger members a chance to lead the organization. Kruschke officially retired at the organization’s Oct. 1 meeting, with Leslie Svacina, owner of Cylong Rolling Acres in Deer Park, taking over as president.
“I will be 70 years old soon and I just figured it was time to get other people involved before something happened so I couldn’t do it anymore,” Kruschke said. “I’ll still be on the board, so I can still contribute, but I won’t be president.
“No matter what you volunteer for, it takes the support of your family and the employees and fellow volunteers to do well. I couldn’t have done it without someone else there to cover the bases to make sure we did the best we could do."
Kruschek thinks his biggest accomplishments as SCC Farm Bureau president have been helping implement statewide use-value assessment and guiding the SCC Farm Bureau toward working more closely with other organizations.
“Dave is always looking out for our Farm Bureau members, which represent farmers and others who work in agriculture in our county. He’s done this through his service with Farm City Day, helping share agriculture with our greater community. His family’s farm hosted the agricultural education event several times since it originally started,” said Svacina. “Dave also works with leadership from the St. Croix County Farmers Union, another general farm organization, and recognizing other community leaders who are contributing to agriculture in our county.”
Kruschke grew his dairy farm, Crisdhome Farm, just south and east of Star Prairie, which has been in the family since 1904. After graduating from high school in 1968, Kruschke took a short farm course before starting to help out on the farm.
“Not a lot of things have changed in the board's philosophies. But technology in farming has changed a lot since I started as board president,” Kruschke said. “GPS and autosteer have been big deals, as well as email. When I got on the board, there was no email. But now communication is so much faster with email over regular mail, which has made things easier.”
In recognition of his efforts, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau awarded Kruschke with the Distinguished Service Award in 2016.
“Dave has been one of the solid leaders in our counties. During his time as county board president, Dave has effectively led his organization through a number of issues. There were difficult farming issues in the '80s when it was a difficult financial time and we are also seeing a relatively difficult time now in agriculture in general,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte, who has known Kruschke since the mid-1970s. “Throughout that time, Dave has helped manage the SCC Farm Bureau board and kept them moving forward as they evolved over time.
According to Svacina, Kruschek also served on the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Policy Development Committee, Dairy Committee and Bylaws Review Committee and served as a St. Croix County Farm Bureau delegate to the WFBF annual meeting for more than 30 years. He also participated in district policy development meetings, the Council of Presidents , Ag Day at the Capitol and testified on behalf of numerous pro-agriculture efforts, including helping establish the Ag Center in Baldwin and later saving it when the St. Croix County Board proposed selling the building.
“Dave not only has a lot of connections within the farming and agriculture community in St. Croix County, but also with other Farm Bureau leaders throughout the state of Wisconsin. He has a strong passion for Farm Bureau and supporting agriculture in our community,” Svacina said. “I know I have big shoes to fill. Dave is continuing to serve on our board of directors and we have a great group of volunteer board members. I know have a good support system to continue the work, which Dave has led. I know Dave is sticking around on the board, so he’ll be a great mentor to help me in the transition.”
The St. Croix County Farm Bureau is a general farm organization, with a voting membership of more than 280 members who are farmers and individuals who work in agricultural-related careers.