Kruse, Brincks honored with Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture awards

DES MOINES — Loren Kruse, long-time editor of Successful Farming magazine, and Wayne Brincks, who served as agricultural representative and district director for U.S. Rep. Steve King, were honored with Iowa Farm Bureau's Distinguished Service to...

Wayne Brincks, who served as agricultural representative and district director for U.S. Rep. Steve King, received an Iowa Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture award at the annual convention in Des Moines.

DES MOINES — Loren Kruse, long-time editor of Successful Farming magazine, and Wayne Brincks, who was agricultural representative and district director for U.S. Rep. Steve King, received Iowa Farm Bureau's Distinguished Service to Agriculture award at the organization's annual meeting.

"Iowans involved in agriculture know Kruse from his work with Successful Farming telling agriculture's story, sharing cutting-edge agricultural facts and marketing tools with farmers throughout his career," said IFBF president Craig Hill. "His efforts helped increase Successful Farming's relevance through the roaring agricultural economy of the 1970s, the farm crisis of the 1970s and the most recent agricultural boom economy."

Hill said Kruse also led through example by starting a Christmas tree enterprise on his family's farm northeast of Grundy Center.

Kruse was integral in creating the beginning farmer program, Farmers for the Future Initiative by Successful Farming.

He grew up on his family's farm six miles northeast of Grundy Center. His parents lived on the farm from 1940 to 1980.


"That's when the farm came under my care," Kruse said. "I wanted to participate, but didn't believe I had the time nor the inclination to do traditional corn and soybeans. I chose to start a Christmas tree enterprise."

Kruse's wife, Liz, "took a loving to this place as much as I did."

Liz crafts wreaths, swags and other decorations from the greenery at Kruse Christmas Farm.

"She's a much better business person," he said. "I love satisfaction income, the thrill of families coming to our farm to choose a tree. Liz keeps it running as a business."

Their children, Kate and John, both college seniors, not only provide the workforce during the Christmas tree season, they also bring their friends.

One of the things that served Kruse well in his career was advice from a farm manager.

"I asked him how he chose new operators for the farms he managed," Kruse said. "He said he always had a good pool of farmers who were available in any area, those known as good stewards, high performance, for integrity and all the things you want. From that list, he chose people he'd just really like to work with. I thought I would like to be somebody that others want to work with, that they perceive as someone to be chosen. It's always a special privilege and honor when I'm chosen for an opportunity because others have made that choice."

Kruse said Farm Bureau members are good examples of people "sharing the goose money, doing something for somebody you don't have to do."


He said he learned that lesson as a child when his older sisters deposited "an equal portion of the money they earned from raising ducks and geese into his savings account at the Grundy National Bank even though I probably disrupted things more than I contributed."

Kruse retired as editor-in-chief for Successful Farming in 2012.

Brincks, of Lake View, was nominated by 11 county Farm Bureaus.

"For those who know him, it's not surprising," Hill said.

For 12 years before retiring in 2013, Brincks was agricultural representative for U.S. Rep. Steve King and then as his district director.

"No one traveled western Iowa more than Wayne Brincks," Hill said. "In his role as a congressional representative, he put more than 50,000 miles per year on his pickup."

In a video shown during the awards presentation, King said everyone knows Brincks.

"Not only does Wayne remember almost everyone he's been introduced to, he cares about you all," King said. "He's constantly on the phone connecting and reconnecting with people. He has his finger on the pulse of agriculture."


King credited Brincks with a vision for a renewable fuels industry.

"He saw that we needed to have producer investors who would be bringing their grain into the ethanol plant," King said. "That would keep the prosperity at home. He never really sat up at the table and gave those recommendations. Instead, he pulled people around and got them talking to each other, and now we're seeing the philanthropy that comes from the vision Wayne Brincks had."

Brincks grew up helping his father raise hogs and later operated his family's feed and farm supply business with his wife, Mary, in Auburn.

"After selling the business he was counted on by King for his wise council and ability to get things done," Hill said. "Trusted and liked by everyone he met, Brincks exemplifies the kind of leader Iowa can be extremely proud of by virtue of his great skill and even greater humanity."

Brincks thanked Farm Bureau members for their friendship.

He and Mary have two grown children, Heather and John.

Loren Kruse grows Christmas trees on his family farm northeast of Grundy Center. Kruse, who retired as editor-in-chief of Successful Farming magazine in 2012, received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award at the Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting.

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