WEST DES MOINES —
Two Iowans who have dedicated their lives to improving the endeavors of farmers were honored by the Iowa Farm Bureau this week during its 94th annual meeting held in Des Moines.
Lisle Cook spent his life farming the land around his Hardin County farm and served the industry as a state Farm Bureau leader and state legislator. Eugene Sukup invented a grain-stirring device that led to the development of a successful business in rural Franklin County. The contributions of these men have helped shape Iowa’s farming industry and have earned them the 2012 Iowa Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award.
They were recognized during the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) annual meeting in Des Moines on Dec. 4.
The award honors individuals who have played a significant role in the agricultural industry at the local, state and/or national level. This is the 35th year for the award. The winners received plaques and their names will be added to a permanent display at the IFBF headquarters in West Des Moines.
Cook’s life has revolved around agriculture, as a farmer and a leader. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in animal science from Iowa State University. He farmed in Hardin County and still works with his sons.
He and his wife, Margaret, raised four sons Jeff, Scott, Dan and Paul.
Cook joined the Hardin County Farm Bureau in 1960 and has been an active member ever since, even serving on the state board of directors.
“Farm Bureau has always been a part of my life. My father was also a Hardin County Farm Bureau president and voting delegate. My mother was very involved with the county women’s programs,” said Cook. “I believe that Farm Bureau does an excellent job of speaking out for and representing agriculture.”
He was also involved in several commodity groups including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Pork Producers Association. He was named a master pork producer and pork all-American.
He served as a state representative and was a member of the ag committee.
“Lisle has given life-long service to agriculture. His passion for Iowa and agricultural innovation, in addition to his leadership skills, have fueled his service to his fellow producers and our state,” wrote Trent Stalzer, Hardin County Farm Bureau president in his county’s nomination of Cook. “Lisle has dedicated himself to helping Iowa’s farm families.”
While farming is his passion, his heart belongs to his family. His sons are involved in agriculture in a variety of ways. Scott works as an engineer for John Deere, Jeff is a 4-H leader and has been a leader on the Hardin County Farm Bureau board of directors, Paul is president of the local co-op board and Dan is chairman of the Iowa Beef Industry Council.
Eugene Sukup started out as a farmer in Franklin County and invented a grain stirring machine in 1963 that revolutionized the grain drying and storage process for farmers. Today, Sukup Manufacturing Co. remains based in Franklin County and is a family-owned manufacturer of grain bins, grain dryers, material handling equipment and pre-engineered metal buildings.
The Sukup Grain Handling and Storage Solutions line includes grain bins for both on-farm and commercial storage, grain dryers for on-farm and commercial operations, bucket elevators, conveyors, double-run systems, chain loop systems, pneumatic systems, axial and centrifugal fans and heaters, stirring machines, unloading equipment, bin floors and supports, drive-over hoppers, grain spreaders and Airway Tubes. The newest addition to the Sukup product line is pre-engineered metal buildings.
Sukup is a service-oriented individual and has been recognized for his support of the local community and providing relief around the world. Sukup has contributed to the Sheffield Care Center and the recently-constructed Deer Field Place Assisted Living facility. He also supports the Hampton community Christian day care, Sheffield City Park, Franklin County Fairground’s historic village and the Relay for Life.
Sukup and his wife, Mary, are enthusiastic supporters of Iowa State University and their first gift to the university supported the music department’s organ fund. (That has grown to a 24-year commitment sponsoring the ISU Organists of Iowa series.) They have also supported the Biorenewables and Engineering Laboratory Complex, ISU Cyclone Basketball practice facility and the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center.
The Sukups have also taken their grain bins across the globe to Haiti, designing buildings to serve as transitional housing for families displaced by the 2010 earthquake that nearly leveled the country. The program, called Home. Help. Hope For Haiti, is creating a 5-acre village to accommodate 50 of the steel Safe T Homes made by Sukup Manufacturing.
Throughout his life, farming and a love for community have motivated Sukup. From being named the Franklin County Outstanding Young Farmer in 1962 to focusing on growing his business by hiring local and supporting charitable causes, Sukup has made a difference in Iowa.