Farm Family of Year —Jim Trukas honored by Kiwanis

Lori and Jim Truka

Lori and Jim Truka

By Marcie Klomp

Howard County has about 303,000 acres, with about 83 percent of that (251,202) in farm land. According to FSA, that translates into 1,533 farms.

Those are all pretty big numbers. That also makes it a pretty big job year after year for Kiwanis of Cresco to choose just one Farm Family of the Year. Many of our local farm families work hard for themselves and their community. Because of their commitment to church, family and land, Jim and Lori Truka of Lime Springs were chosen as Kiwanis Farm Family of the Year for 2013. They were given their award at the FFA Banquet held April 4.

The couple has been on their farm, two miles north of Lidtke Mill, since they were married 31 years ago. It is where they raised their children, crops and animals. Trukas have two children, Michelle and Scott. Michelle is married to Levi Franzen, and the couple has a newborn son, Kael. All live in the Des Moines area.

Jim said, “We lived here and rented it We bought it in 1988.” Three years later they built a new home on the farm.

The young couple was not afraid of work when they started their lives together. Jim was raised on a farm, just west of Lime Springs, and Lori was raised on a dairy farm by Kendallville. Her folks raised exotic birds including ducks, geese and guineas.

Jim compares how things have changed since helping his dad on the family farm. “With Dad, most of the weed control was done by machinery—cultivation. Now it is done by spraying. That has really reduced erosion.”

[Growing up] everybody had beef and dairy cows, a few pigs, chickens, ducks. It was more diversified. We even had hogs until 2008. Now we only have beef.”

The couple raises 50-60 stock cows and usually that many calves. He said raising animals is another way of helping the land. “By maintaining a beef cow herd, we can utilize alfalfa and hay on some of the marginal (thinner soiled) ground.”

Truka also runs a reduced tillage farming operation. “We take care not to farm it so much that it erodes away.” Conservation of the land has become more and more the norm. So has the advancement of technology and machinery, which Jim has seen a lot of in the last 30-40 years.

He explained, “When I was in FFA, those going into farming were the majority, with a few advancing on to the ag sciences and ag technology. Now it’s the exact opposite with a few going into farming and most going into ag science and ag technology.”

He sees the trend to continue of fewer and larger farms, which, he says, “Is hard on small-town communities.”

Jim appreciates his time in FFA. “It stressed record-keeping, and the advisors were ag oriented.”

FFA, along with the couple’s upbringing, helped shape them into good stewards of the land and givers rather than takers.

Lori has worked at Cresco Bank & Trust for 14 years. The couple has volunteered at many community activities—in Lime Springs as well as Cresco. They have helped at Sweet Corn Days and at the flight breakfast in Cresco. Both attend Notre Dame Parish, where they are Eucharistic ministers. Jim is also chairman of the church council and lector. He is chairman of the board of Howard County Mutual Insurance.

As for the couple’s success in their business and personal lives, Jim says, “It was trial and error—and still is.” He added it was a lot more error. That may be, but many times error or mistakes build character, and Jim and Lori Truka have proven they have lots of that.

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