Seward County Farm Bureau member and At-Large Director for Nebraska Farm Bureau Del Ficke says, “For farmers, it isn’t a job, it’s who we are.” And since his family homesteaded near Pleasant Dale in 1869, they’ve been farmers. In 1888, Ficke Cattle Company was formed and for nearly 100 years, the Fickes have raised commercial cattle, primarily Hereford and Red Angus. Del has sold seedstock into 36 States, Canada and Mexico; and sold semen to France.
He now manages what he considers a “multi-breed genetic hybrid cattle company” and one of the ways he is successful with cattle is through conservation efforts — he can raise more cattle on a small amount of land. In the 40s and 50s, his father built terraces, and Del carried on that tradition of environmental stewardship by building grass waterways, adding filter strips along creeks, practicing no-till on farm ground, seeding warm-season grasses for the cattle, and adding lagoons.
“We take a holistic approach to conservation. Not only is it our moral obligation to be caretakers of the land, it’s better for the wildlife, better for the environment and for our cattle.”
Del married his high school sweetheart, Brenda (who currently works for Ficke Cattle Company), in 1987. They have two children, Austin – 20 and Emily – 12. Austin will be the sixth generation on the family farm.
In the past 10 years, Del has suffered serious back problems but says it was the best thing that could’ve happened professionally as it allowed him to be more involved with Farm Bureau.
“Every person matters in Farm Bureau. Every person has a voice. Each voice is heard and their interests move forward and can change a lot of things – they don’t get lost in the system. If Washington had a system like this, we wouldn’t have the problems we have today.”
Del also serves as a Rural Rehabilitation Specialist for AgrAbility, giving back to an organization of which he was a client in 2001; and, his family is very involved in their local Lutheran church.