Editor’s Note: The Michigan Farm News will publish subsequent articles on the five farming families who will be honored Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Michigan Farmers’ Hall of Fame ceremony.
Inductees of the 2019 Michigan Farmers’ Hall of Fame will be honored at Marshall’s Calhoun County Fairgrounds 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.
This year, five families will receive this high honor among their peers: Elgin and Joanne Darling of Willis in Monroe County; Dale and Sara Stuby of Centreville in St. Joseph County; Jan and Nellie Vosburg of Climax in Kalamazoo County; Norman "Norm" Veliquette of Elk Rapids in Antrim County; and Wayne H. Wood of Marlette in Sanilac County.
To be considered as an inductee, the individual must farm for at least 20 years, be at least 60 years old, be actively involved in his or her respective community and be someone who has contributed to the advancement of agriculture.
The general public is invited to attend the special ceremony to celebrate the vital importance of agriculture. It’s also an opportunity for the public to acknowledge and honor these five outstanding and hard-working farmers and their families.
Dale Stuby lives with his wife, Sara, in Centreville. The couple’s been farming for more than 50 years. They own 845 acres and rent 300.
Stuby graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in agriculture before serving in the United States Army. When he returned to St. Joseph County, he began farming in partnership with Harry Oxender. They managed a farrow-to-finish hog operation, finished cattle for market and cropped 385 acres of corn, other grains, alfalfa and soybeans.
By 1975, Oxender retired, and Stuby began to expand both the swine operation and the cropping system. His farm grew to 800 acres. When his parents died in 1975, Stuby took over the ownership of a commercial flock of Shropshire sheep, acquiring a flock of Suffolk sheep in partnership with his two daughters.
In 1976, he began to irrigate crops with both soft hose and center pivot. Today, almost all 800-plus acres are irrigated with the center pivot systems. Early in this endeavor, he contracted with the St. Joseph County District to implement irrigation water scheduling — which he continued for nearly 40 years — and for system evaluations.
Stuby’s completed many on-farm research demonstrations in cooperation with Michigan State Extension. He also began growing seed corn for Cargill and received Pioneer's Best Management Practices Award and the "Top Dog" grower award in 2010.
Throughout his farming life, Stuby provided internships and mentorship to both local FFA/4-H youth and MSU Ag Tech students. He was an organizing and charter member of the Centreville FFA Alumni and served as its secretary for several years. In addition, he received the FFA Outstanding Service Award in 1987.
In 1989, Stuby received the Farm Manager of the Year Award for his participation in the MSU TelFarm accounting system. Later, he received the St. Joseph County Conservation District Farm of the Year Award. For more than 30 years, Stuby served as a member of the Michigan Irrigation Association.
In 2013, Stuby and his son-in-law, Walter Hekter, formed Legacy Land Inc. as a farming operation. Today, they farm slightly more than 1,000 acres primarily of seed corn, commercial corn, soybeans, wheat/rye and rent land for potato production. Although Stuby’s interest in animal husbandry remains, he is no longer actively involved in animal production.
Some of the organizations, recognitions and community service for Stuby include being a member of the Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Irrigation Association, FarmHouse Fraternity at Michigan State University, Michigan FFA Alumni, Michigan Pork Producers Association, Michigan Sheep Breeders Association, Constantine Co-op Board of Directors, Messiah Lutheran Church member, Centreville Public Schools Alumni Association, Centreville Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame, St. Joseph County 4-H Livestock Auction Support, MSU Cornerstone Society, Michigan 4-H Citation Award 2018, and Michigan 4-H Foundation Leader.
The Stubys hosted numerous 4-H members from Japan, Norway, Jamaica, Argentina, and Australia, and even sponsored a family of six from Laos through Lutheran World Relief.