Texas Farm Bureau
Kenneth Dierschke’s love of agriculture boils down to the “smell” thing. The strong, musky odor of sandy clay loam soil and its promise to grow food and fiber has kept this San Angelo producer motivated through the unpredictable ups and downs of full-time farming since 1974.
Yes, the freedom and independence farming offers are important to Dierschke. But it’s the aroma of agriculture that draws him back to the tractor seat at spring planting time year after year.
"The biggest reward is just the smell of freshly turned soil, and knowing there’s going to be a new day," this cotton and grain farmer from Wall, east of San Angelo, says of the profession he loves.
The importance of Farm Bureau to agriculture dawned on Dierschke when he was
just 18. Fresh out of high school, young Dierschke attended a Farm Bureau
membership meeting in Waco with his dad, Norman, who had been on the Tom Green
County Farm Bureau Board for several years.
“I went to Waco and I think some of the things I heard then were very
instrumental in my feelings about Farm Bureau,” Dierschke says.
That was in the late spring of 1960. Decades later, Dierschke recalls his
father’s influence in shaping his participation in the state’s largest farm
organization: "When I came back into farming, he said, 'You need to be involved
in Farm Bureau. They’re a very good tool. If you want somebody else to make your
decisions for you, go farm and don’t get involved. But if you want to influence
anything that happens as far as your occupation, you better get involved with
Farm Bureau, because they’re the voice of agriculture.'"
It was this advice that has been central to Dierschke’s philosophy throughout his
many years of Farm Bureau involvement. He first served on the Tom Green County
Farm Bureau board in 1975 and was immediately elected president.
Dierschke participated in the first TFB National Affairs trip to Washington,
D.C. in the 1970s where he found the importance of becoming politically active.
He was later called by former TFB President S.M. True to serve on the Blue
Ribbon Goals Committee, where the organization was studied and a number of
“I was on the Blue Ribbon Goals Committee when AGFUND was established,”
Dierschke says of Farm Bureau’s political action arm, noting the involvement of
other Farm Bureau leaders including former TFB president and present American
Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman and former State Directors Don
Smith, Bob Turner, Jimmie Ray Adams and Dan Pustejovsky. “We thought it was very
important to become involved in the legislative process. We were getting an
audience with legislators but we weren’t being heard. Now I think we have a much
better rapport with all the legislature.”
Dierschke became state director for District 6 in 1996, when former state
director Bill Tullos retired. He became vice president of Texas Farm Bureau in