HALLSVILLE, Mo. – Life lessons learned in 4-H continue to help the president-elect of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Greg Buckman.
Buckman credits mentors such as 4-H agents Herb Roth, Phil Weeden and Frank Graham for giving him skills he uses every day. Through their example, Buckman learned the importance of leadership, public speaking and giving back to your community.
“Because of the guidance of great leaders such as ‘Mr. 4-H’ and 4-H Hall of Fame member Frank Graham and Phil Weeden and support from University of Missouri Extension youth specialists, I am able to continually draw from some of the most basic skills I developed in these youth programs,” says Buckman, a 1976 MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources graduate.
Buckman belonged to 4-H for 10 years in Shelby County. In high school, he was elected a state FFA officer. FFA enhanced his skills and gave him practical knowledge he uses in his successful agribusiness operations today.
“All I ever wanted to be was a farmer,” Buckman says. His love of John Deere equipment led him to apply for a position with the company that required a college degree. Buckman enrolled at the University of Missouri, majored in agricultural education and joined the Ag Rho fraternity. He worked two jobs and graduated in three years.
Two of his three sons also graduated from MU. The third farms 4,000 acres in central and northeastern Missouri and owns an aerial spray company.
“MU was the natural choice for someone interested in agriculture,” he says. “It is a great land-grant university. I had access to the best education and teachers in the area of agriculture.”
He worked for John Deere Co. and MFA as a district sales manager for several years after college, but he yearned to return to the farm. He bought a small farm and then another while selling health and life insurance and raising three sons. He is part owner of Apex Financial in Columbia.
Buckman found that insurance sales worked well for him and his family. He could work his appointments around farm chores and his sons’ 4-H and FFA activities. Buckman was a 4-H leader for 15 years while his children participated.
Buckman continues to share his love of agriculture with youth in the state. His Red Top Ranch serves as a hub for agricultural education during Beef Month. Each May, more than 250 third- and fourth-graders from Columbia schools learn where their food comes from during Beef Camp.
The Buckman family recently hosted the 56th annual Boone County Town & Country meeting. New University of Missouri System President Mun Choi attended the dinner and visited with farm families. This was the first time a UM System president had attended one of these meetings. Buckman says it was a good time to highlight what 4-H, FFA and MU Extension offer to the agribusiness world. He says he appreciated the commitment to these groups shown by the president’s attendance.