Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
For Immediate Release: December 3, 2018
(Camp Hill) – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) is welcoming six new members to the organization’s State Board of Directors following elections during PFB’s 68th Annual Meeting. Joining the board are Don Buckman of Bucks County, Charlie Porter of Columbia County, Luke Brubaker of Lancaster County, Rick Leese of Fulton County, Gretchen Winklosky of Westmoreland County and Raleigh Masters of Luzerne County.
Don Buckman, who grows hay and raises hogs for direct market sales at Lonely Willow Farm, formerly served on the state board in 2017 when he was chair of PFB’s Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) Committee.
“One of my goals is to help county Farm Bureaus develop more membership activities and to better connect with farmer members and Friends of Farm Bureau members (people who are PFB members, but are not engaged in farming),” said Don Buckman. “I have a passion for educating people about farming and reaching out to the public to let them know what Farm Bureau is all about.”
Buckman, who won the YF&R Excellence in Ag Award in 2014, has served on the Bucks County Farm Bureau board since 2005 and as its Vice President since 2007. Buckman will represent District 2, which includes farmers from Bucks, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton Counites.
Charlie Porter, who grows a variety of crops on 300 acres of land and runs a beef cow-calf operation, has been a Farm Bureau member for more than 40 years. He has held a variety of positions within the Colombia County Farm Bureau and is currently its 1st Vice President. Porter has been a major advocate of farmers engaging with the public through his work on the Agriculture Promotion Committee. Porter played a key role in the county receiving a County Activities of Excellence award for its “State of Ag” newspaper columns and represented the Columbia County Farm Bureau at AFBF’s National Convention. Porter has been recognized with Cooperator of the Year awards from both Penn State Extension and the county Conservation District.
“I’d like to play a role in motivating other members of the state board and farmers to play a larger role in promoting agriculture to the non-farm community,” said Charlie Porter. “While serving on PFB’s Ag Promotion Committee, I meet a lot of people from counties across the state who are interested in talking to the public about farming and what goes into producing healthy food.”
Porter will represent District 4, which includes Carbon, Columbia, Luzerne, and Schuylkill Counties.
Luke Brubaker, who owned and operated a 1,000-cow dairy farm for more than 30 years before transitioning the farm to his two sons, has a long list of accomplishments, including 20 years of service on the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (including PMMB Chairman) and Chairman of the Lancaster Farm Service Agency from 1996-2004. He is a longtime member of PFB’s State and National Legislative Committees.
Brubaker has also played host to numerous farm tours that included state, national and international visitors and he participated in President Trump’s first-ever Roundtable Discussion with U.S. Agricultural Leaders in 2017. Brubaker has won a variety of awards over the years, including the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Award, the George C. Delp Award, 2013 Top Producer of the Year award, 2014 Chesapeake Bay Alliance Environmental Leadership Award and the 2014 Dairy Stakeholder Pacesetter Award.
“I have been involved in farming all of my life and grew my operation by implementing new practices and making improvements over the years based on changing times and technology,” said Luke Brubaker. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with farmers and others engaged in agriculture to improve the sector’s competitiveness and to help expand opportunities for farmers involved in all sectors of agriculture.”
Brubaker will represent District 8, which includes Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York Counties.
Farmers from District 9, which includes Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and Fulton Counites, will be represented by farmer Rick Leese, who has been involved in farming for 40 years. Leese raises hogs and beef cattle and grows several grains, including corn and hay on about 500 acres of land in Fulton County.
“I want to work with others to help improve the overall situation for farmers, many of whom are struggling financially,” said Rick Leese. “I hope to help identify new economic opportunities for farmers and to provide them with information on how to diversify or identify value-added options to bring in new income.”
He replaces his brother Dan Leese, who resigned to pursue other interests overseas. Winklosky, who has served as president of the Westmoreland County Farm Bureau, takes over as the state board member of District 16, which includes farmers from Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland Counties.
Gretchen Winklosky grew up on a large dairy farm and currently owns a small grain and direct market hog farm with her husband.
“I’m interested in working with county Farm Bureaus and our farmers in general to help them thrive, even though some are facing some difficult financial times,” said Gretchen Winklosky. “I also have a passion for educating people about agriculture, so the public understands where their food comes from and the importance of agriculture, because sometimes as a nation we take the availability and affordability of healthy food for granted.”
Raleigh Masters joins the board as the new state chairman of the Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) Committee.
“I’d like to create excitement among young farmers from across the state to get move involved in YF&R activities and to build a foundation for a strong committee in the future,” said Raleigh Masters. “By increasing participation among young farmers, we can do more to identify opportunities and combat challenges facing young farmers, without relying on a small group of people to do all the work.” Meanwhile, four other members of the state board were re-elected; they include: David Snook (District 6; Centre, Clinton and Lycoming Counties), David Graybill (District 10; Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin and Perry Counties), David Kimmel (District 12; Cambria, Clearfield and Indiana Counties), and Jack Post (District 14; Crawford, Erie and Warren Counties).
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania. ###