Posted on August 23, 2021 at 9:15 AM by Emily Saveraid
Mike and Nick Hunter, grew up on a family farm in Derby, Iowa where their passion for farming and caring for livestock started. After graduating from Iowa State University, they began farming together in 1983 and formed Hunter Brothers Inc., raising livestock and crops. They began to diversify their farming operation in 1984, when they planted several evergreen trees and began tree sales out of the back of a pickup in 1990. In 1992, they built the “Tree Barn”. Visiting Hunter Brothers Tree Farm, cutting down their own Christmas tree, shopping for gifts in the one-room school house, sipping hot chocolate, and eating homemade Christmas cookies has become a tradition to many families.
Their work ethic, commitment to the environment, and volunteerism has earned them many awards over the years, including Rathbun Lake Protectors Award, Master Farmer Award, and the Good Neighbor Award.
The Hunter Brothers involvement in 4-H began in the 1990’s in Lucas County. As their families’ involvement grew, so did their volunteer roles. Mike and Nick have served in many roles, including Beef Superintendents, Extension Council, 4-H & Youth Committee, and Fair Board members. While serving on these boards, both Mike and Nick always put the 4-H member’s growth and development first. During fair week, they could often be found on the grounds volunteering time to help 4-H youth and families, mentoring youth, helping with weigh-ins, breaking classes for the beef show, helping their own children, or staying overnight to cook meat in the BBQ pit for the 4-H Food Stand.
Volunteering and contributing to the community is something that both Mike and Nick are passionate about. They instilled these values in their children, by involving them, as they volunteered. The Fair was fortunate to be a recipient of many of their efforts through many fairground improvement projects.
The Hunter Brothers have led several efforts to encourage more members to become involved in the beef project. They support youth financially in the fair sale each year. In 2000, Mike and Nick wanted to encourage more members to participate in beef showmanship, so they started donating a halter yearly for every youth that participated. In 2015, Hunter Brothers partnered with a local bank to offer bred heifers to 7th or 8th grade youth. Through this program, youth learn management practices, make breeding decisions, and learn record keeping skills.
Extension staff articulated Mike and Nick’s willingness to help with whatever came up - they were only a phone call away. Lucas County 4-H would like to thank Mike and Nick Hunter for over 30 years of service.