ShareThis Page

Farmer to continue in leadership role

| Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, 12:10 a.m.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Rick Ebert, vice president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, on his Derry Township farm.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Rick Ebert, vice president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, registers cattle on his laptop while working on his Derry Township farm on December 6, 2013.

Growing up on a 220-acre farm, Rick Ebert can remember showing his first calf at the county fair and working in the garden with his mother.

“I always enjoyed working with the cows and doing the fieldwork,” said Ebert, 53, who took over his family's dairy farm that straddles Derry Township and Blairsville with his brother Bill and added 180 acres nearby.

“It's just the sense of self-satisfaction in the work that you do,” such as watching the crops grow, improving the herd over time and producing milk for Turner Dairy in Penn Hills, Ebert said.

That lifelong experience has helped Ebert relate to the concerns of farmers across Pennsylvania, as he has served as vice president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau since 2004. He was re-elected for a fifth two-year term in November.

“I'm really honored to serve in this capacity for the organization,” Ebert said. “My goal is to make agriculture better in the state for our farmers, so that's what I take pride in ... hopefully, we can accomplish what we set out to do.”

The state farm bureau is broken into county districts, with Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette and Greene under the same leadership, when Ebert started out in 1982 as district president, then state board member and county director from 1996 to 2004.

The organization works to involve its members in the legislative process, providing information and lobbying for policy development from its farmer-members.

Any member can offer a resolution that is discussed by the membership before it is sent to the state level for the 175 delegates to address. Issues such as wildlife crop damage, the Clean Water Act and road infrastructure are under consideration, Ebert said.

He spends time in Harrisburg speaking before legislative committees.

“It's just part of what I wanted to give back to the community and people across the state in agriculture,” Ebert said.

His wife, Diane, is involved with the farm and the organization, winning the farm bureau's Young Farmer and Rancher Award in the late 1980s.

Rick Ebert was also awarded the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Award and the 2007 Keystone Farmer of the Year Award.

“He believes in what he's doing,” Diane Ebert said, adding that her husband's passionate, yet level-headed demeanor have helped him to work with legislators and farmers.

Carl T. Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, said that Rick has spent his career as a strong leader.

“Pennsylvania farmers are lucky to have someone as committed to agriculture as Rick,” Shaffer said.

Bill Ebert said his brother represents farmers, such as ones like the Eberts, who have spent their lives working the Pennsylvania land, well.

“The farm bureau's a good organization; they help the farmer out a lot,” he said. “(Rick) can bring his perspective to the organization.”

The Eberts' farm, Will-Mar-Re, has about 90 milking cows and 65 young stock as well as fields for corn and hay for their livestock, and soybeans as a cash crop.

Bill Ebert generally handles the crops and the machinery, while Rick manages the cows. They attended Penn State, where Bill earned an associate degree in agribusiness and Rick earned a bachelor's degree in dairy science.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.