Service just seems to come naturally to Dale Humphrey, as he has spent the last forty years working to better his community and his profession. He has offered his leadership skills to organizations ranging from local school corporations to national commodity organizations. Fellow cattleman George Morton says that Humphrey “has the unique ability to blend strong wills into cooperative efforts,” and that trait has been the hallmark of his service.
Humphrey received a B. S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University in 1957. For two years following graduation he was a farm mortgage lender with America United Life Insurance Company. In 1959 he returned to his family farm near Springville, a 2000-acre grain and cattle farm that has included a commercial cow-calf operation, as well as backgrounding and cattle finishing operations. From 1973 to 1975 he served part-time as an instructor in the Veterans’ Agriculture Program, teaching agriculture to veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars.
In the mid-1960’s he got involved when Lawrence County organized a local cattleman’s chapter. Humphrey served as a board member with the Springville Feeder Auction Association, a group that gave marketing clout to small producers by grading and sorting cattle into trailer loads. He also became active at the state level with the Indiana Beef Cattle Association (IBCA) where he served in numerous leadership roles, including president. He worked diligently at IBCA on a feasibility study of an Indiana-based beef packing facility to serve the Eastern Corn Belt.
Humphrey served the National Cattlemen’s Association (NCA) in numerous positions including chairmanship of the resolutions, nominating and farm policy committees, as well as membership in the Four Nations Trade Group for the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He represented all cattlemen east of the Mississippi River as the Region I Vice President of NCA. The regional vice presidents’ positions had been created when two associations merged to form NCA, and at the time of his service there was no job description other than serving on NCA’s executive committee. Humphrey quickly identified regional issues of concern and built coalitions of state associations and other industry leaders to find solutions for several marketing, educational and animal health issues. According to former IBCA executive director Larry Ralston, when Humphrey completed his term as regional vice president, NCA made a list of his efforts and converted it into a job description for these positions that no one had really understood before.
Humphrey served a term as NCA president, a commitment that meant spending more than half his time out of the state. His accomplishments included the repeal of the preproductive expense on replacement heifers, negotiating the Beef Citrus Agreement between Japan and the United States, and working with Congress and coalitions of state and national cattle associations and the National Livestock and Meat Board to develop a national beef check-off.
Locally, Humphrey has served on the Lawrence County Fair Board and was president of the county’s extension board. He served on a committee that oversaw the consolidation of seven local high schools into Bedford North Lawrence. At Popcorn Christian Church, he served on the board of trustees for a number of years. As a member of the Board of Governors of Dunn Memorial Hospital, he helped craft the merger of two local hospitals, the establishment of a walk-in clinic and two construction projects totaling more than $7 million. He has also served as a member of both the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Purdue School of Agriculture and the Advisory Committee for Farm Credit Services.