Bud was born July 29, 1927, and is the fourth generation to live on the family farm. The Gerken farm has 450 acres purchased in 1881 by Bud’s great grandfather, Cord Gerken, who came to the United States in 1850 as an immigrant from Westertimke, Germany. The Gerken home was built by C. C. Gerken, Sr., and Anna Schenewark Gerken, Bud’s parents.
Bud attended the Mora public school and graduated from high school at Warsaw in 1945. Soon after he served in the U.S. Army’s occupational forces. Following his military service, he attended college in St. Louis and then returned to the family farm in 1949 to begin his agricultural career.
Bud married Margie Bockelman in 1951 and one nominator suggested this award should be the “Bud and Marge Gerken” award. The Gerkens have two daughters, Patty who lives in Joplin with husband Ed Vansell and their three children, and Judy and husband Todd Smith and one daughter near Sedalia.
The Gerkens bought their first registered Holsteins in the early 50s from G.G. Vanderfeltz, Jefferson City, and coined the prefix BUDMAR to be used for their cattle and farm name. At the time of the herd dispersal in 1985 the Gerken Holsteins were averaging 20,000 pounds of milk and 650 pounds of butterfat.
Bud and his family showed their cattle at many local fairs in the 50s and at the Missouri State Fair in the 70s where the Gerken Holsteins won numerous All-Missouri and Reserve All-Missouri awards. Since 1985, Bud has served as superintendent of the dairy show at the State Fair.
The Gerken family has always taken an active interest in the Missouri Holstein Association and Bud served a number of years on its board of directors. More recently, he was president of the Association. In 1984, he was junior activities chair at the National Holstein Association Convention in St. Louis.
Through the years Bud was a member of a Dairy Herd Association and has also belonged to milk producers’ associations.
In 1973 the Gerkens were the Benton County Farm Family at the Missouri State Fair. They also received the University of Missouri’s farm management program’s achievement award at a Kansas City Chamber of Commerce sponsored awards program in 1981.
The Gerkens have also been active in community affairs. Bud served as president of the Cole Camp Fair for several years and was a member of the Fair board for more than 20 years.