Longtime politics reporter retires from IFT Publications

While much has changed during Gene Lucht’s 35-year career with IFT Publications, much remains the same.

“You have a lot of technology available, but we still talk to farmers and we still provide them with timely information,” he says. “We still cover the basics.”

Lucht retired Oct. 7. His tenure on the news staff is the longest in IFT’s 38-year history.

He grew up on a farm near Garwin and graduated from Iowa State University in December 1981 with a degree in journalism. Lucht worked in Titonka, Spencer and Cherokee before joining IFT in December 1986.

“The Spencer and Cherokee papers were owned by the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the original owners of IFT,” he says. “When I started working with IFT, I just moved upstairs at the Cherokee paper. We had two writers, two advertising reps and a secretary in the western Iowa office.”

Lucht initially worked as a general assignment reporter. Eventually he and his wife Gail moved to Ankeny in 1990. Not long after, he began focusing his efforts on politics and public affairs. Lucht also covered other aspects of agriculture, including agronomy, economics and succession planning. He won several awards during his IFT career.

Lucht also served a term as president of North American Agricultural Journalists.

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He says highlights of the job include numerous trips, including a visit to Cuba.

“That was really interesting to see,” Lucht says.

He also worked several political debates over the years.

“I’ve done everything from judging pie contests to being a celebrity sheep shearer,” Lucht says. “It’s been fun.”

His wife Gail plans to retire early next year. Retirement plans include traveling, volunteer work and spending more time with their adult children, Sierra and Dakota.

“I have a lot of hobbies and I’m part of several civic groups, so that will keep me busy,” Lucht says.

As he reflects on his career, he points to the people he has worked with as a highlight.

“I enjoyed working with the people on our staff, as well as the farmers we serve,” Lucht says. “I will miss them, but I’m looking forward to retirement.”

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