This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. I was first invited as an IAA scholarship winner to be recognized, but I also got to participate as a Collegiate Farm Bureau member.
There were many different things that I learned and noticed in my time at the Palmer House in downtown Chicago. I want to highlight just 3 things that struck me as well-respected people in the agricultural industry surrounded me.
1. Professionals. The Palmer House is a very nice hotel in downtown Chicago that hosts lots of conventions and weddings. During Annual Meeting, the hotel was full of farmers in suits. Some of the people are business people who are used to wearing dress clothes, other farmers are used to wearing their jeans, plaid shirts, and work boots. No matter how comfortable they were in their clothing, all the speakers, award winners, and leaders in charge of the meetings were very confident, eloquent speakers. They knew what they were talking about and they are all good at what they do. Some people don’t realize it, but farmers really are businessmen and a weekend at Annual Meeting made that very clear.
2. Passion. Sunday morning, Illinois Farm Bureau President, Richard Guebert gave his address and his passion for agriculture shown through the address. This passion was also evident in every person that won awards for their service to Farm Bureau and their contributions to the industry. The mere number of people in attendance proves how important agriculture is to them.
3. Potential. Finally, as everyone was gathered in the ballroom at the Palmer House, I was struck by how much potential there was in the room. There were 35 members of Collegiate Farm Bureaus from the University of Illinois, Illinois State University, Western Illinois University, and Southern Illinois University. I was one of three of these members to be recognized as receiving a scholarship from the IAA Foundation. Two other collegiate members were recognized, as they will represent Illinois at the National Collegiate Farm Bureau Young Leaders Discussion Meet. These college students represent the future of agriculture and Farm Bureau. They hold a great potential but that potential is greatly increased by the rest of the people in the room. The older, more experienced leaders in agriculture have the potential to give their knowledge and support to students and increase their potential to improve the future of agriculture.
Unfortunately, I was not able to stay for the events of Monday and Tuesday, as I had to get back to Champaign for classes. However, I’m very grateful for the time I got to spend at the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. It was great to be able to experience the professionals, passion, and great amounts of potential at this gathering of agricultural leaders.