BY TIMOTHY EGGERT
Ogle County livestock and grain farmer Brian Duncan has been elected the 16th president of Illinois Farm Bureau.
Duncan’s ascension to president came Dec. 4, after a majority of the 327 delegates gathered in Chicago for IFB’s 109th Annual Meeting selected him for the position. Delegates also elected Evan Hultine, a sixth-generation farmer from Bureau County, as vice president.
There was one other candidate, former IFB President Philip Nelson of Seneca, whose candidacy was announced Dec. 3.
Declared the winner, Duncan thanked retiring IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. and said he’s “excited about the partnership (with Hultine) going forward.”
“This organization stands on the shoulders of giants — our farmer members — who have come before and plotted a course for this organization, and I look forward to navigating and chartering that course along with our members, our county Farm Bureaus, our board of directors into the next chapter,” Duncan said. “It is an incredible privilege to work alongside the team we have at IFB.”
Duncan was nominated on the delegate floor by Dan Meyer, former Douglas County Farm Bureau president, who said Duncan embodies IFB’s policy book.
“I know of no other member in this organization that knows this book better than Brian,” Meyer said. “As president, he wouldn’t come in with a self-minded agenda. He comes armed with this policy handbook ready to represent us in Springfield, Washington, D.C., or wherever he is needed.”
A self-described “product of this organization,” Duncan’s path to the presidency largely started in the 1990s, when Duncan served four years on the IFB Young Leaders Committee (1990-94) and was named the IFB Discussion Meet winner (1990) and the Young Leader Achievement Award winner (1999).
Duncan served 13 years as president of the Ogle County Farm Bureau (2004-17) and has held positions on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Swine Advisory Committee, National Pork Producers Council Price Discovery Task Force and Ogle County Pork Producers board of directors.
Duncan told reporters Monday those experiences will frame his approach to leading the organization, explaining he is “here to serve and work for every member, period.”
“Every member is important and valuable to this organization. We cherish and treasure and do our best to serve our members — that’s the point of this organization,” Duncan said. “I look forward to providing that level of service for all members.”
One test of that commitment will come with the development — and eventually implementation — of IFB’s evolving Organizational Member Strategy (OMS), a roadmap to guide the future of the organization and the services it provides for members.
“We will be continuing to work hard on charting the course for the direction of the organization,” Duncan said, alluding to the OMS, which will allow IFB to “really determine and lean into what our members want and expect from this organization.”
Duncan also pointed to opportunities for engaging younger members, both to collect their input for the future of IFB and to develop their own paths to IFB leadership positions.
And engagement will also be crucial for ensuring Congress completes work on the 2023 farm bill by passing full five-year authorization legislation in 2024, according to Duncan.
“Leveraging our local members and their relationships as well, that’s one of the things we do best as an organization,” Duncan said, alluding to the relationships between lawmakers and IFB farmer members that become strengthened through farm visits and hearing members’ stories.
Asked whether he would use his IFB presidency to advance priorities for the livestock industry, Duncan, who raises hogs, said he’ll always have a focus on livestock issues, such as the regulatory challenges stemming from California’s Proposition 12.
But Duncan said he intends to represent all parts of the ag industry and all parts of Illinois.
“I look forward to serving the entire state and its great diversity,” Duncan said.
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.