For Stark County member, IFB's Professional Membership has its perks

New membership classification allows agriculture industry professionals to connect with other farmers, professionals across the state.

By Rita Frazer

In December 2016, Illinois Farm Bureau delegates at the organization’s annual meeting voted to approve a new category of membership.

The membership category, designed especially for those who work in agriculture but may not derive a significant portion of their income from production agriculture, was dubbed a professional membership. Since the by-law change more than two years ago, the members classified in the PM designation has steadily grown, reaching 608 as of December 2018.

The RFD Radio Network and FarmWeekNow will be spotlighting Illinois Farm Bureau professional members from around the state each month, beginning with Wes Lehman, a professional member in Stark County.    

Though Lehman resides in Grundy County, Stark County Farm Bureau Manager Anna Emm asked Lehman to consider joining as a professional member because of his agriculture connections in Stark County.

A product representative with Springfield Plastics, Lehman said he was excited about the opportunity to join the Farm Bureau in the county where, not only many of his clients and valuable contacts reside, but also rich with agriculture businesses in general.

“The biggest thing is networking between all the businesses,” Lehman told RFD Radio Network. “So, me meeting with other business professionals and knowing how the industries go – whether it’s grain markets, fertilizer, seed companies, we all have to work together.”

For Lehman, one of the benefits of his new membership has been receiving FarmWeek.

“Reading FarmWeek has kept me involved as far as the industry goes,” Lehman said. “(I find out) if there are problems, if there’s solutions, if there’s new technology or what’s happening in the world trade market.”   

More importantly, added Lehman, his membership gives him an added touchpoint with professionals in the agriculture industry, a group he said makes up the “friendliest business out there.”    

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