Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The primary takeaway message of Illinois Farm Bureau’s 100-year history book rings loud and clear. The organization’s success has and will continue to depend on members’ voices.
The book’s title – “A Voice for Agriculture, The Centennial History of Illinois Farm Bureau” – clearly sets the stage for the next 100 years.
“I definitely hit on a theme. For 100 years, Illinois Farm Bureau has been an effective voice for agriculture. That voice is dictated by the membership,” said Dan Leifel, author and historian.
Leifel, a retired IFB Office of the General Counsel attorney, previously authored, “The Diamond Harvest,” recounting 75 years of the organization’s history. He noted the latest book differs significantly from the previous one in that it provides a comprehensive history of the last century based on stories gathered from members.
“The book also contains a lot more images to tell the story. I thank Allison (Carr, IFB research specialist), Steve (Simms, IFB promotion and graphic arts director) and Philip (Gangler, IFB corporate historian) for all the photos,” said Leifel.
The retired attorney saw firsthand how members’ voices made a difference in public and organizational policy.
“We traveled around the state to talk with farmers. We worked on the farmland assessment law when Harold Steele was president, and the royalty program when John White was president,” said Leifel. “The royalty program remains important to the future of Farm Bureau because it provides a long-term, dependable stream of revenue.”
So far, 650 readers have purchased the $15 book. Net proceeds go to the IAA Foundation. Susan Moore, IAA Foundation Director, said representatives of college libraries have called, seeking copies of the book.
“I have no farm background,” said Leifel. “For me, Farm Bureau is my family. I enjoyed selling books at the annual meeting because of the stories I heard from our members. You see the enthusiasm for history.”
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Content provided by Chris Anderson, FarmWeek
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