The late Jean Stubblefield dedicated much of her life to her family’s farm near McLean and the ag industry in general.
And through the generous donation of that farm to the IAA Foundation, Stubblefield’s farm legacy will continue for years to come.
(To learn more about Jean Stubblefield and her legacy, click here.)
Members of the IAA Foundation Board, including David Erickson, Illinois Farm Bureau vice president, toured the grain and livestock farm this week.
The IAA Foundation plans to work with farm management and the longtime farmer tenant to maintain and improve the operation.
Income from the farm will go toward Stubblefield’s specific wishes, including support for the farm industry, ag education along with shelter and care for animals.
“It’s a great opportunity for the board of trustees to come here and view what the Foundation had given to them,” Erickson said. “We’re certainly grateful of the opportunity Jean Stubblefield provided for us.”
Stubblefield’s parents, James and Maude Rhodes Roberts, purchased the farm when Stubblefield was 5 years old. She passed away at the age of 96 in 2015 after dedicating much of her life to caring for the farm. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jesse Stubblefield, in 1977.
“We’re all struck with the rich history and commitment Jean had to her family’s multigenerational farm,” Erickson said. “We’ll reinvest in the farm as need be to continue the legacy of Jean Stubblefield here on the farm and make it a good, working farm into the future.”
The 231-acre farm includes 164.17 tillable acres and about 38 acres of pasture. Roger Shifflet, who has farmed the ground the past 18 years, grows corn, soybeans and wheat and raises beef cattle and sheep on the Stubblefield farm.
The IAA Foundation already coordinated installation of some new tile on the farm.
The donation is the first realized farm gift for the IAA Foundation, according to its director, Susan Moore. Other farm donations have been pledged to the Foundation but not yet realized.
“We were notified a while back about this gift Jean Stubblefield graciously left to the IAA Foundation,” Moore said. “Once the initial excitement and gratitude settled in, we shifted our thoughts to how are we going to make this work best for the farm and for the Foundation.
“We engaged with farm management and the farmer tenant to make sure this farm is in its best condition to not only support the Foundation, but also make sure we’re being good stewards of the land and keep this a thriving, active farm.”
The Foundation’s long-term plans include enhancing its scholarship program for young people, particularly those interested in studying animal science and general ag, with proceeds from the farm.
The first contribution from the farm, though, will go to support the McLean County Fair sale of champions next month in Stubblefield’s home county. The money will go toward youth showing cattle and sheep, two of her loves on the farm.
“We wanted to recognize her in McLean County right away, where she grew up,” Moore added. “We are a farm-first organization. I think that will really lead all our decisions, not only on this farm, but with future farm gifts.”
Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.