By Ashley Rice
Illinois Farm Bureau’s Young Leader Achievement Award recognizes Young Leaders based on the operation, growth and financial progress of their farm as well as their leadership in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
The winner will go on to represent Illinois in the 2021 American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers contest in January.
Chad Bell, Viola, Mercer County
Throughout his life, Chad Bell has tried to be a voice for agriculture. Before coming back to farm full time in 2013, Bell attended college and worked off the farm for five-and-a-half years. He now grows 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans and tried wheat for the first time this year. He also finishes 4,800 pigs per year.
Some of Bell’s favorite Farm Bureau experiences include participating in Leaders to Washington, hosting legislators and representatives on his farm and serving on the State Young Leader Committee.
“Being on the State Young Leader committee was definitely a good experience,” said Bell. “It allowed me to meet other Young Leaders from across the state and add to my network. That seems to be one of the most beneficial parts of Farm Bureau is developing a network from all over the state.”
Bell also humorously recalled a volunteer opportunity in which he had the honor of wearing the Captain Cornelius costume at an ethanol promotion event hosted by Mercer and Rock Island County Farm Bureaus.
Overall, he is excited for the opportunity to be a finalist for the achievement award.
“I’m really excited to be one of the finalists in my first year applying,” explained Bell. “It was a good experience to fill out the application, and really sit down and think about my Farm Bureau experiences and reflect on them. Also, to sit down and really take time to think about my farming operation – where it’s been and where I would like to take it in the future.”
Bell resides in Viola with his wife, Brittany, and children, Amelia, 7, and Charlie, 4.
Chad Bell, left, and Correy and Kellie Rahn, right.
Correy and Kellie Rahn, Chadwick, Carroll County
Born and raised on family farms, Correy and Kellie Rahn met while attending college at Iowa State University. Since then, they have grown their farming operation and their family.
The Rahns raise corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa, along with having a cow/calf and feeder cattle operation and a hay business.
“Our operational growth was possible through the support from our parents and younger brother who are active on our farm today, plus my grandparents,” noted Correy.
In addition, since 2010, Kellie has been a Pioneer sales representative for area farmers.
Correy and Kellie also stay busy raising their four children, Austin, Emilie, Adalynn and Anthony.
The Rahns have enjoyed many Farm Bureau activities.
“I enjoy helping with the kiddie pedal pulls for the county town festivals and fairs and being a part of Ag Olympics at our county fair,” said Kellie. “In our early years, we also had the opportunity to visit an elementary school in Chicago as part of Ag in the Classroom and give a presentation to the students.”
“We have been a part of Farm-to-Fork events, educating consumers of where their food comes from,” said Correy. “Those events are such a humbling experience simply because most consumers are just like us. They want to know who, what, when, where and why about their food. All we have to do is tell our story.”
Applying for the Achievement Award has allowed the Rahns to look at their past and their future.
“Filling out the award application the past three years has allowed us to focus on our operation and look at where we have been the past 10 years,” said Kellie. “Including what our goals are as we progress, and focusing on our strengths and weaknesses within our operation. We love agriculture and are always continuing to strive to do our best and more as we raise our young family on the farm.”
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.