BY ASHLEY RICE
Wayne Gehrke of Kane County has been elected the 2021 chair of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee.
Gehrke, who just finished his term as IFB Young Leader vice chairman, grows pumpkins, hay, corn and soybeans with his family in northern Illinois.
In the year ahead, he sees continued challenges and opportunities for Young Leaders.
“I think the biggest challenge that the Young Leader program across the state will face is: How do we keep the interest of our membership throughout COVID?” Gehrke asked. “And what value can the Young Leader program bring to their memberships?”
But regardless of barriers this past year, Young Leaders did adapt some programs into virtual or digital formats for their recent annual meeting, including the discussion meet, committee elections and the Harvest for All fundraiser.
Gehrke also sees new potential opportunities for Young Leaders to engage with the incoming Biden administration.
“We also have a new incoming administration in which we will certainly see new policies,” noted Gehrke. “How will that affect the Young Leaders program? Will we have more opportunities to speak with legislators? And what will that look like?”
In 2021, Gehrke is eagerly looking forward to having in-person Young Leader Committee meetings, although he’s not sure when that will be possible. Nonetheless, Gehrke is “honored” to be selected by his peers for this leadership position.
“You never know what a year is going to look like and what a year will bring is maybe the biggest lesson we’ve learned from this past year,” reflected Gehrke. “I think I’ll need to be willing to be adaptable this year as well.”
Other 2021 IFB Young Leader Executive Committee members include vice chair Aaron Mitchell (Winnebago-Boone County); secretary Gracelynn Dale (Bureau County); education and recruitment subcommittee chair Sadie Asher (Henry County); achievement subcommittee chair Ryan Zelhart (Macon County); and governmental affairs and commodities subcommittee chair Seth Root (Edwards County).
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.