By Ashley Rice
Menard County Farm Bureau (MCFB) may be wrapping up its centennial celebration (1919-2019), but signs of the celebration are still visible.
“We were trying to think of creative ways to promote the 100th anniversary and this grain bin mural project just fell into place,” said Ashley Beutke, Mason and Menard County Farm Bureau manager.
The landowner, Hickory Hurie, is a Farm Bureau member, while the tenants, Kyle and Robert Winkelmann, are both past presidents of MCFB. The artist, Tony Freeman, is a central Illinois resident.
“We were approached by local board members of MCFB, and we talked to our landowner who was very receptive of the idea,” said Kyle Winkelmann. “The bin was painted this summer and the mural was finished this fall. It took over a year to get it all lined up.”
While MCFB may be celebrating its centennial, the history of the Hurie farm spans more than 100 years. “The larger Hurie farm has been in the extended family since 1832,” said Hurie. “We all thought (the mural) might ... help promote the work of the Farm Bureau and the vital role played by agriculture in the economy and life of central Illinois.”
Photo: Menard County Farm Bureau (MCFB) board members pose with Kyle and Robert Winkelmann, tenants, and Ashley Beutke, MCFB manager, to commemorate the completion of the grain bin logo. (Photo courtesy of MCFB)
The project was truly a community effort. “It was a win for everybody,” said Brian Satorius, MCFB president. “The mural itself had a blanket of corn in front of it the day the farmer went to harvest. You slowly got the reveal of the mural. It’s very prominent on one of the main roads that people travel.”
As far as location, drivers can see the bin on Illinois 97 between Springfield and Petersburg.
Freeman, owner/lead artist at Free Sky Studios in Springfield, painted the logo on the bin in only a couple of days. Freeman explained he first visited the site and then did a layout on the computer.
“If you do it too big or too small, you can’t see it,” Freeman noted. “I centered it so that you see it coming down (Illinois) 97 so you get the most visual impact.” While he travels the country painting, Freeman said he really enjoyed working on this project in the county he grew up in.
The grain bin mural was just one of many celebratory events that took place this year. In the summer, a celebration was held with members, legislators and dignitaries. Some other activities included burying a time capsule, and events at local schools and the county fair.
In July, U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, spoke about the anniversary to the House of Representatives: “Illinois has become a major economic force within the agricultural sector because of Farm Bureaus like Menard County that come together and enhance opportunities for farmers, their families and the community,” stated LaHood. “I extend my sincere congratulations to Menard County Farm Bureau for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to Illinois.”
As far as planning for the next 100 years of MCFB, “One of our goals right now is to make our organization relevant to the next generation,” said Beutke.
While the paint on the grain bin may fade over time, the MCFB will carry on, serving their members and community.
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.