By Kari Slagel
Mark McQueen, a professional member of the Pike County Farm Bureau, has worked in agriculture his whole life.
Finding his start in 4-H and FFA, he showed pigs, grew specialty crops and had a sweet corn patch. He used his sweet corn patch for his FFA record keeping project, and his success there lead him to his after-college career.
“I won the vegetable production award for the state of Illinois my senior year,” McQueen told the RFD Radio Network. “That’s how I got hooked up with doing vegetable produce after college.”
While working that job, he mainly dealt with cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers throughout Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Texas and Ontario, Canada. After eight years, he decided to find his way back home.
“I was living on the road, and I really wanted to be in one area again,” McQueen explained. “Corn and beans have always been where my passion is at, so I wanted to get back to that.”
As a crop specialist at Prairie Land FS, he provides chemicals, seeds, fertilizer and anhydrous to farmers. He also does some crop scouting. Being in this position makes him eligible for PM membership. He said the membership helps his career and gives him a voice in agriculture.
Illinois Farm Bureau delegates approved the new professional membership (PM) in December 2016. The new membership class allows nonfarmers who work in ag-related fields to have voting rights. Previously, voting membership was limited to farmers with at least $2,500 in annual farm income.
“With the Young Leaders, we do some fundraisers. We’ve got some parades going on celebrating the 100th year of Farm Bureau in Pike County,” McQueen said. “We have a bags tournament every year where we raise money for the food pantries to help feed residents of Pike County. There’s also a pollinator plot that was put in this year that we’re pretty excited about participating in.”
After he is no longer eligible to participate in Young Leaders, McQueen said he plans to stay involved in Farm Bureau.
“Not only does Farm Bureau keep me up on relationships here in the Pike County area, but it also keeps me up on some of the new regulations that we have,” McQueen explained.
Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.