Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau celebrates 100 years

By Ashley Rice

Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau (WBFB) strives every day to remain relevant after 100 years of being the voice, resource and advocate for farm families and agriculture.

“We just passed our goals at our board meeting,” said Richard Beuth, WBFB president. “One of our goals is to continue to stress reaching consumers. We’re always trying to think of new programs and activities”

Events such as highly attended county fairs attracting 200,000 people allow WBFB to reach a diverse array of consumers at their exhibits. In addition, Ag in the Classroom has become a priority, reaching around 34,000 students last year. Even the annual Ag Breakfast on the Farm attracts up to 2,000 consumers who enjoy conversations with farmers and hands-on experiences.

Ann Cain, WBFB manager, reflected on the history of WBFB and those who made and continue to make an impact.

“It is interesting to see that a number of the issues our members faced years ago are the same or similar to the issues today,” said Cain. “I am so thankful for all of the great leaders and volunteers, past and present, that helped make the WBFB such a strong organization.”

In light of recent mandated precautions due to the coronavirus, the WBFB’s annual meeting and centennial celebration event scheduled for March were canceled. Centennial events will be rescheduled for later this year.

Other anticipated celebratory items include a historical video that will be available for purchase and a book on WBFB history.

Coinciding with WBFB’s centennial and in honor of her 80th birthday, member Sue Fulrath recently unveiled quilt block art. The quilt block adorns her recently restored fifth-generation barn built in 1880 and located in the Winnebago area. The barn sits within a 5-acre parcel recently certified as a bird and butterfly sanctuary by the Illinois Audubon Society. The quilt block, “Sermon on the Barn,” is layered to reflect the Trinity. It was painted by Valerie Jensen, a member of The Barn Quilts of Bureau County organization.

“The quilt reflects the essential values and beliefs that have informed me since childhood, especially my deep love of farm families and the Winnebago-Boone community,” noted Fulrath. “As such, we were motivated in large part both by my birthday and the 100th anniversary of WBFB.”

Both Winnebago and Boone County Farm Bureaus were formed in 1920. On September 1, 2012, the Winnebago County Farm Bureau officially merged with the Boone County Farm Bureau forming the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau.

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