Sunday, November 24, 2013

Will County Farm Bureau Celebrates 100 Year Anniversary

By Mary Baskerville

The Will County Farm Bureau’s 100-year history was celebrated November 23, 2013 at the Weitendorf Agricultural Education Center on Laraway Road. Drawing farmers, county and state leaders, and agriculture educators and supporters together, the event included a display of farm life spanning the century.

Will County Board member Ken Harris said the displays were very interesting to him because as a County Board member it is helpful to gain information about agriculture and "understand the farmers and the people that are affected."  Harris is standing by a display of a John Deere corn husker and John Deere wagon holding ear corn.

Will County Farm Bureau President Tom Nugent welcomed keynote speaker Orion Samuelson saying that his reputation as the “voice of agriculture” for over a half-century on WGN Radio was vital in helping explain the role of farming to many.

Will County Farm Bureau President Tom Nugent (left) and Orion Samuelson at the  Will County Farm Bureau 100th Anniversary Celebration

Samuelson told the crowd of over 400 that as agriculture becomes more modern “the challenge becomes even greater.” He told the new generation of farmers to dream big dreams: “You can’t dream big enough.”  

Vast changes occurred during the past century, he said, with even bigger changes coming. Organizations like Farm Bureau help explain the role of agriculture: “We will lead the change.”

In 1918, there were 3,588 individual farms in Will County. By 2009, Will County’s population reached 685,251 and there were 877 farms.

The Will County Farm Bureau Centennial Committee was co-chaired by Tom Nugent and Jim Robbins. Members included Pat Bleuer, Jerry Davidson, Doug Erickson, Bob Fitzer, Glenn Fritz, Barbara Kestel, Roger Koehn, Gene Malone, Tom McCoy, Henry Meader, Johan Meier, Bob Muehling and Jim Schillinger.