Vermilion County Farm Bureau is pleased to announce its annual award winners presented at our 102nd Annual Meeting in early December.


Mark Willard, of Rossville, was presented the Farm Bureau Distin-guished Service Award for 2020. Mark has been a great supporter of VCFB. He served on the Board of Directors for 17 years (1999-2016), including twelve as an officer. He’s been a strong member recruiter, being recognized multiple times with the IFB Director Five distinction, for signing five or more new members. He continues to contact friends and neighbors to encourage their ongoing Farm Bureau membership. Ag in the Classroom (AITC) has been another of Mark’s passions with Farm Bureau. When his wife, Susie, was a teacher at Liberty School in Danville, Mark would visit her class and talk about being a farmer. He’s also worked with her on the AITC partnership with the Douglas Discov-ery Garden, building garden boxes for student to plant seedlings in at the garden. Mark has served on the Vermilion County Farm Bureau Foundation Board of Trustees since its inception in 2008. He served as the interlocking member with the Farm Bureau board, including being chairman for the last eight years.



The Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award winner is Joan Dale, of Schlarman Academy in Danville. Joan has been a teacher in Vermilion County for 25 years, with 20 of those years in Danville District 118. She’s been teaching Language Arts teacher for 4th-6th graders at Schlarman the last five years. She has utilized Ag in the Classroom for nearly all those years. Last spring when schools shut down, Mrs. Dale was one of the teachers that used our Grab & Go activity bags for re-mote lessons. And she’s been incorporating the current Zoom AITC les-sons with her students. She first came to Danville from the south Chicago suburbs 32 years ago, and admits that she and her students alike have learned so much about farming and food through Ag in the Classroom.


And the Spokesperson of the Year Award was given to Curt Elmore, of Al-lerton. Curt farms in the Sidell and Allerton area. He has been active in Farm Bureau with the Young Leaders Committee and has served on the Board of Directors since 2015. He has written farming articles for The Sidell Re-porter for the last 12 years. His topics have covered farm safety, issues impacting farmers and National Agriculture Week. “It gives me the oppor-tunity to let people who aren’t directly involved in agriculture know what’s going on, what prices are doing and the issues we are facing day-to-day in the industry. It gives me an opportunity to reach out to those people.” He also participated in an IFB Leaders to Washington trip to share farmers’ views with members of Congress and regulators. “That was a great experi-ence. It’s something I look forward to doing again in the future.”

Directors re-elected to the Vermilion County Farm Bureau board during the meeting include: Cole Acton of Danville, Curt Elmore of Allerton, Andy Gernand of Potomac, Daniel Wagoner of Danville and Jay Winland of Georgetown.

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