Growing up, Joe Murphy realized at an early age that agriculture would play an important role in my life. Joe was born and raised on the family farm near Creal Springs, Illinois. As a young boy, He worked on that family farm every day after school and full-time in the summers. After graduation in 1955 from Marion High School in Marion, Illinois, he attended Southern Illinois University and obtained a B.S. degree in agriculture in 1959.
Following college, Joe’s first job was with USDA as an office manager. After six years with USDA, he took a job selling farm machinery for Oliver Tractor Company where he worked until 1970. In addition to his job with USDA and Oliver, he continued to work on the family farm and after his father's death in 1967, he became solely responsible for operation of the farm. Since 1967, he has operated the family farm, as well as additional acres that he purchased since that time. Additionally, from 1974 to 2000, Joe was an agent for Shelter Insurance Company involved with all lines of property, casualty, life and health insurance. During this time, he was also trained and sold crop insurance to farmers for Rain and Hail Insurance Company.
In 1976, Joe was elected to the Saline County Board where he served for sixteen years. While on the board he served on every committee from time to time. During this time, he was elected to serve as Saline County Democrat Chairman, a position I held for eight years. From 1993-2001, Joe served on the Illinois State Committee for the
Farm Service Agency. While a member of the FSA Committee, they monitored the administration of farm programs, heard and decided farmer appeals from local FSA offices, attended conservation policy meetings, attended diversity training and implemented a diversity policy. During his tenure on FSA State Committee, Joe became acquainted with many farmers throughout the state, and because part of his duties involved hearing farmers appeals, he became very familiar with the economic difficulties faced by farmers throughout the state.
In November 2001, Joe was appointed to the Illinois Soybean Association Board of Directors where he filled the one-year vacancy created by someone who resigned from the Board. He was elected to serve three more terms.
Since 1963, Joe has resided in Harrisburg, Illinois with his wife Georgia, with whom they have three children. Joe is a member of the Saline County Farm Bureau, and an active member of McKinley Avenue Baptist Church in Harrisburg where he served as Chairman of Deacons for three terms.
Since his retirement from the insurance business, Joe has focused his time on his true joy-farming! He is a cancer survivor and has increased awareness of the importance of family, religion, and his love of land. Today, Joe enjoys watching the seasons change, and participating in the constant evolution of grain farming and agriculture.