Today, in Bloomington, IL, five Illinois farmers were recognized as professionals who excel both in their trade and in their commitment to family and community.
Ken Greene of Durand and a former Director for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board was one of those farmers. So were David Bliss of Maquon, Linnea Kooistra of Woodstock, Jim Purlee of Galesburg, and Ron Tombaugh of Streator. All should be commended for their hard work and dedication to the agricultural industry. Of course, IL Corn is particularly proud of Greene.
Many farm kids go to college counting the days until they get to come back to the farm full time. Durand farmer Ken Greene tried his hand at a couple different careers before the call of farming became too irresistible for him to say no.
Even before Ken graduated from Illinois State University in 1968 with an agriculture degree, he already had one offer to farm. When a family friend was diagnosed with cancer, he asked Ken to farm his 200 acres, even though Ken was still a senior in college. Ken accepted. But, he still wasn’t sure farming was his true calling. Borrowing his father’s equipment, he farmed the 200 acres, while also fulfilling his obligation to his Army Reserve unit for the next six years.
During this time, Ken also found time to marry his wife, Becky, whom he met his junior year at ISU. He also worked part-time for Evergreen FS in McLean County each spring. In the late 1960s, Ken began to evaluate his career options. He enjoyed the work at FS, but sitting behind a desk wasn’t his cup of tea. In 1970, Ken bought into the farm and threw himself into producing pork, beef, corn and soybeans.
With Ken settled in on the farm and Becky working as a reading specialist at the local school district, the two found time to start a family. Their son, Rick, was born in 1977. Shortly thereafter, they had a daughter, Alicia, who was followed by their youngest son, Erik.
Throughout his life, Ken’s ability to always handle another iron in the fire has served him well. It’s led to key appointments on multiple community and agriculture advisory boards. It’s also kept his eyes open to new technology, which he enjoys bringing back to the farm. Ken adopted strip till on all his corn acres in the early 1990s. He began using variable rate technology in 1991.
Ken was named District II Director of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board in 1999 and has enjoyed leadership positions in the US Grains Council, Illinois Corn Opportunities, and NOVECTA during his tenure with the association. His colleagues at IL Corn know Ken to be a thoughtful and dedicated leader, as well as a tried and true friend.
Ken’s commitment to farming, family, community and his enterprising nature make him the quintessential Master Farmer.