The Illinois Corn Growers Association honored several innovators and pacesetters in the ag industry last week at its annual meeting on November 25. Each of these esteemed individuals have made significant commitments to Illinois corn farmers in their respective industries.
Receiving awards from ICGA Vice President Kenny Hartman were:
- World of Corn, goes to individuals, organizations or businesses for making significant contributions to the corn industry – Rollie Main, Altona, IL
Throughout his tenure with our early organization, Rollie served as Vice President and President of ICGA in addition to presiding over many meetings to begin both the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association.
During the early years of the association, the board concentrated on building membership and held several membership drives. Because of the almost non-existent status of the association, most of the ICGA’s actions were funded by Main and his colleagues.
- Environmental, recognizes individuals who exhibit commitment to conservation and environmental preservation. – Terry Taylor, Geff, IL
Taylor attended the University of Illinois and became interested in cover crops by growing up on a livestock farm with legumes, soil grains, and hay as vital components. In his experience, cover crops add to the organic component of the soil, increasing water holding capacity. He also finds that annual ryegrass in particular is an excellent scavenger for available nitrogen that is stored and released for the next crop and has an aggressive root system that breaks up the soil for corn roots to follow.
Taylor currently farms 300 acres of continuous no-till corn with cover crops, 1500 acres of continuous no-till corn/corn/soybeans with cover crops whenever possible, 600 acres of bottom ground no-till on ridges, and 320 acres of CRP and filter strips.
- Ethanol, seeks to celebrate the contributions of individuals that promote the ethanol industry. – Ray Defenbaugh, Big River Resources, LLC
Defenbaugh has exhibited his commitment to the industry by being involved in a myriad of ways. He is a founding member of Big River Resources, LLC, but remains involved in a number of other ag and ethanol boards.
He is board member and treasurer of Growth Energy, a member of the Renewable Fuels Association Executive Committee, and is active in American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), a national trade organization for ethanol. He is President of the Illinois Renewable Fuels Association and serves as Chairman of its Distillers Grain Committee as well as serving as Chairman of the Distillers Grain Committee for the Renewable Fuels Association.
In addition to grain-livestock farming and banking involvement, he has taught vocational agriculture in Illinois, as well as co-op and business plan development, and successful business techniques in the countries of Moldava and Russia. He holds a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, and has received Prairie Farmer’s Master Farmer award. Defenbaugh is involved with various civic organizations and conservation groups.
- Media, member of the media who promotes Illinois agriculture and specifically, Illinois corn and corn farmers, through their media coverage. – Vanessa Wetterling, Prairie Radio Communications
Wetterling began her career in radio in 1994 as a sports commentator for WMOI FM 97.7 in Monmouth, Illinois and has been the General Manager of several stations throughout the Prairie Radio Communications network. In 2008, she began developing the Prairie Ag Network with partnerships and affiliations that include Agri-Talk, Farm Journal Media, RFD Radio Network, Brownfield Ag Network, and The Ag Network. Wetterling is the host of 8 Ag Roundtables per year in Iowa and Illinois featuring a discussion of agriculture with a panel of industry leaders.
Wetterling grew up in Cabot, Arkansas and received a B.A. in Mass Communications from Monmouth College in 1996. She played basketball and soccer in college while working with the college radio station WMCR. Wetterling resides in Monmouth, Illinois with her husband Todd who is a coach and a teacher in the Monmouth-Roseville School District. They have two dogs, Georgia and Cowboy.