ICGA RECOGNIZES INDUSTRY LEADERS

Dec, 17, 2019  |  Today's News |  ICGA

The Illinois Corn Growers Association awarded several industry leaders during the annual meeting November 26, 2019 in Bloomington. The day was filled with intriguing speakers, thought provoking key messages and camaraderie throughout the membership.

 

I encourage you to make plans for a trip to Bloomington next year for the annual meeting to meet other corn farmers, hear dynamic speakers and share in our industry’s success.

 

Short biographies and personalized comments about each person can be found throughout the article.

 

 

Jim Robbins: Jim Robbins of Peotone, IL is the recipient of the Illinois Corn Growers Association’s (ICGA) top award, presented at the organization’s annual meeting on November 26, 2019 at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington.

 

The World of Corn Award goes to individuals, organizations or businesses for making significant contributions to the corn industry. The special award, now in its 29th year, was created to recognize the global importance of corn, and specifically honor individual pacesetters that have made Illinois a leader in the corn industry.

 

“Jim Robbins has given a lot of his time to this organization representing Illinois corn farmers locally and across the world. He deserves to be recognized for his dedication to the industry,” said Ted Mottaz, family farmer and ICGA President. 

 

Robbins represented District 1 as a director from 2003-2010 and served as the secretary in 2009 and treasurer in 2010. He was on the NCGA Research and Development Action Team in 2007, Production and Stewardship Action Team in 2009, Grower Services Action Team in 2010 and a Representative to USAPEEC in 2010. Jim is also interested in the global markets. He has hosted international visitors to his farm and has travelled internationally to investigate new opportunities.

 

Robbins is very conservation minded, implementing practices that help protect his farm’s soil while increasing outputs. The practices include no-till soybeans and strip tilling corn. He enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program which is run by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. His farm received the northeastern Soil and Water District Farm Family Conservation award.

 

Recently, he began a three-year plan to hand down the operation of the farm to his nephew Michael Robbins. His goal is to give Michael the same opportunity that he had without being too involved. His own father was proactive in handing down the farm before retiring himself.

 

Outside of farming, Robbins is actively involved in his church and community. He served as Vice-President of the Peotone Educational Foundation and is a founding member of the Will County Farm Bureau Foundation. He enjoys being outside while bike riding and has made the Ag in the Classroom bike fundraiser an annual event.

 

“Jim is a dedicated board member who sees the value in nurturing relationships and leaving things better off for those that come after him. His character is evident in events and meetings held throughout the organization,” said Mottaz.

 

Jim Robbins farms in Peotone with his wife Pam who operates the auger cart during harvest. She is also a nursing instructor and health-care advocate.

 

Bruce Kettler: Bruce Kettler received the group’s top award, presented November 26, 2019 at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington.

 

The World of Corn Award goes to individuals, organizations or businesses for making significant contributions to the corn industry. The special award, now in its 29th year, was created to recognize the global importance of corn, and specifically honor individual pacesetters that have made Illinois a leader in the corn industry.

 

Bruce is the Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture as of January 2018 after service at Beck’s Hybrids. He also serves in the Indiana Economic Development Corporation as the Director of Agribusiness Development. Bruce previously served as the industry representative for the Illinois Corn Growers Association Board and worked for Beck’s Hybrids as the Director of Public Relations.

 

“Bruce Kettler has done remarkable work for us over the years,” said Ted Mottaz, Elmwood, IL farmer and ICGA President. “Because of Bruce, we made connections at Beck’s and helped build up our goals and establish relationships. This connection has benefitted the corn industry overall.”

 

He grew up in Ohio and served as the Ohio FFA President as well as the Vice-President for National FFA. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from Ohio State University.

 

Along with his involvement in Agriculture, he is also active in the community. He serves on the Ohio State University President’s Alumni Advisory Council, is a member of the Board of Trustees for Riverview Health in Hamilton County, Indiana and formerly served on the board for Hamilton County’s Economic Development Corporation. Bruce also serves as the industry representative for the Illinois Corn Growers Board.

 

“After serving on our board, Indiana Department of Agriculture could not be getting a better director,” said Mottaz.

 

Bruce and his wife Tammy reside in Indiana.

 

Matt Boucher: Matt Boucher, a corn farmer from Dwight, IL, was honored by the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) at their annual meeting on November 26, 2019 at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington.

 

Boucher owns and operates a 4th generation family farm that grows corn, soybean, wheat and cover crops. The main goal of the operation is to make a living off the land in a sustainable manner, while caring for the environment all while ensuring success for future generations. It means a lot to Boucher to leave the farm in better shape than when he got it. He makes the most of what he has without asking the ground to do more than what it’s capable of. According to his farm’s media page, even during a difficult year he was quick to point out cover crops still needed to be planted.

 

Boucher is active on social media and works closely with the Illinois Farm Families projects. He has written several blog posts for the site, whose main goal is to encourage conversations with the public about how farming works.

 

While concerned about the public’s perception of farming, he also wants to help other farmers succeed with their conservation efforts. A division of the farm is also called Potential Ag. Through this service he provides farmers with seeds, cover crop information and precision planting equipment.

 

“Matt is dedicated to preserving his farm for future generations and it is evident by the actions he takes on his operation,” said Ted Mottaz, President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Elmwood, IL farmer. “He also is not hesitant to share what he is doing with the public. It has been an honor working with Matt over the years.”

 

Boucher lives with his wife Heather and three children in Dwight, IL

 

Betsy Jibben: The Illinois Corn Growers Association’s 2019 Excellence in Media Award was given to Betsy Jibben, a national reporter of the syndicated programs AgDay and U.S. Farm Report, at the ICGA Annual Meeting today in Bloomington.  The award is given each year to an individual who promotes Illinois agriculture and, specifically, Illinois corn and corn farmers, through their coverage in traditional media or through their engagement on social media.

 

“We are happy to offer this recognition to Betsy Jibben,” said ICGA President Ted Mottaz and Elmwood, IL farmer.  “We have been very pleased with Betsy’s coverage of topics important to agriculture. I look forward to watching her reports.”

 

“Betsy is always quick to respond to news from the Illinois Corn Growers Association. When she visits farmers in Illinois to get them on-camera, she is respectful of their time and makes them feel comfortable while she interviews them. TV can be pretty intimidating, but we’ve heard from our members that Betsy always puts them at ease,” Mottaz added.

 

Jibben graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. She now travels across the country and covers different agricultural topics such as policy, markets and features. She grew up in South Dakota where her parents grow row crops and run a cow-calf operation. She currently resides in Indiana.

 

Coleman Jones: Coleman Jones received the ethanol award from the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) at the group’s annual meeting on November 26, 2019 at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington.

 

Jones is a Fuels Technical Fellow for General Motors in North America. He focuses on petroleum and bio derived fuels, specifically properties, manufacturing processes, costs and interactions with vehicles. He supports GM engineering and public policy worldwide on fuel issues. He is the co-chair of the Ag-Auto-Ethanol workgroup which works to improve the use of high-octane low carbon fuels for vehicles. He is also the chair of the American Society for Testing Materials gasoline. Jones received this award for his work on the Ag Auto Ethanol alliance

 

“It has been a pleasure working with Coleman on ways to incorporate higher octane into the fuel in our vehicles,” said Ted Mottaz, President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Elmwood, IL farmer. “He works hard on bringing high-octane low carbon fuels to Ag-Auto-Ethanol and I am eager to see his work pay off in the next couple years.”

 

Previously, Dr. Jones was a Biofuel Implementation Manager where he led the rollout of the GM FlexFuel Vehicle fleet culminating in 50% of US vehicle sales being flex fuel vehicles in 2012. He has also been a manager of fuels and lubricants for GM Powertrain. After completing his degrees in chemical engineering and materials science, his first GM position was at the Powertrain Advanced Materials Development Center.

 

 

We are proud as an organization to work with so many dedicated and passionate individuals within the agriculture and biofuel industries. Congratulations to those mentioned above!

 

Photo: Bruce Kettler left and Jim Robbins right