Congratulations Jim Raben, 2022 Master Farmer and Corn Farmer from Ridgway

Holly Spangler, Farm Progress

Mar 01, 2022  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  ICMB

Congratulations to Jim Raben, 2016-17 IL Corn Marketing Board Chairman, on being named a 2022 Prairie Farmer Master Farmer.


Darryl Brinkmann of Clinton County, Doug Schroeder of Champaign County, and Curt Zehr of Tazewell County rounded out the team of four recognized Illinois farmers. All are members of the IL Corn Growers Association and recognized leaders of our industry.


In addition to ICMB Chairman, Raben also served as the U.S. Grains Council Chairman in 2021 and was recognized for his service in February at the group’s meeting in South Carolina.


“I have had a big year!” said Raben excitedly. “I am so proud to be standing with other Illinois farmer leaders and I know that their passion for our industry matches my own. It’s an honor to be recognized in this way.”


“The Master Farmer award is Illinois agriculture’s lifetime achievement award,” says Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor. “These farmers are at the top of their game, and they’ve received this award because they raise good crops and even better families, and they’ve built their communities along the way.”


Prairie Farmer first offered the Master Farmer award 97 years ago, in 1925. Editors have continued the tradition annually since 1968, following a pause initially caused by the Depression. When Editor Clifford Gregory established the Master Farmer program, he felt the award would help give farm people a greater sense of “pride and permanence.” Nearly 350 Illinois producers have been inducted as Master Farmers or Honorary Master Farmers over the program’s history.


Candidates are nominated by farmers, neighbors, agribusiness leaders and farm organizations throughout the state. Judges for the 2022 awards were Karen Corrigan, McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics; Ed McMillan, former University of Illinois board of trustees; Linnea Kooistra, 2011 Master Farmer; Dwight Raab, First Midwest Bank agribusiness vice president; Steve Carson, Farm Credit Illinois; and Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor.