ICGA Celebrates Martin Barbre’s Service to Illinois Corn Farmers

Lindsay Mitchell

Nov 21, 2023  |  Today's News |  ICGA

Martin Barbre of Carmi, IL is the recipient of the IL Corn Growers Association’s (ICGA) top award, The World of Corn. ICGA leaders honored Martin for his service to Illinois corn farmers at the ICGA Annual Meeting on November 21 in Bloomington. 


martin barbreThe World of Corn Award goes to individuals, organizations, or businesses for making significant contributions to the corn industry. The special award, now in its 34th 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.


“I am proud to give this lifetime achievement award to my friend and neighbor, Martin Barbre,” said Matt Rush, family farmer and ICGA President.  “Martin is a farmer that has simply made himself available to Illinois corn farmers, built on the learning opportunities he was offered, and continued saying yes. As a result, he has accomplished many things, all of them focused on helping corn farmers in Illinois and in the U.S.”


Martin Barbre grew up on the family farm in Carmi, IL, graduated from Carmi Township High School, and received an Ag Business degree from Southeastern Illinois College. After returning to the farm, he eventually served more than ten years on the ICGA board and eight years on the National Corn Growers Association Board. He followed that with an appointment as Administrator of the USDA Risk Management Agency in April 2018 and served in that capacity until January 2021.


Barbre owns and operates Chestin Farms, LLC with his son Brandon in southern Illinois. The two are actively working towards Barbre’s retirement and Brandon’s opportunity to manage the farm in whole. Barbre credits his years of service and the ability to serve corn farmers to Brandon’s willingness to do more on the farm, take on more responsibility, and manage while Barbre was away.


Barbre also celebrates this honor with his wife, Gayla, and grown children Misty Gwaltney, Brandon Barbre, Courtney Thompson, Whitney Knight, and Shayle Knight.



“Martin has consistently given of his time, talents, and treasures to be available to the farmers of Illinois. He served just over eighteen years on the ICGA board and the National Corn Growers Association Board. And he didn’t just occupy a seat - he showed up, whenever asked, and gave everything he had to represent the farmers of Illinois and American agriculture well,” said Rush. “To cap this distinguished leadership career off, he led the RMA for three years, helping build a better crop insurance program. Martin Barbre shows up.”


Illinois corn farmers thank Barbre for his commitment to the industry.