Bloomington, IL – The Illinois Corn Growers Association’s 2017 Excellence in Media Award was given to Kent Blunier, a farmer from Forrest, IL, at the ICGA Annual Meeting on November 21, 2017, at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Normal. 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 their actions and engagement on social media.
Blunier is recognized this year for his creation of the “Farm Hats” Facebook group.
“Kent really seized on an idea and an opportunity with Farm Hats,” said Justin Durdan, ICGA President and Utica, IL farmer. “He showed ingenuity getting this group off the ground and has continued to build upon the idea, making it a valuable place for farmers to talk to each other and for non-farmers to get a true understanding of day-to-day life on the farm.”
Farm Hats is a public Facebook group with over 10,700 members from all over the world. The idea for the group began as Kent considered the many hats farmers wear throughout the day and the years. He began the group for farmers to share “felfies,” (farmer selfies) and to comment about their daily hats and activities.
The benefits to the ag community are considerable. Many farmers have invited their land owners and neighbors to be a part of the group to see what farmers do every day and understand farmer concerns. Farm Hats farmers help each other troubleshoot equipment, share ideas about how to navigate difficult farming situations, and even buy, sell and trade equipment and tools. Most importantly, the group discusses current events that impact agriculture such as trade, environmental regulations, best management practices, tax laws, and more.
Blunier and his wife Lindsey farm in Forrest, IL with their son Reed.