Farm Progress

A CMF participant reflects on the lessons he learned as the program celebrates the outgoing Class of 2017 and welcomes the new Class of 2019.

Jill Loehr, Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

July 6, 2017

3 Min Read
MENTORSHIP: The Cultivating Master Farmers program gives young farmers an opportunity to seek advice from Master Farmers.

Where can young farmers find mentors who have been there, done that? Cultivating Master Farmers is a unique mentoring program that connects young farmers with folks who have been through it all and are willing to share their sage advice: Prairie Farmer Master Farmers.

CMF will celebrate the outgoing Class of 2017 and welcome the new Class of 2019 on July 19.

“It is important to have Master Farmer mentors because they have been in our shoes,” says Chad Bell, Class of 2017. “They were young and trying to get their feet on the ground at one time. Fast-forward and they have become excellent, well-respected farmers within their communities. Not everyone got to where they are today by taking the same path, so it is an excellent opportunity for us to learn what it takes.”

The 23 young farmers graduating this year will take new ideas, experiences and connections back to their operations. The CMF experience for outgoing members may be over, but the relationships and lessons will stay with them.

“One of the topics that stood out to me was land acquisition,” Bell explains. “As someone whose family has primarily acquired land through purchasing farms, it was extremely interesting to learn from other farmers about renting land.”

The CMF program covers topics like financials and succession planning. Speakers lead the discussions, but the real value is the one-on-one conversations between the young farmers and Master Farmers.

“There were a lot of conversations outside of the meeting times that were just as valuable as those at the meetings,” Bell adds. 


CONNECTIONS: “My biggest takeaway was the relationships built with the other young farmers as well as the Master Farmers,” says Chad Bell, Cultivating Master Farmers Class of 2017.

The CMF program is sponsored by 1st Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit Illinois, Growmark, Illinois Farm Bureau, Monsanto and Prairie Farmer.

The inaugural meeting for the Class of 2019 will be held July 19 at Farm Credit Illinois in Mahomet.

Class of 2017

Young Farmers
Chad and Brittany Bell, Viola
Dave and Tara Bohm, Sheffield
Mike and Mandy Briggs, Fisher
Ben and Abby Briggs, Stonington
Alan Buckner, Martinsville
Luke and Jessica Crawford, Arenzville
Matthew DeSutter, Woodhull
Ethan Engele, Nashville
Jared and Lori Gregg, Cerro Gordo
Christopher and Karen Jones, Benson
Mike and Melissa Litchfield, Seymour
Brett and Krista Swanson, Oneida
Justin and Alison Weber, Geneseo

Master Farmers
Ron and Karen Bremmer, Pearl City
Bill and Sandy Christ, Metamora
Linnea and Joel Kooistra, Woodstock
Tim and Delreen Lenz, Strasburg
Dan and Mary Meinhart, Montrose
Russ and Marilyn Rosenboom, Clifton
Don and Karen Schrader, Waterloo
Time and Roxy Seifert, Auburn
Jim and Luann Shaeffer, Dixon

Class of 2019

Young Farmers
Tony and Amber Baird, Martinsville
Brad and Hilary Boelens, Cambridge
Drew and Adrienne DeSutter, New Windsor
Stephen Grace, Urbana
Jeff and Katie Grady, Port Byron
Mitchell Hinds, Mount Pulaski
Kate Huffman, Kewanee
John and Megan Klemm, Waynesville
Donna and Cameron Klostermann, Sheffield
Jason and Laura Pitcher, Montrose
Jamin and Whitney Ringger, Gridley
Jason and Erin Watson, Villa Grove
Josh and Sarah Wurmnest, Sibley

Master Farmers
Ron and Karen Bremmer, Pearl City
Bill and Sandy Christ, Metamora
Reggie and Norma Jean Dowell, Greenview
Tracy and Beth Jones, Kirkland
Ron and Julie Lawfer, Kent
Tim and Delreen Lenz, Strasburg
Russ and Marilyn Rosenboom, Clifton
Time and Roxy Seifert, Auburn
Jim and Luann Shaeffer, Dixon


About the Author(s)

Jill Loehr

Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer, Loehr

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