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Slideshow: Take a look at the faces and places at this year’s Celebrate Food and Ag Day, held Sept. 14 at the University of Illinois.

Holly Spangler, Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer

September 23, 2019

14 Slides

The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences held its annual football tailgate this year with a new name and a new location: Celebrate Food and Agriculture Day, held in the Stock Pavilion. Alumni, friends, faculty and staff gathered for breakfast and to tour the renovated Stock Pavilion on Sept. 14, before the Illini took on Eastern Michigan.

Among the agricultural highlights: the display of Broadus White Socks, the renowned (and well-preserved) grand champion steer from the 1923 International Livestock Exposition. After White Socks won the 1923 International, he was purchased by Sears and Roebuck and put on display in Chicago and New York City. He was then processed and preserved, and donated to the University of Illinois. After 40 years in the Natural History Building, White Socks was inexplicably shipped to basement of the English Building. It wasn’t until the 1987 renovation of the English Building that he was found.

Doug Parrett shared stories with visitors about the call he received that day in 1987, telling him they’d found a cow in the basement and “Did I want it?” He went to take a look at it and immediately recognized the famed champion steer. With animal sciences colleagues Tom Carr and Dick Cobb, the three men wheeled White Socks back to the Stock Pavilion. Reportedly, the steer had a halter on and Cobb made like he was leading him, telling students who asked to pet him, “Better not — he’s pretty wild.”

The steer was bred, owned and exhibited by A.A. Armstrong, Camargo, Ill., whose grandson, Brad Ware was at the event — and thrilled to finally see the steer in person. Plans are already underway to clean and preserve the steer.

Check out the slideshow to see a photo of White Socks and other highlights of the day.

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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