Current Class

Meet the Class of 2018!

 

This group of 30 agricultural professionals represents a diverse mix of agricultural expertise – a unique characteristic of the IALF program. 21 members work in production agriculture at a farm each year, and learn leadership together with classmates who representative multinational, regional and statewide agricultural companies.

 

 

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Sean Arians

Sean Arians, 33, Normal, is a 4th generation farmer from Woodford County.  In addition to farming, Sean is the Field Marketing Manager of Agronomic Services for The Climate Corporation.  He is the Young Leader chair for the Woodford County Farm Bureau, serves on the Issues Advisory Committee for Technology for the American Farm Bureau Federation, and was honored as the winner of the AFBF National Discussion Meet.  He is also active in his church and is President of the ISU FarmHouse Fraternity Alumni Association.  Sean earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Illinois State University.

 

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Randy Barth

Randy Barth, 41, El Paso, is a 4th generation farmer from Woodford County.  He owns and operates Barth Farms, and also owns a custom grain vacuuming and trucking business.  An active community servant, Randy is currently Vice Chair of the Woodford County Farm Service Agency Committee and also serves on the El Paso Gridley School Board.  He has been a Board Member for the Woodford County Farm Bureau, and volunteered with the El Paso Fire Department and the Emergency Squad.  Randy earned his Associate in Applied Science in Agricultural Business Management from Illinois Central College.

 

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Aubrey (Freitag) Bastian

Aubrey (Freitag) Bastian, 33, Normal, is Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition at GROWMARK, Inc.  She was raised on the family livestock, corn and soybean farm, and also serves agriculture through the Women Changing the Face of Agriculture event of Illinois Agri-Women.  Aubrey currently serves as the Recruiting and Placement Champion for GROWMARK’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  She is an active member of Eastview Christian Church, and also maintains membership with the Society for Human Resources Management, where she earned her SHRM-SCP.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Northern Illinois University, where she also was honored with the Outstanding Women Student Award.

 

Berk Boehne

Berk Boehne

Berk Boehne, 37, Shabbona, owns and operates a family grain and livestock farm in DeKalb County that custom feeds 36,000 hogs each year.  He also owns and operates a custom manure application business and a grain, livestock, and freight trucking business.  Berk currently serves as Vice President of the DeKalb County Farm Bureau, while also sitting on the DeKalb County Foundation Board.  He volunteers with Ag in the Classroom, is active in the Shabbona UCC Church, and enjoys coaching his daughter’s t-ball and softball teams.  Berk earned his Associate in Applied Science in Diesel Power Technology from Kishwaukee College.

 

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Jennie Bunger

Jennie Bunger, 32, Ashton, is a Crop Insurance Associate with 1st Farm Credit Services.  She also works on the family dairy farm, Bungers Holsteins.  Her passion for agriculture has led her to volunteer with many local and state FFA events.  Jennie owns and operates JD Photography, and serves the FFA and the Ogle County Chamber of Commerce with her talents.  She is an alumna of CERES Agriculture Fraternity for Women and Alpha Zeta Honor Fraternity at Illinois State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Industry Management.

 

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Tasha Bunting

Tasha Bunting, 36, Emington, is Assistant Director of Commodities and Livestock for the Illinois Farm Bureau.  A co-owner of her family farm, JB Land and Livestock, LLC, she raises cattle and operates a custom hay operation and grain farm.  Raised on a Shorthorn cattle farm, Tasha has served as President of the American Junior Shorthorn Association.  She is very active in her community, volunteering with the Soil & Water Conservation District, the Morris Downtown Development Partnership, and the Livingston County 4H.  Tasha earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Millikin University.

 

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Rodney Connor

Rodney Connor, 36, Dwight, is the Origination Manager for FS Grain, LLC, where he is charged with coaching and teaching other grain originators.  Focusing on the betterment of his community, Rodney has served on several boards, including IMPACT Dwight, Dwight Youth Softball, and the Dwight Economic Development Council, and was involved in the merger of several community organizations to create the Dwight Economic Alliance.  Rodney has a Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Multimedia from Columbia College.

 

Kenin Eubank

Kenin Eubank

Kenin Eubank, 27, Bourbonnais, is a Senior Sales Specialist for Bayer CropScience.  In this role, he helps retailers build integrated offers for their growers to maximize on-farm yield efficiency and overall profitability.  Kenin has experience in the retail agriculture, seed, and crop protection sides of the business.  Growing up on the family grain and livestock farm in southeast Illinois, he enjoyed raising and showing purebred Hereford cattle, and is still active in the farm operation.  He is also active in the Illinois Hereford Association, Kankakee County Farm Bureau, and Rotary Club.  Kenin received his Bachelor of Science in Crop Sciences – Crop Agribusiness from the University of Illinois.

 

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Kristen Ewing

Kristen Ewing, 28, Rushville, works as a Research Manager for The Maschhoffs, LLC.  She was raised on the family farm, and began showing Shorthorn cattle at a young age.  Kristen was actively involved in the Illinois Junior Shorthorn Association, most recently serving as an advisor to the group.  Now she continues her service with the Illinois Shorthorn Association, the Illinois Angus Auxiliary, and the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO).  Kristen earned her Master of Animal Science from the University of Illinois.

 

Luke Frayley

Luke Fraley

Luke Fraley, 37, Kampsville, is a Regional Manager for Farm Credit Illinois, leading an office that serves customers across four southwestern Illinois counties.  He continues to be involved on the family farm, while also serving his community as President of the Calhoun Unit District 40 school board and as a board director for the Illinois Electric Coop.  Luke received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where he was involved with Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.

 

Jeremy Frerichs

Jeremy Frerichs, 40, Princeton, is the Plant Manager for Marquis Energy’s ethanol plant in Hennepin, with 17 years of cumulative experience in the corn milling and ethanol industries.  Since driving a tractor for the first time at age 8, he represents the 5th generation to remain involved on the family grain farm in Vermilion County.  Jeremy has enjoyed serving in his local church and the United Way, providing leadership for various fundraising endeavors and programs.  After graduating from Eastern Illinois University, Jeremy gained experience in several ethanol plants before earning his MBA from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management.

 

Logan Frye

Logan Frye

Logan Frye, 25, Decatur, serves as a Farm Manager / Associate Appraiser for First Illinois Ag Group.  He is also involved in the operation of his family’s diversified irrigated grain farm in Mason County.  A member of the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, Logan serves as the Young Professionals chair to boost young member engagement.  He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Macon County 4H and Extension Foundation, and is active in his local Lutheran Church.  Logan earned his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics – Farm Management from the University of Illinois.

 

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Carolyn Gehrke

Carolyn Gehrke, 26, Elgin, works on her family’s grain and hay farm and is co-owner and operator of The Pumpkin Wagon, a fall décor business.  She previously worked for Windhager Zentralheizung in Salzburg, Austria, and continues working with them as a freelance translator and consultant.  Carolyn completed a three-month agricultural exchange to Germany with IFYE and is active with Kane County Farm Bureau and Agriculture Future of America.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics – Policy, International Trade & Development from the University of Illinois, where she was awarded the Bronze Tablet.

 

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Jeffrey Hackman

Jeffrey Hackman, 32, Havana, is a 5th generation farmer in Mason County who grows corn, soybeans, popcorn, peas, and green beans, the majority of which are watered with center pivot irrigation.  He has recently served as Chair of the Mason County Young Ag Leaders and now is a Director for the Mason County Farm Bureau.  Jeffrey participated in the Cultivating Master Farmers Program and completed the Agriculture Leaders of Tomorrow program through the Illinois Farm Bureau.  He is also active in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, serving on the finance committee and currently as an elder.  Jeffrey received his Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

 

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Nicole Hasheider

Nicole Hasheider, 28, Belleville, is an Associate Director at Osborn Barr, where she serves as communications staff lead for the United Soybean Boards Supply Action Team.  She was raised on the family grain farm in southern Illinois and is involved in the St. Louis Agribusiness Club.  Nicole is a youth mentor through the YMCA Reach and Rise Mentoring Program.  Nicole attended the University of Illinois, where she earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Political Science, and recently completed an agronomy studies program through Purdue University.

 

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Jason Kieser

Jason Kieser, 26, Shirley, works with his family as Manager of Operations at Creekwood Farms and also owns Midwest Precision Technologies.  Through his precision agriculture company, he serves his local farming community through customer service related to technology and equipment.  He is actively involved with Midwest Food Bank of Bloomington, assisting with ministry trips to New York to distribute food to various homeless shelters.  Jason received his Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness from Illinois State University.

 

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Jacki Langlois

Jacki Langlois, 29, St. Louis, is the North American Seed Applied Solutions and Crop Protection Marketing Communications Manager for Monsanto Company.  She was raised on a family row crops and dairy goat farm in Grant Park and maintains membership in the Champaign County Farm Bureau.  Jacki is a Certified Crop Advisor and represents this peer group at Women Changing the Face of Agriculture.  She is also active with her local United Way and the Junior League of St. Louis.  Jacki earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois and her Master of Science in Cropping Systems & Nitrogen Management from Oklahoma State University.

 

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Joanna Litchfield

Joanna Litchfield, 32, Chicago, is Manager of Commodity Products at CME Group, where she is business owner of CBOT grain and oilseed futures and options contracts.  In this role, she interacts with farmers, commercial hedgers, brokers, investment bankers, asset managers and proprietary trading firms to ensure all market participants have the tools they need to effectively execute their business strategies.  She also volunteers with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago and the Working in the Schools (WITS) program.  Having learned the importance of an agricultural education while spending time on her grandparents’ farm in Central Illinois, Joanna received her Bachelor of Animal Science – Livestock Merchandising from Oklahoma State University.

 

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Katie (Wang) Mansouri

Katie (Wang) Mansouri, 30, Granite City, is a Field Service Representative with Prairie Farms Dairy, working within the McDonald’s Business Group account.  Outside of her professional ties, Katie is engaged in the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Red Shoe Society, a young professional’s group through RMHC.  An avid rock climber, she is also involved with The Beta Fund, which serves to protect outdoor resources in the Midwest for recreational purposes.  Katie is a graduate of Maryville University and earned her MBA from Saint Louis University.

 

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Wade Meteer

Wade Meteer, 35, Athens, is a Sales Representative for Syngenta Crop Protection and also continues to farm with his family in Menard County.  He previously served as a Certified Crop Advisor, Soy Envoy, and also on the Illinois State University Agriculture Alumni Association Board and the Agriculture Advisory Board for Lincoln Land Community College.  He is active with his local United Methodist church where he serves as chair of the advisory council, and Vice President of the men’s organization.  Wade earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Agribusiness from Illinois State University.

 

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Matt Murphy

Matt Murphy, 33, Highland, is a Senior Production Manager with The Maschhoffs, LLC.  In this role, Matt is responsible for the direct oversight of all terminal multiplication and genetic data collection operations.  Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, he became involved in agriculture during his time at the University of Illinois.  It was his appreciation for the agricultural community’s work ethic and dedication to meeting food production needs that led him to pursue his Bachelor of Science in Technical Systems Management, with a focus on Animal Sciences and Crop and Soil Management.  Matt has served with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and is a certified Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician.

 

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Dale Pitstick

Dale Pitstick, 31, Genoa, owns and operates a family grain farm, and also works with customers of Stine Seed and Precision Planting products.  He is active in his local community, currently serving as a director with the Kane County Farm Bureau and also with the Genoa Public Library.  He has previously given his time to the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Kane County Young Leaders as well as the State Young Leaders Committee and the Kane County Corn Growers.  Dale received his Associate in Applied Science in Agriculture Production and Management from Joliet Junior College.

 

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Jonathan Schneider

Jonathan Schneider, 32, Venedy, is an Asgrow/Dekalb District Sales Manager for Monsanto, a Certified Crop Advisor, and is also an integral contributor to his family’s diversified dairy, grain and hay operation.  His commitment to community service stems from his early and continued involvement in the Immanuel Lutheran Church of Okawville.  The reach of his engagement has extended to the Addieville Area Jaycees, where he has served in nearly every officer’s position and was recognized as “Outstanding Local President of the Year” by the Illinois Jaycees.  Jonathan attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Agribusiness Economics.

 

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Bob Schroeder

Bob Schroeder, 25, Mahomet, is the fifth generation to own and manage Schroeder Farms, a large corn, seed corn, and soybean farm that spans three counties.  He and his family have also personally installed more than one million feet of drainage pattern tile on their farmland.  Bob is a Farmer Advisor to the agricultural start-up Agrible, testing its products and providing feedback to represent the target farmer audience.  Bob attended the University of Illinois where he received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics and served as Student President of the ACES Agribusiness Club.

 

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Tim Stock

Tim Stock, 39, Monticello, is the Executive Vice President of the Macon County Farm Bureau, having earned the Farm Bureau Certified Manager designation in 2010.  Serving his community in many ways, Tim is active with the Rotary Club in Decatur, the Sangamon River Watershed Partnership, and Christ Lutheran Church of Monticello.  He has also held positions with the Macon County 4H and Extension Foundation Board and the St. Mary’s Hospital Advisory Council.  Tim is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where he was a member of the FarmHouse Fraternity and currently serves on the Alumni Association for the fraternity.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics – Marketing and Sales.

 

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Ryan Voorhees

Ryan Voorhees, 33, Washington, is a Crop Insurance Specialist for 1st Farm Credit Services, and continues to farm with his family on their diversified grain and livestock farm.  His family’s farm operation also includes a roadside market in the fall.  Ryan is active with the Illinois Farm Bureau, having served as a Director on the State Young Leader Committee, and currently as a Director on the Tazewell County Farm Bureau Board.  He also volunteers with the Midwest Food Bank and Washington Good Neighbor Days.  Ryan is a graduate of the University of Illinois, and earned his Master of Science in Agribusiness from Illinois State University.

 

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Tim Wolfe

Tim Wolfe, 41, Clinton, serves as the Retail President for HarBrand, Inc., a central Illinois agronomy company.  He also continues to be involved with agronomy recommendations for area farmers, and is following his father’s example in the agricultural and agronomy service business.  Tim has been a Certified Crop Advisor for sixteen years and recently received the designation of a 4R Nutrient Management Specialist.  He is a parishioner at St. John the Baptist Church and enjoys coaching area youth sports.  Tim earned his Associate Degree in Applied Science in Agri-Fertilizer Operations from Lincoln Land College, where he was an honor graduate of the Agricultural and Industrial Departments.

 

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Anna Ziegler

Anna Ziegler, 29, Normal, is the Assistant Manager of the McLean County Farm Bureau.  An active community member, she is the Chair of the Women Build Committee for Habitat for Humanity of McLean County and has assisted with construction and fundraising for several homes.  Anna was recognized as the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Emerging Leader in Agriculture in 2015.  Anna has been awarded an American FFA Degree and the University of Illinois Bronze Tablet.  She was raised on the family farm in Henderson County, which led her to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communication from the University of Illinois.

 

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Susanna Zimmerman

Susanna Zimmerman, 39, Decatur, is a Manager of State Government Relations for Archer Daniels Midland, and manages the company’s engagement in five states.  She is active in Grow Decatur, has served two terms on the Macon County Board, and was also involved in the County Republicans for several years prior.  In 2013, she was honored with the Women of Excellence Leona Bowman Governmental and Politics Award from the Decatur Family YMCA and the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois.  Susanna grew up on the family farm in Macon County, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Political Science, with honors, from Arizona State University.

 

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Clayton Zwilling

Clayton Zwilling, 26, Bloomington, is the Director of Marketplace Education and Development with Farm Credit Illinois.  He is actively involved with agricultural education at both the state and national levels, most recently organizing the National FFA Livestock Judging Contest.  Clay was raised on a small grain and purebred livestock operation in Mercer County, where he still plays an active role.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Agricultural Education from Oklahoma State University.  While at OSU, Clay was named an All-American Livestock Judge and was on the 2012 National Champion Livestock Judging team.  He also earned his Master of Science from Texas A & M University.