Articles

    Two Chicago Farmers members cited by their professional organizations

    Chicago Farmers members Ray Brownfield’s and Jason J. Lestina’s expertise in land management recently garnered them well deserved recognition from their professional field. Both men are with Land Pro LLC in Oswego, Illinois.

    Ray Brownfield, ALC
    Receives the Realtors® Land Institute's
    Most Esteemed 2019 RLI Leadership Award

    Ray, an accredited farm manager and accredited land consultant (ALC) with Land Pro, received the 2019 Robert C. Meeks, ALC, Distinguished Service Award as part of Realtors Land Institute’s (RLI) Leadership Awards Program, according to a Land Pro news release. Named for dedicated, long-time ALC Robert C. Meeks, the award is presented to an ALC in recognition of their long-term commitment and service to fellow members, the land profession and the community.

    Ray received the award during RLI’s Virtual National Land Conference (NLC20) on March 30 with land professionals from throughout the United States watching online. The presentation was made by 2020 National President Kyle Hansen, ALC, and RLI CEO Aubrie Kobernus, MBA, RCE. Four additional RLI members also received awards through the esteemed Realtors Institute Leadership Awards Program, the press release noted. All award recipients are nominated and selected by their peers.

    “To receive this award from my peers is a humbling honor. It came as a complete surprise from RLI, whose professional members all distinguish themselves every day by providing the highest level of service to their clients,” said Ray upon receiving the award.

    Aubrie Kobemus added, “The RLI Leadership Awards recognize the land professionals most dedicated to serving our organization and our industry. They are truly the best of the best in the business as proven by their service and contributions, and we could not be more proud to have them as a part of RLI.”

    Jason J. Lestina 
    Receives the Realtors® Land Institute's
    Prestigious Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation

    The press release also related that the RLI announced that Jason, a licensed real estate broker and Accredited Farm Manager with Land Pro, received the Accredited Land Consultant designation on March 30. According to the release, “Jason is now among the most dedicated land professionals from around the globe, joining an elite group of over 500 land specialists who hold the designation across the globe, and one of 18 individuals in the United States that hold both the Accredited Land Consultant and the Accredited Farm Manager designations.”

    Jason said, “I am honored to have received the ALC designation from the institute. I look forward to utilizing the knowledge and expertise I obtained to better assist my clients with their land real estate needs.”

    The release noted that in addition to subscribing to the Realtors Code of Ethics, ALCs support the high standards of conduct and experience that directly relate to their specialty. As an ALC, Jason has access to the best industry knowledge, an unprecedented network of fellow land professionals, and a variety of resources to help best serve his clients.

    Through RLI’s Land University (LANDU), Jason will gain expertise through an unparalleled land real estate education program that offers top-notch educational courses and webinars for land professionals, according to the release. The release noted that land is a unique real estate specialty that requires the kind of specialized professional education that can be found at RLI’s LANDU.

    TCF’s annual election names 2019-2020 officers and directors

    Among the officers and directors for the 2019-2020 year are, standing, from left, Barbara Clark, past president; Jennifer Filipiak, director; David Oppedahl, director; Jamie Cox, director; and Sarah Heck, director. Seated are Andy Holstine, vice president, left, and Alan Gunn, treasurer, right.

    Election of officers and directors was held during The Chicago Farmers’ annual meeting on May 13, 2019 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Officers for the 2019-2020 year are Mark Thorndyke, president; Andrew Holstine, vice-president; Barbara Clark, past president; Kay Whitlock, secretary; and Alan Gunn, treasurer.

    The directors are:

    Serving the first year of first two-year term:

    • Jami Cox
    • Jennifer Filipiak
    • David Oppedahl


    Serving the second year of first two-year term:

    • Sarah Heck
    • Ryan Tracy


    Serving the second year of second two year term:

    • Landon Frye

    Martin family builds on its stewardship of the land

    Chicago Farmers Member and past president Jeff Martin has long been an advocate of planting techniques that contribute to soil health. His sons, Derek and Doug, are following suit. This excerpt from a recent article posted on the AgWeb, which was written by Chris Bennett, Farm Journal Technology and Issues editor, gives one an idea of Derek Martin’s and his family’s commitment to sustainability, decreased erosion, healthy soil, and increased yields.

    Derek Martin steps off a tractor and walks across rich, black soil teeming with life. He moves out of the field and passes between machine shed doors, pulls up a stool beside a vat filled with a biological brew, and peers into the lens tube of a microscope. With the conviction of a soil health evangelist, Martin, alongside his brother, Doug, and father, Jeff, has transformed a 6,000-acre operation from an input-guzzling leviathan to a profit-per-acre force: “Over the last 100 years our soils have been fed a strict, constant diet of NPK. That’s like a human eating a Big Mac over and over and expecting to be healthy.”

    To learn more, go to https://www.agweb.com/article/illinois-farmer-paves-road-to-profit-with-soil-health/

    Denise Faris, Chicago Farmers Editor

    Colleen Callahan named director of natural resources

    Colleen Callahan, Chicago Farmers’ member and past TCF president, was named director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources by Governor J.B. Pritzker. Callahan was president of The Chicago Farmers from 2008-2010. 

    “I appreciate the opportunity to work again in public service.  It’s exciting to be a part of working together to help bring change to people and places,” said Callahan.

    According to the PrairieFarmer website, Callahan spent 32 years as a Peoria-area farm broadcaster and served as Illinois director of Rural Development during the Obama administration from 2009 to 2016. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is staffed by more than 1,000 people, and it oversees 35,000 acres of DNR-owned farmland. DNR is responsible for state parks, fishing and game law enforcement, coal mine regulations and research into soil, water and minerals.

    The PrairieFarmer also noted that Callahan co-chaired Pritzker’s Agricultural and Rural Development transition team with John Sullivan, who was appointed director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

    Callahan told the PrairieFarmer that when she returned a recent phone call from the governor he answered right away and said, “You called me governor. I’d like to call you Madam Secretary. I’d like to ask you to lead our Department of Natural Resources.” Callahan said, “I accepted.”

    The PrairieFarmer website went on to say that Callahan said her first mission on the job will be to ask questions and learn all she can about a department that has, much like the Agriculture Department, been underfunded and suffered a loss of employees. 

    According to Callahan’s website, she grew up on a purebred Hampshire hog, Angus cattle and grain farm near Milford, Illinois. While attending Milford High School she took agricultural classes, but was not permitted to be a member of the National FFA Organization because women were not admitted into FFA until after her high school graduation. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications from the University of Illinois, Colleen became the first woman Agribusiness Director for WMBD Radio and TV in Peoria. After 30 years there, Colleen started her own communications firm. She continued farm broadcasting at WGFA Radio in Watseka, IL, until April, 2010.