Local banks sponsor Agricultural Business Conference in Mendota


MENDOTA – First State Bank, Mendota, Pioneer State Bank, Earlville, and H.F. Gehant Banking Company of West Brooklyn announce a special conference for area farmers. The 21st Annual Community Bank Ag Conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30 at the Mendota Civic Center.

Starting the program will be hydroclimatologist Dr. Trent Ford. Ford is the current Illinois State Climatologist, being named to the position this past August. A native of Roanoke, Ford previously was an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Resources at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In addition to teaching courses on weather, climate, and society and hazardous weather at SIU, he received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to research heat wave predictability and to develop ways to use soil moisture data to improve drought monitoring. Ford is a graduate of Illinois State University and completed his Masters and PhD at Texas A&M University.

Following Ford will be Dean Durdan, general manager of Risk Management at ADM. A native of Streator, Durdan has served in several capacities at ADM including energy, merchandising, trading, and management. Prior to ADM, he worked as a grain department manager at Grainco FS. In his spare time, Durdan enjoys spending time with his family, sports, and working on the family farm near Streator. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agribusiness from Illinois State University.

The keynote speaker, back by popular demand, is Dr. Ron Hanson. Hanson is the Harlan Agribusiness Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska. His 46-year collegiate teaching career earned 31 university and national award recognitions. These honors include being the first Nebraska professor to receive the USDA Excellence in University Teaching Award, being named the Nebraska Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation, and selected as the University Educator of the Year. Hanson has been recognized by several farm organizations for his dedication and service to farm youth as well as farm families in rural America.

Raised on an Illinois family farm, Hanson earned his college degrees from Western Illinois University and the University of Illinois. He has counseled with Nebraska farm families for more than 40 years to help them resolve family conflicts and to improve family relations through better communications. Hanson’s most recent efforts have been directed at farm business ownership succession and the transfer of management control between generations. Through his publications and professional travels, Hanson is recognized as a keynote program speaker on the important topic of contingency planning. He focuses on keeping farms in the family and family members on their farms to continue a farming legacy for future generations.

Area farmers are encouraged to contact any of the listed financial institutions prior to Saturday, Jan. 25 to confirm reservations for the event. ADM Grain Company, Mendota and Holland & Sons, Inc., John Deere will serve as major co-sponsors of this event and will provide lunch for all those in attendance. First State Insurance will sponsor the morning coffee and donuts.

Door prizes are being provided by several area businesses including Earlville Farmers Coop; Sublette Farmers Elevator Company; West Brooklyn Farmers Coop; Troy Grove Coop; Meriden Grain - Pioneer Seed Sales; Seedlink, LLC; Mendota Mutual Ins. Co.; Crop Production Services - Compton; Leffelman and Associates, Inc.; Peter Vaessen - Vaessen Implement and Repair, Inc.; Michael Vaessen - Sublette Mechanical; Wipfli; First State Insurance; Rodney Rod - Pioneer Seed Sales; Northern Partners Coop; Maplehurst Farms; Beck Oil Company; R-Equipment Co.; Sublette Toy Show; IL Fire Store; Norton Appraisals; Guilfoyle Law Firm; Vaessen Bros. Chevrolet; Cantlin Law Firm; Hornung Tiling, Inc.; Country Village Meats; Illinois Valley Cellular; Prescott Bros. Inc. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & Ram; and Leone’s Polaris.

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