BLOOMINGTON – The McLean County Chamber of Commerce honored the best in local agriculture during its annual awards dinner at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Bloomington Thursday night.
The Outstanding Conservationist Award was presented to Bruce Thomas and recognizes a person who has helped to advance the knowledge and practice of soil and water conservation. This award is considered by the McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District.
“It’s just great living in McLean County and Illinois,” Thomas said.
Thomas is the treasurer of the local Pheasants Forever chapter, serving as treasurer. He was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
The Outstanding Young Farmer Award went to Tom King and recognizes a young farmer 40 and under who has been actively involved in civic and community affairs in an effort to promote and improve agriculture. This award is considered by the Ag Council.
“Thank you for the award,” King said. “I wish everybody a successful business year and successful year on the farm.”
The McLean County Farmer of the Year Award was presented to Roger Stoller and recognizes a farmer who has been actively involved in civic and community affairs in an effort to promote and improve agriculture. This award is considered by the McLean County Farm Bureau.
“There are a lot of you that should be standing up here,” Stoller told the crowd. “I’d like to encourage us all to think of our heritage and where we come from. The choices we make are so important.”
The Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award was given to Kevin Daugherty. It recognizes an individual from the McLean County area for contributions to the cause of agriculture in our community.
“I’m honored to work with such great people,” Daugherty stated.
Daugherty oversees the Illinois Ag in the Classroom program. He lives in LeRoy and has served on the school board there for the past decade. Daugherty is also active in his church and Habitat for Humanity.
The Outstanding Person in Agribusiness Award went to Rob Williamson and recognizes a business person who has served to improve agriculture through civic and community activities.
“I do appreciate it. Thank you,” Williamson said.
The Emerging Leader in Agriculture Award was presented to Eric Vanasdale of Country Financial. It recognizes a young professional high school, or college student engaged in non-production agriculture who has served to improve agriculture through civic and community activities.
Vanasdale works for Country Financial and helped organize a past drone conference at Heartland Community College.
“We’ve had a lot of great partners to get us where we are today,” Vanasdale said.
The event included a social hour and dinner prior to the award ceremony.