If you are a customer of the Hometown Community Banks throughout Central Illinois, you likely enjoyed an ag appreciation breakfast in the past few months.
The divisions of Morton Community Bank hosted several farmer breakfasts since January in an area stretching from Roanoke to Fairbury and everywhere in between.
“It’s a mutual admiration society and it’s a good time,” said Gordon Honegger, the bank’s chairman emeritus, during an event in Fairbury this week.
Honegger said the banks have hosted the events this time of the year for about 20 years now – a sure sign spring isn’t far away. Honegger believes farmers are a great part of the local economy and his banks recognize that.
“Well, (the farm economy) is a little rocky right now but one thing about farmers: they’re always optimistic.”
Honegger has many ties to the Fairbury area, as his father started the feed mill in town after the old one burned down. Honegger recalls the 1951 fire when he lived three miles south of Forrest and was awakened by his dad.
“He said, ‘I see a big fire in the sky and I bet it’s our feed mill in Fairbury’ so we drove over to Fairbury in our pajamas and watched the fire.”
That’s when the Honeggers built what was then considered the most modern type of feed mill just outside of Fairbury. In its heyday, Honeggers had three feed mills, 500 dealers and a few airplanes.
You may recall the Big H Feed brands of “dairy popper,” “horse popper,” and “pig popper.”
Honegger said greeting people at this week’s Fairbury-Cropsey Community Bank ag breakfast was sort of like a reunion since his ran into some old buddies from “way back.”