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Mayfield addresses IAAF

Motivational speaker Mark Mayfield talks to the IAAF in Springfield last weekend / CIFN photo.

SPRINGFIELD – Say it with humor and people will take the message home. That’s the belief of motivational speaker Mark Mayfield.

The farm boy from southeastern Kansas and former national FFA president acknowledges many involved in agriculture are traditionalists and will fight change more than anyone else.

“You can create change,” Mayfield told those attending last weekend’s convention of the Illinois Association of Ag Fairs in Springfield.

Mayfield used Southwest Airlines as an example of a successful company due to creative exercises used to make everyone’s world a little better. He recommends fairs adopt a questioning attitude and go into action.

“Experience new things – it opens up the mind. We’ve got to morph.”

A sense of creativity and humor are closely linked, according to Mayfield, who formerly taught high school agriculture and eventually lobbied for the industry. He now travels the country speaking to various agricultural groups.

More information can be found at and by signing up for his newsletter.

Also at the 109th annual IAAF convention, several Friend of County Fair awards were handed out. Winners included: Gale Cunningham who works in Champaign radio, Liz Hutchison of Carroll County, Kris Lowe of Clinton County, Butch Peters of Boone County and Karen Serrell of Adams County.

State Rep. Tom Bennett addressed the crowd during Saturday’s breakfast meeting, thanking the countless volunteers who make county fairs happen. He noted the major impact fairs have on the local economy. Bill Jennings, who serves on the IAAF legislative committee, reminded the audience that there are several new members of the Illinois legislature who aren’t familiar with ag and fairs.

“All of those clean slates need a message written on them,” Jennings said. “We need to be in contact.”

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