Callahan honored for ag service

Illinois DNR Director Colleen Callahan accepts the Outstanding Service to Agriculture award from Rob Woodrow, AFM, representing the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, was honored during the 2021 annual meeting of the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers by being named the 2021 recipient of the organization’s Outstanding Service to Agriculture award.

Making the presentation was Rob Woodrow, AFM, immediate past president of the Society.

“There have been some broadcasters who have received this award since it was started in 1941,” Woodrow stated. “But none with the breadth of a lifelong commitment to the state’s farmers and agriculture in general. She lives and breathes our agriculture and is obviously very proud of it.”

Woodrow noted that Callahan graduated from the University of Illinois in 1973 and went to work as a farm broadcaster and agribusiness reporter. She worked at WMBD-AM and television and WGFA. She was also the first female to be named Farm Broadcaster of the Year by the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in 1999 and was named to that group’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

In 2009, she was tapped by the Obama Administration to serve as the Illinois State Director of Rural Development and in 2019 was named to her current post as director of the Illinois DNR. She and her husband, Dick Burns, operate a cattle farm just east of Kickapoo.

The Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers was founded in 1928 and is the largest of the 28 state organizations in the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. The Illinois Chapter is best known regionally for producing the annual Illinois Land Values Conference and the Illinois Land Values and Lease Trends Report. The group currently has 244 members statewide.

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