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View from the Cab: 20 under 40

By: Kent Casson

Congratulations to various younger ag professionals for being named to the second class of the “Illinois 20 under 40” program from the Illinois Soybean Association.

Winners for 2023 range from a corn and soybean farmer in Maroa to a cattle farmer in Flat Rock. The individuals are at the forefront of agriculture, demonstrating exemplary citizenship within their communities and serving as inspirations for their generation and ones to come. In addition to honoring family traditions, these winners also forge new paths while extending a helping hand to neighbors.

A panel of judges reviewed more than 70 applications from aspiring young farmers across the state. The individuals were nominated for their outstanding contributions and initiatives aimed at improving both their farming operations and the well-being of their communities.

“Enabling these future leaders to take charge and forge their own paths ensures a promising future,” notes Steve Pitstick, chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association.

Pitstick reminisces about his own experience as a young individual admiring others in the field. Today, he has the opportunity to occupy a similar position of influence.

This year’s 20 under 40 winners include:

Adam Holste of Altamont, Austin O’Neall of Le Roy, Cassandra Schleich of Monmouth, Chase Brown of Warrensburg, Cody White of Clinton, Daniel Elmer Grebner of Metamora, Ellen Rahn of Mount Carroll, Erick Kane of Ottawa, Jake Perino of Deer Grove, Nik Jakobs of Sterling, Jeffery Landers of Mendota, Jarod Stock of Beardstown, Justin Rahn of Mount Carroll, Kate Huffman of Galva, Kayla Gallagher of Mansfield, Rosalie Trump of Clare, Seth Lambert of Maroa, Thomas Titus of Elkhart, Thomas Weger of Flat Rock and Bill McDonnell of Ottawa.

Illinois Soybean Checkoff received valuable support from esteemed partner organizations including the Illinois beef Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, Illinois Grain & Feed Association and the Illinois Pork Producers. Asgrow and John Deere played significant roles as corporate sponsors of the program.

For more on the accomplishments of the 2023 Illinois 20 under 40 award winners, visit


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