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Illinois Farm Bureau elects new president, vice president

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[December 16, 2013]  CHICAGO Illinois Farm Bureau delegates elected a new president and vice president at the organization's annual meeting Dec. 7-10 in Chicago.

Richard Guebert Jr., of Ellis Grove, was elected to a two-year term as IFB president. Guebert previously served as vice president of IFB for the last 10 years and has served as president of the Randolph County Farm Bureau.

"I'm looking forward to working with the board of not only Illinois Farm Bureau, but also Country Financial," Guebert said. "We'll continue (to) move Illinois agriculture forward, stay abreast of the emerging issues and get our points of view carried out."

Guebert said he felt government over-regulation, commodity prices and inability to complete a farm bill would be the main challenges facing Illinois farmers during the next few years.

"We need to find a way to engage our legislators so they can hear what we have to say and encourage them to do what they were elected to do," Guebert said. "We need a farm bill passed, we need response on RFS, we need good energy policy that will take care of this country going down the road, and we need to be fiscally responsible and financially stable, whether it's here in Illinois or in Washington, D.C. And we need to be part of those conversations with our legislators."

During his tenure as vice president, Guebert participated in trade missions to India, Poland, China and Cuba, and was appointed to the Taxpayer Action Board and the Governor's Export Advisory Council.

Guebert has a bachelor's degree in agriculture education, with a minor in animal science, from Southern Illinois University. Guebert and his wife, Nancy, and their son, Kyle, operate a corn, soybean and wheat farm in Randolph County.

Guebert replaces Philip Nelson, of Seneca, who served 10 years as IFB president. IFB has a tenure policy limiting officeholders to five consecutive two-year terms.

David Erickson, of Altona, was elected to a two-year term as IFB vice president. Erickson previously served as Illinois Soybean Association president, American Soybean Association president and Knox County Farm Bureau president.

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"This is exciting," Erickson said. "I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to the organization and the members we all represent. I'm excited about the opportunity to get further engaged in resolutions and issues with Illinois Farm Bureau. I've really enjoyed the opportunity to get across the state and meet more members during this campaign process and I can't wait to do it more."

Erickson said he's looking forward to continuing IFB's work on moving a five-year farm bill forward.

"I think our inability to reach a decision in a timely basis on the farm bill well, we as producers need to take part of the blame," Erickson said. "Perhaps we have been giving some mixed signals. I think, organizationally, Illinois Farm Bureau has been right on point and been consistent with what they do, but I think throughout the countryside we hear a mix of messaging in what is important to producers. It's clear we need risk management and it needs to be producer-friendly. Those key things are important."

Erickson is a graduate of Western Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in agricultural education. He is an active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Altona. He and his wife, Nancy, operate a corn and soybean farm that specializes in using no-till practices and site-specific technology. They have one son, Adam.

[Text from file received from Illinois Farm Bureau]

The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a nonprofit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 400,000, a voting membership of more than 82,000 and represents 3 out of 4 Illinois farmers.

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