30 Days of Farms & Families: The Buhrows

My Generation

Day 22: Allyn and Amy Buhrow raise corn, kids and more near Ashton.

Published on: November 22, 2011

I hardly know where to start with Allyn and Amy Buhrow. I met Allyn in college and I think Amy and I were separated at birth. The end.

Oh wait! There's more. There's actually a lot more.

Back in college, Allyn and I were in a campus-wide student organization, two of a very small handful of ag students among many non-ag students, and we would typically share rides to meetings and exchange wry observations such as, "these people couldn't organize their way out of a shoebox." (Speaking strictly of the non-ag students, and I wish I were kidding, but no, I'm not.) I remember riding to one such meeting one night when Allyn very casually mentioned, "Yeah, I got engaged over the weekend." It was pointedly funny because he was so low-key about it. Girls are not exactly low-key about such things. And at that point, all I knew of his fiancé was that they'd dated since high school and she went to ISU.

Fast forward a few years. Allyn and my husband wound up on the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader committee together (notice a trend here?) and I finally got to meet Amy. Over the years, we've had babies together, we've vacationed together, we've hung out in the Young Leader suite at annual meeting together, we've swapped parenting advice and gardening tips and survived babies and jobs and careers and part-time careers and full-time farms. We've cooked together on vacations and swapped recipes and stayed over at each others' houses. Amy taught me to appreciate a good glass of wine. And to kickbox. (In the Young Leader suite. She has great form.) Amy is, in short, a marvel of energy and organization. And, she makes jam, professionally. And she works with Northern Illinois University College of Business. A marvel, no? I'm really not certain that she sleeps. We wish, very often, that we lived closer to one another.

For his part, Allyn has done everything and pretty much knows everybody in the state. He was a state FFA officer, he was chair of the Young Leader Committee, he's been through the Illinois Ag Leadership Program and he's eased into politics, getting himself elected to the Lee County board. 

Illinois farm family

Allyn and Amy farm with Allyn's parents, Craig and Margie, raising corn and soybeans near Ashton, where Allyn is also a Pioneer dealer. Allyn and Amy are parents to Brett, 9, and Andrea, 7. Andrea, incidentally, shares many, many characteristics with our very strong-willed, Type-A firstborn, Jenna (9). In fact, when we all got together last winter, it was as if Andrea had found her leader. Next step for the pair of them: world domination. Believe it.

It's not hard to imagine the Buhrow operation as one with goals. As Allyn says, "Continuous improvement is at the center of everything we do. We are always looking for ways to make our operation better the next crop year. And, we think finishing harvest before it snows is important."

See? Still with the wry jokes!

And at this point – Day 22 – it almost feels like I'm beating a dead horse to say it once again, but do you want to guess what worries them about agriculture today? That's right: "The influence on government regulations, by people who don’t understand our business."

But they're still hopeful. We all are; that's why we keep getting up every morning and doing what we do, and trying to explain what we do to the people who make the decisions.

"We really care about what we do and how we do it," Allyn says. "We live where we work. And, if it all works out, our kids and grandkids will, too."

30 Days of Farm & Families
Day 1: The Webels
Day 2: The Mies Family
Day 3: The Thomases
Day 4: The Stewarts
Day 5: The Weavers
Day 6: The Hawkinsons
Day 7: The Kortes
Day 8: The Walters
Day 9: The Schillings
Day 10: The Martins
Day 11: The Pratts
Day 12: The Bowmans
Day 13: The Pollards
Day 14: The Wachtels
Day 15: The Strodes
Day 16: The Buntings
Day 17: The Andras Family
Day 18: The Liefers
Day 19: The Purvis Family
Day 20: The Jones Family
Day 21: The Smiths