Steve Pigg, former Illinois Corn Growers Association President and Bushnell farmer, is the recipient of the Illinois Corn Growers Association's (ICGA) top award presented at the organization's annual meeting, which was held in conjunction with last week's Illinois Commodity Conference.
The World of Corn Award goes to individuals, organizations or businesses for making significant contributions to the corn industry. The special award, now in its 21st year, was created to recognize the global importance of corn, and specifically honor individual pacesetters that have made Illinois a leader in the corn industry.
"Steve's leadership during the early 2000s ushered in a new era of farm programs and safety nets," says ICGA president Jim Reed. "He encouraged the association in the mid 2000s to improve crop insurance and led the movement to revenue based safety nets in the 2008 Farm Bill."
Pigg served as President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association in 2003 and on the National Corn Growers Association Public Policy Action team from 2001 to 2007, serving as Chairman from 2004-2007. These years were critical times for both associations, as we focused our attention on the upcoming 2008 Farm Bill.
Lexington farmer Jim Kinsella won ICGA's 2011 Environmental Award. The award recognizes individuals who exhibit commitment to conservation and environmental preservation.
"Jim's dedication to the prevention of soil erosion in the state of Illinois is to be commended," adds Reed.
Kinsella utilized some trial and error as he returned home from college to farm with his dad and brought the no-till practice with him. Though the soybeans performed well, the corn in the tracks of the anhydrous tanks grew higher and were more successful than those in the rest of the field. From this observation, Kinsella's strip-till was born.
After perfecting the practice, Kinsella began to notice the interest of other neighboring farmers and taught them what he was learning. He took the initiative to offer a workshop on his own farm and educate other farmers about no-till and strip-till practices to preserve the soil. To date, Kinsella estimates that about 90,000 farmers have come to his workshops.
Glenn Poshard was recognized by ICGA for his work in support of the ethanol industry. He was presented with the Ethanol Award which seeks to celebrate the contributions of individuals that promote the ethanol industry.
Poshard has spent over forty years in public service, the latter of which he has served as President of Southern Illinois University. In that capacity, Poshard has been able to support the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center in Edwardsville ensuring that the center continues to receive funds for research and that it remains a hub for corn-based ethanol knowledge. At other times in his public service history, he has been able to offer legislative support to the corn-based ethanol industry, for which Illinois corn farmers are grateful.
University of Illinois researcher Munir Cheryan also received ICGA's Ethanol Award.
"Dr. Cheryan has provided invaluable assistance to IL Corn for more than 20 years, making ethanol a more marketable product with the creation of high-value coproducts," Reed adds.
Thanks to Dr. Cheryan, five patents on the COPE process have been licensed to Prairie Gold Inc. for the production of high-value coproducts in corn-based ethanol plants. These include zein protein that can be used as a substitute for films and plastics, and a unique edible corn oil that, unlike today's commercial oil, is red-colored containing health-promoting components.
The Illinois Corn Growers Association's 2011 Media Award was presented to Josh Flint, Editor of Prairie Farmer.
"We welcome the opportunity to honor someone who values our industry, loves our farmers, and has spent a lifetime serving both," notes Reed. "Josh Flint is a valued member of the Illinois ag media. Today, we formally recognize him for his dedication to our industry."
As Editor of Prairie Farmer, Josh oversees not only content of the magazine, but also Prairie Farmer's Master Farmer program, a highly coveted honor within the state.
"I've been covering Illinois agriculture for over three years now," Josh says. "I've learned Illinois farmers are some of the most honest, hard-working people in the world. I only wish the rest of our state's population clung to the ideals and work ethic held in such high esteem by our farm families.