Tomorrow marks the last day of Meet a Farmer month. Throughout April, we’ve learned how farmers can take completely unique approaches to their careers but all still retain the honor of being called farmer. We thank them for all that they do to provide for their families and their communities.

Did you miss any this past month? Miss all of them? Well, here’s a summary of all the farmers we’ve looked at with links to their stories:




jodlowski_evanToday our farmer to meet is Evan Jodlowski. Evan is a first-generation crop and cattle farmer; however, he is no stranger to the agriculture industry. Evan graduated with a degree in Agronomy Management from Illinois State University in the spring of 2017.

Evan is a part of a new generation of young farmers. Per the 2012 United States Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture, 16 percent of farmers are under the age of 45. Evan, 22, and his business partner, Brent Henkel, farm outside of El Paso, IL under the farm name Henkel Family Farms.

Evan knew agriculture was in blood after growing up on a third-generation livestock farm. There were very little opportunities at the family farm, so he knew he had to take his farming dream elsewhere.

“I always knew I wanted to farm, however, I did not know how to start,” said Evan.

That large obstacle led Evan to pursue higher education at Illinois State University. Throughout college, Evan surrounded himself in farming by taking part-time jobs with local farmers and even going on a “Wheat Run”. Those experiences allowed him to learn even more about farming and the processes he needed to know to run a farm effectively.

4-25-172There was one job experience that allowed Evan to pursue his dream. Working with the Henkels, he was allowed the opportunity to not only work but take ownership of the farm and its projects. Evan explored cattle raising and agricultural technology, however, his passion grew for agronomy.

Evan decided to dig deeper into agronomy, through his studies at Illinois State University. Learning about styles of conservation, crop management, and farm safety grew his passion for farming. The knowledge he learned in his studies allowed Evan to become a smart, environmentally conscious, and productive producer of corn and soybeans.

After graduation, Evan started his farming career with Henkel Family Farms. He serves as the right-hand man for the farm and has a wide variety of tasks delegated to him on the farm. From planting corn, soybeans, and alfalfa in the spring to taking care of the cattle herd, Evan is busy ensuring the food he provides is safe for consumers to eat.

Many farmers wear many different “hats”, and Evan is no different. In addition to managing the farm, he runs a Wyffels Hybrids seed dealership. As a seed dealer, Evan advises farmers around the El Paso area on smart and productive choices on their seed. He provides service and data to help farmers make the best decision for their farm.

Evan is one of the many farmers who work hard to ensure that agriculture can provide for you and your family!


Cameron Jodlowski
Iowa State University


I had the chance to sit down with fourth generation family farmer Doug Goff who is a row crop and commercial livestock producer.  He may not be like your everyday American but he is a prime example of Illinois’ farm families.

Leslie Walker: How long have you been farming?

Doug Goff: I grew up on my family farm in Woodhull, Illinois and from there I moved to Hopedale, Illinois and have been farming fu=-ll time for the past 24 years.

Walker: What made you decide to farm?

Doug Goff: It is my family heritage, ever since I was young I knew that I wanted to be a part of the agriculture industry.  Producing food and other agriculture-based products for the country has made me feel like I was part of something bigger.

Walker: What is your day-to-day routine?

goff_dougGoff:  Every morning I wake up and go feed our livestock. After doing this I stop into Hopedale Agri-Center for a cup of coffee. Then depending on the season, I will either go plant, harvest or mow hay.

Walker: Would you consider yourself well versed in agriculture?

Doug Goff: I would, after graduating college I worked at corn belt F.S. in Wapella, then as a senior chemical sales representative for American Cyanamid and Cargill with territories of Woodford, Tazewell, and Logan counties.  After doing that for 12 years I was fortune enough to find a perfect location to raise my children on the farm north of Hopedale.

Walker: What is your favorite thing about farming?

Doug Goff: Apart from working with nature I find bailing hay to be favorite. I enjoy the interactions with my customers and I also like to see my young employees have a chance to grow within the agriculture industry. More specifically seeing them develop the hard work and dedication needed to excel in life.

Walker: In your opinion, is Illinois a prime example of farming for other states and why?

1.jpgDoug Goff: I would definitely say Illinois is a powerhouse within the industry being that we are ranked the largest soybean producer in the nation and the second in corn production. Illinois farm families are what truly exemplify what it means to work hard and show pride in what we do. As a farmer myself, it has been very rewarding to watch my children grow up on a farm and develop these qualities. My 22-year-old son Cole is currently pursuing a degree in Ag business from Illinois Community College with hopes to return home to the family farm. My 19-year-old daughter is attending Lake Land College pursuing a degree in Ag accounting. Both of my children have grown up exhibiting cattle at the local and national level and have remained heavily active on our family farm.

Leslie Walker
Lakeland Community College




Today our farmer to meet is Emden farmer Kent Kleinschmidt. Kleinschmidt previously served as the District 8 Director for the Illinois Corn Growers Association and later the District 8 Director for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. He also served as ICGA President and as ICMB Chairman.   Kleinschmidt sustained for three decades the farm that his grandfather began, which gave him the opportunity to pass the legacy on to his son. More than that, he is a steward of other farmers, the environment, and to those in his community.


Kleinschmidt recently received the prestigious and well-deserved honor of being named Master Farmer. Read the original article from Prairie Farmer magazine here.

Learn more about Kent and the methods he uses on his farm that have garnered him recognition and respect among the agriculture community.  Click the Conservation Story Map below to explore what he and other farmers do to promote nutrient loss.





Today our farmer to meet is Newman farmer Roger Sy. He is a 5th generation farmer and serves as the District 12 Director for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and serves as Secretary on the board. Sy has used conservation methods for over 3 decades. Some of the methods he currently uses are no-till planting and designated buffer strips. He also has taken interest in protecting pollinator habitats. Click the Conservation Story Map below to see what he does on his family farm.





Today our farmer to meet is Philo farmer Dirk Rice. Rice is a 5th generation farmer and serves as the District 6 Director for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and serves that Industrial Committee Chairman. Rice started farming in 1985 and continues to take care of the land his great-great-grandfather purchased in 1883. with his brother. Rice practices soil conservation, no-till farming, and cover crop planting. Click the Conservation Story Map below to see what he does on his family farm.






Today our farmer to meet is Minonk farmer Bill Leigh. Leigh currently serves as the District 4 Director for the Illinois Corn Growers Association and is the Exports Committee Chairman. Leigh operates his family’s 150+-year-old farm with his brother. Leigh is an advocate of water testing and has been a dedicated practitioner of best management practices. Click the Conservation Story Map below to see what he does on his family farm.