Excellence in Ag Award

The Excellence in Ag Award recognizes young Farm Bureau members who are actively contributing and growing through their involvement in their county and Illinois Farm Bureaus. Participants are judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership abilities, and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. The ideal candidate(s) is an individual or couple who does not have most of their income subject to normal production risk.

The application period for the 2020 Excellence in Ag Award is not yet open.


The 2019 Excellence in Ag Award winners are Brett and Krista Swanson.

Brett and Krista Swanson of Knox County reside in Oneida, and since their marriage in 2010, their family has grown to include three daughters and one son. They raise corn and soybeans and are thrilled to have the opportunity to raise their children on the farm. In addition to farming, Brett and Krista also own and operate a seed dealership and Krista works as a researcher for the Gardner Agriculture Policy Program.

Their Farm Bureau involvement includes numerous leadership positions and participation in county, state, and national programs, including the Young Leader Discussion Meet, hosting a Farm to Fork Gala, serving on the county Farm Bureau board, and presenting at Farm Bureau conferences. Krista was also recognized by Illinois Farm Bureau as a Top County Young Leader Chair. Brett and Krista are graduates of the Cultivating Master Farmers program and Krista completed the American Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Communications Boot Camp. They are also actively engaged in their community through church involvement, serving as coordinators for the Oneida Sweet Corn Festival and various roles within their township. Congratulations to Brett and Krista on their accomplishments!

The 2019 Excellence in Ag Award Runners-up are Luke and Amanda Zwilling.

Luke and Amanda Zwilling of Champaign County reside in Dewey and have three children. After growing up on farms and focusing on their careers, they are in the process of transitioning into being partners in their family farm. In addition to the busy farm life, Luke works as an agricultural engineer and sustainability and integrations manager for Nutrien Ag Solutions, and Amanda is an agricultural test engineer for RhinoAg. They enjoy caring for two large gardens and raising chickens each year to provide food for themselves and their immediate families.

Their Farm Bureau activities include holding offices on their county Young Leader committee, serving on their county Farm Bureau board, and assisting with several committees. They are also actively engaged in volunteering with 4-H and FFA and their local food bank and are members of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

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