Next best thing: New Farm Bureau membership offers chance to stay engaged

Professional Membership classification allows Kankakee County farm manager to connect with farmers and consumers in his area.

Kankakee County Farm Bureau Young Leaders at the 2018 Kankakee County Fair 4-H Ag Olympics. Pictured from left, Tim Yohnka, Andrew Yohnka, Rob Warmbir, Jared Sikes and Jason Paarlberg. (Photo courtesy of Chad Miller, Kankakee County Farm Bureau manager)

By Rita Frazer

Rob Warmbir would rather be farming, but the Kankakee County farm manager and real estate professional says working in farm management and real estate is “a close second.”

Warmbir, who grew up on an 1,800-acre grain and livestock farm, recently decided to join Kankakee County Farm Bureau under the new Professional Member (PM) classification.

It’s allowed him to take advantage of networking and leadership opportunities available through Illinois Farm Bureau. It’s also given him the opportunity to engage with consumers.

“One of the biggest problems facing agriculture is the lack of education among people who are not involved in agriculture,” Warmbir told the RFD Radio Network®. “Farm Bureau does a lot of work to inform people and give them the correct information.”

The PM classification expands the options for Farm Bureau members who may not farm but have careers or close ties in the agriculture industry.

Kankakee County Farm Bureau currently has 12 PM members and hopes to grow the number in the future. It is also available in many other counties around the state.

Warmbir, who grew up on a farm in Iroquois County, has joined other members of his county Farm Bureau in activities such as the Kankakee Farmers Market, where members interact with consumers about local food production. Kankakee County Farm Bureau also provides volunteers to help the local food pantry and the Salvation Army.

“Rob has taken full advantage of the opportunities membership offers,” said Kankakee County Farm Bureau Manager Chad Miller. “He has participated in a lot of consumer-outreach activities to educate the non-farm public about modern agriculture.”

Kankakee County Farm Bureau will hold its 107th Annual Meeting on March 7.

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