Monday, April 2, 2018

By Chad Bell
District 3
Young Leader Committee Member

Hello from District 3! My name is Chad Bell from Viola and I represent Stark, Whiteside, Rock Island, Henry, and Mercer Counties in northwest Illinois on the State Young Leader Committee.

For many of us, the farm is just one aspect of our busy lives. My life can be summed up into 4 “F’s,” which are family, farm, Farm Bureau, and FS, in no particular order. Balancing those F’s, sometimes all in the same day, can be quite the feat! In the last 4 months, I have been elected to the Gold Star FS and Mercer County Farm Bureau board of directors. I also opened a 2,400 head wean-finish hog barn. The new leadership roles and farm expansion has added extra workload to an already hectic schedule, but these are opportunities that presented themselves and I have a hard time saying “no!” Maybe that makes me a gluten for punishment, but I accept the challenge!

These new opportunities have challenged me to work on balancing the 4 F’s. Mid-morning Gold Star Board FS board meetings get me out of bed early for 5am hog chores. County Farm Bureau board meetings and Young Leader meetings may keep me out after the kids go to bed, or away from home for multiple days.  Two young children can be as unpredictable as the weather. My wife and I keep track of it all by having our iPhone calendars synced together. This allows us to see what we both have scheduled for the week and I can further manage my time. With the major farm expansion, I have also considered hiring out the more time consuming farm activities such as grain hauling. This will allow me to spend more time with the livestock, more time to complete odd farm jobs, and most importantly, spend time with my family.

As a young farmer, it is extremely important to take advantage of any opportunities that come. It is also critical to find a way to handle all of them! If you feel something is worth doing, you will find a way to make it work!