BY TAMMIE SLOUP
Between the energy of the Young Leader newcomers and the knowledge and experience of longtime members, Aaron Mitchell says the program is in strong shape.
“I think we have a lot of strength,” said Mitchell, who was elected Young Leader Committee chairman during Illinois Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting.
Mitchell, a dairy farmer from Winnebago County, will take the reins from retired Chair Wayne Gehrke.
“It’s wonderful to be back here in Chicago being able to see everybody back together, and how strong of a Young Leader program we really have in this state,” he told RFD Radio Network. “From the Discussion Meet to all the other awards we do, it’s really quite inspiring to see what we are and it’s pretty exciting that I get to be the chair for next year.”
Mitchell grew up on a dairy farm, and participated in his first Discussion Meet while attending college at the University of Illinois. But it wasn’t exactly his idea — a past county chair informed Mitchell he would be a candidate.
With his father a Farm Bureau member and older brother a past county Young Leader chair, Mitchell joked he was always “dragged to stuff.”
But he realized quickly how educational and supportive Young Leaders and Farm Bureau can be for a young farmer. When the District 2 chair came up, he jumped at the chance to serve.
“This will be my fourth year and I’m going to be (committee) chair. I just grew through the committee and really saw the benefits of serving on this committee, interacting with all the other leaders from across the state,” he said. “And it’s just really a privilege to be able to do this.”
Positioning more members for leadership roles will be a priority for Mitchell.
Like his own foray into Young Leaders, the first step is usually the most difficult.
“Once you get them in that door, then they’ll be like, ‘OK, this isn’t so scary. I can do this.’ And hopefully, we can develop more and more leaders that will take on bigger roles in our organization,” he said.
Mitchell, who was the 2021 Young Leader Committee Vice Chair, also farms corn, soybeans and hay/forage, and has served as a senior adviser for the National Junior Holstein Association and on the Illinois Holstein Association Board of Directors.
The 2022 Young Leader Executive Committee also includes:
Vice Chair – Gracelynn Dale, Bureau County
Secretary – Gayle Baker, Warren County
Education & Recruitment Subcommittee Chair – Jenna Severs, Vermilion County
Achievement Subcommittee Chair – Katie King, Sangamon County
Governmental Affairs & Commodities Subcommittee Chair – Scott Brummel, Kendall County
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.