You won’t want to miss our Convention Speaker, Philip Nelson. Nelson is a farmer, speaker, entrepreneur and agriculture leader. He and his wife, Carmen, live in Senaca with their sons, Kendall and Kyle and daughter, Rachel. Philip operates a fourth-generation grain and livestock farm near Seneca and has served as Illinois Director of Agriculture as well as the 14th president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. Prior to his election as IFB president, Philip served as Vice President of the IFB from 1999-2003. He was elected to the American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors and served as chair of the AFBF Trade Advisory Committee from 2009-2011. Philip will be the keynote speaker for the Saturday morning breakfast sharing “How to navigate change in this changing environment.” He has first-hand knowledge of what makes a successful county fair. His youngest son, Kyle, recently showed the champion Shorthorn female at the Sandwich (DeKalb) fair. “I started showing as a kid,” said Philip. “Our home fair was the LaSalle County 4-H Show. That’s where I learned discipline and how to take care of animals. Now, my kids are doing the same. I grew up in the county fair crowds. My parents installed the work ethic in our dairy farm. County fairs were our vacation. There were six of us kids and we are all involved in agriculture, a result of the lessons and love we had for county fairs. Back then, we use to sleep on a cot behind our animals, then at the State Fair, we got to stay in the dorms. I have a lot of fond memories of county fairs.” Philip has been very active in community and agricultural organizations throughout his career. He was a member of the Milton Pope School board for 12 years, serving as President for 11 years. He also served as President of the Illinois Soybean Association form 1989-1991,; President of LaSalle County Farm Bureau, 1993-1999; vice president of the American Soybean Association from 1993-1994 and chairman of AFBF’s Swine Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2000.
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