BLOOMINGTON — Six McLean County residents were honored Thursday night at the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Awards Dinner at the Holiday Inn & Suites Bloomington-Airport.
Winners were Brent Lage, outstanding young farmer; Brian Loeffler, farmer of the year; Brian Brown, outstanding service to agriculture; Rachel Fulton, emerging leader in agriculture; Irvin Bane, outstanding conservationist; and Steve Cope, outstanding person in agribusiness.
Lage's award recognizes a farmer 40 or younger who has been actively involved in civic and community affairs to promote and improve agriculture. He is dedicated to implementing environmentally sustainable practices and works with his neighbors in learning and collaborating about farming practices. He also is Anchor Fire Department chief.
Loeffler's award recognizes a farmer actively involved in civic and community affairs to promote and improve agriculture. Loeffler is a third-generation farmer in Stanford who has a degree in agriculture economics from the University of Illinois. He is an alumnus of both 4-H and FFA, is an assistant coach for his children's sports teams and is an active member of the Knights of Columbus. He served in the agriculture leadership program from 1996 through 1998. He serves on the Danvers Farmers Elevator board, United Prairie board, and McLean County Farm Service Agency board.
Brown's award recognizes an individual for contributions to the cause of agriculture. Brown's 38-year career includes providing audit, accounting and consulting services to cooperatives and other agribusinesses. He was general manager of the Illinois Agricultural Auditing Association for 10 years.
Fulton's award recognizes a young professional, high school or college student engaged in non-production agriculture who improves agriculture through civic and community activities. She has worked for Compeer Financial for three years as a team leader of insurance services and is involved in the McLean County Farm Bureau's Young Leaders program.
Bane's award recognizes a person who has helped to advance the knowledge and practice of soil and water conservation. Cope's award recognizes a business person who has served to improve agriculture through civic and community activities.