Carroll County Young Leaders have taken a bite out of food insecurity with donations to local food pantries the past two decades.

During the past 18 years, they’ve raised more than $449,304 through the Harvest for All program. This past year, they raised more than $48,000, earning them first place in the statewide Harvest for All Top Contributor awards.

Awards for the top county Farm Bureau contributions and top three outstanding programs were recognized during Illinois Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting in downtown Chicago. Young Leader donations to address food insecurity are made as part of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national Harvest for All program.

Harvest for All Top Contributors awards recognized CFBs with outstanding hunger-relief programs. Each was selected based on a combination of overall pounds of food donated, volunteer efforts and dollars raised.

Winners in each category were also selected. Award recipients were given a cash prize to further their Harvest for All efforts.

Aside from placing first in the Harvest for All Top Contributors awards, Carroll County Young Leaders also were recognized specifically for most dollars raised and hours volunteered.

Fayette CFB Young Leaders earned second place overall, as well as first place for most pounds of food donated. Henry CFB Young Leaders came in third overall.

“The Carroll County Farm Bureau Young Leaders take a lot of pride in the Harvest for All,” said Chas Heeren, Carroll CFB manager. “They know the importance the donation means to the food pantries that serve those in need in our county.

“We also cannot say enough about the generosity of the farmers who continue to give each year. We certainly would not have the dollars raised if they didn’t also truly believe in feeding those in need.”

The Carroll County Young Leader group makes personal contact with farmers about donating grain, which they sell to the local elevator and turn the funding over to local food pantries.

Awards were also given to CFBs whose Harvest for All programs demonstrated innovation and success. Each winner received a cash prize to put toward their future execution of new ideas.

The title of Most Outstanding Harvest for All Programs went to Carroll County: Harvest for All Grain Collection; Edwards County: 4-H Food Drive; and Henry, Mercer and Rock Island Counties: Bushels for Hunger campaign.

“Farmers are feeding the world, but sometimes the world needs a little help getting nutritious food to those who need it most,” said Vanessa Wright, Young Leader program coordinator. “Illinois Young Leaders are proud and passionate to help food banks and pantries with that exact goal. They empower their peers, fellow members and others to maximize pounds of food donated, hours volunteered and dollars raised through leading by example.”

Other awards presented during the Young Leader Recognition Awards Program included:

Young Leader Achievement Award

  • Evan Hultine of Bureau County

Young Leader Excellence in Agriculture Award

  • Kaylee Heap of Kendall County

Most Outstanding Young Leader Program

  • White County, Young Leader Pistol Shoot
  • Mercer County, YMCA Staff Lunch & Learn
  • Knox County, Cover Crop Field Day
  • Kankakee County, Used Tire Recycling Collection
  • Will County, Golf Outing for Ag Education
  • Washington and Perry counties, Ag Industry Tour

Top County Young Leader Chair Award Winners

  • Ryan Williams, White County
  • Jeremy Flikkema, Carroll County
  • Kate Huffman, Henry County
  • Austin Granby, Kendall-Grundy

Friend of Young Leaders Winners

  • David Myer: LaSalle County Farm Bureau
  • Vice President
  • Greg Rohman: Energy Department Manager
  • at Gold Star FS
  • Steve Warrick Sr.: Will County
  • Farm Bureau president

Young Leader FB ACT Winner

Lance Buzzard, Fayette County