Henry County Farm Bureau Director Jim DeCrane of Galva doesn’t shy away from making his views known when it comes to agricultural issues. In fact, DeCrane was recently honored for his outreach efforts and selected as Illinois Farm Bureau’s 2020 FB ACT winner.

As a member of FB ACT (IFB’s Farm Bureau Agricultural Contact Team), DeCrane responds to Farm Bureau action requests by contacting elected officials on key agricultural issues. IFB rewarded his efforts with a new iPad, his first one.

“I’m a firm believer everyone needs to hear farmers’ voices,” DeCrane recently told FarmWeek, during a quick break from chores. “I always try to say something related to those action requests.”

DeCrane represents part of a Henry County Farm Bureau tradition to work with elected officials, according to Katie Laleman, Henry County Farm Bureau manager.

“In Henry County, we take great pride in our members contacting their elected officials and acting whenever there are action requests,” Laleman said. “We’re proud our members, like Jim, take an active role and make their voices heard.”

The 2020 action requests centered on particularly challenging issues that included COVID-19 relief for farmers, opposition to passage of a state progressive income tax and the final passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, said Allie Breen, IFB policy development and advocacy program coordinator.

DeCrane said he responds to action requests within 10 minutes of receiving them. He calls or sends emails.

But he doesn’t stop there.

The active Farm Bureau member then urges his wife, his parents and “everyone I know who’s a Farm Bureau member” to also make their views known and respond to the action request.

“IFB is a great organization and opened my eyes to a world of new contacts,” DeCrane noted. “I strongly support others joining Farm Bureau and participating in action requests.”

Just like DeCrane, Henry County Farm Bureau won’t shy away from responding in the new year.

“We’re talking to members and directors to be prepared for whatever the year may bring,” Laleman said.