CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The Illinois Soybean Association, the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the Midwest Dairy Association recently announced 20 young people as the members of an agriculture class.

One of those honorees in Blane Olsen of Elkhart.

The honor is based on what these people do to contribute to the community. Olsen is a board member of Illinois Pork and a member of other pork organizations. But he is also providing show pigs for kids, and that is something that really looks toward the future.

“I am a District Four Director for the Illinois Pork Producers Association. It’s something we’ve done since I was a kid,” Olsen said. “My parents found value in the 4-H program and even generations on our farm have done it. I guess when I came home from Lake Land and Western Illinois, we took it to another level, I guess, and started treating it more like a business.”

“We sell pigs throughout the country. But also how we can touch the lives of those kids and try to make a positive impact, not only for agriculture, but maybe they go into the banking world or whatever it may be,” Olsen continued. “There are good kids in the 4-H and FFA programs and the NJSA and the Team Purebred Event that is going on in Springfield this week. It’s a great way to raise your kids.

Beyond that, Olsen is active in church and coaches kids in sports in school. That’s community spirit.

Blane Olson

“We were raised that way to be honest with you. My parents were involved in the community and my grandparents,” Olsen said. “The Elkhart and Mt. Pulaski communities have been closely knit since the ’70s when they combined schools and we were fortunate to be able to come back home and raise our kids.”

“Christie and I both are involved with the junior high over there. She’s coached cheerleading and I’ve been helping coach the basketball where they need us with the kids and stuff. And I’ve coach some in the summer and this and that, and we are involved,” Olsen continued. “We are members of the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church here in Elkhart. I actually sit on our county parish council. Christie helps teach Sunday School. The kids are involved as altar boys and things of that nature. We try to be as involved as we can and sometimes it seems like a lot, but I tell you it’s really rewarding.”

And that is exactly why Olsen was selected as being one of those 20 young people under 40.