CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Central Illinois agriculture began around the 1820s and a lot of grandfathers contributed to the way farms are organized and how they operate today.

We begin with Jim Reed of Deland telling about his. 

“Well, I have a heritage that my grandparents and my parents were all very active in different boards and organizations as a way that they could give back to the community, and try to improve both the community and the industry,” Reed said. 

“We’re the fifth generation farming in this area,” said Leroy’s Rick Dean. “This was my grandpa’s farm.” 

Dean has been at the top of two commodity organizations in Illinois, and no wonder why. 

“My mom was a little girl during the Depression and she made sure that we understood the hard work and conservative lifestyle of her parents that enable us to farm today,” Dean said.

“I guess it’s in my blood. It’s all I’ve ever done, it’s what my dad done, my grandparents done,” said Mike Stacey of Niantic. “That’s what I’m doing, I enjoy it. We don’t always do it for the profit but we enjoy doing it.”

“Our family settled this area around Buffalo Hart in the late 1820s. In the next seven or eight years, I think it will be 200 years,” said Buffalo Hart’s John Hawkins. “We’ve added on little sections throughout the years and it’s a nice operation, a good family farm.”  

“My father always asked me ‘What are you going to do when you grow up?’ and then he said ‘Well you’re going to farm,'” said Jim Cravens, also of Buffalo Hart. “And you did what your parents told you.”

“And I would add that we’ve got to give a lot of credit to our grandparents,” Hawkins said. “They knew where to settle. You couldn’t find better farmland here in central Illinois.”

“I love farming. I hope I instill that into my son,” said Oakley’s Steve Meyer. “Great- great-grandparents both farmed. We take those values that have been passed down to us and keep them going and that’s what I’m trying to instill in my son and hopefully he will instill in his son.”