Illinois Agri-Women Announce 2016 Award Winners

Illinois Agri-Women Announce 2016 Award Winners

The Illinois Agri-Women Award Committee Chair Denise Smith proudly announces the winners of the Illinois Agri-Women Hall of Fame, Outstanding Illinois Woman Farmer, and Illinois Agri Business Awards. These awards were established to honor women from Illinois who have devoted their time and energy to enhance the role of women in agriculture production and business. The awards have been given annually each summer since 2013.

Christina Moser Wilson winner of the 2016 Illinois Agri Women Hall of Fame Award with Denise Smith, Illinois Agri-Women Awards Committee Chair at the Illinois State Fair.

The winner of the Illinois Agri-Women Hall of Fame award is Christina Mosher Wilson. Chris was born and raised on a 600-acre grain and livestock farm in Knox County. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in animal science. Chris parlayed this degree into an illustrious career beginning at the Illinois Department of Agriculture where she was involved with the development of a publicity for the Agri-Data kits, the forerunner to Ag in the Classroom. Chris became a very enthusiastic member of IAW. She followed the director to Washington D.C where she continued to promote agriculture education at the state level. She later served as the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture in the state of Kansas. Chris has served in various capacities with American Agri-Women, including President, throughout the years. She has never forgotten the important role women play in agriculture. Chris was nominated by Linda Swiercinsky, IAW immediate past president and received her award at the Illinois State Fair during the AG day festivities. Christina currently resides in Manhattan, KS.

Mary Meinhart (left) winner of the 2016 Illinois Agri-Women Outstanding Illinois Farmer Award with Denise Smith, Chair of the IAW Awards Committee.

Mary Meinhart of Montrose, Illinois is this year’s winner of the Outstanding Illinois Woman Farmer. Mary has been a strong partner of her husband Dan not only in farming but their joint farming operation, Meinhart Farms. They operated a farrow to finish hog operation for many years during which time Mary became involved with the County and State Porkettes organizations. In addition to the production operation, Mary is involved in the accounting/record keeping for the Meinhart Farms bringing it into the computer age. She is a long-time member of IAW and American Agri-Women. She has served as the Secretary and Treasurer of IAW as well as numerous committees. Mary is a consistent IAW representative at statewide events such as the Illinois AG Round Table and Illinois AG Legislative Day in Springfield. Mary received her award at the IAW meeting September 16. She was nominated by Penny Lauritzen, WCFA Committee.

Karen Blatter (left) winner of the 2016 Illinois Agri-Women Illinois Agri Business Award pictured with Denise Smith, Chair of the IAW Awards Committee.

Karen Blatter was presented with the Illinois Agri Business Award. She is the Editor of Country Spirit and a Communication Specialist for 1st Farm Credit Services, Normal IL. Karen handles external and internal communications, publications, public relations, youth and young farmer programs, scholarships, and a grant program for the association. She is the editor of the association’s quarterly magazine, Country Spirit, which often features clients whom Karen has visited and interviewed throughout the association territory in the northern half of Illinois. Karen has been student committee chair and a volunteer for the IAW career discovery event “Women Changing the Face of Agriculture” for six years. Despite the fact that Karen grew up in an urban community, she was drawn to the agriculture industry. Karen has effectively shared producers’ stories and encouraged young women to seek careers in agriculture despite the high percentage of males in most agriculture career tracks. She received her award at the IAW meeting on September 16. Karen was nominated by Penny Lauritzen, WCFA Committee.

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