The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Pictured are Mr. and Mrs. Russ (Shari) Campbell of Henderson County (rural Little York) with their son J. C. (John) Campbell, the first to be elected as Illinois State FFA President. Also is FFA Adviser Scott Riden (right), Warren-United where he graduated this spring.
J.C. is spending half of his time this year traveling and promoting agriculture and the other half working at the state FFA office in Springfield. The Campbells farm in Henderson County and live just 3 miles west of the Warren County line on the Oquawka-Monmouth road.
J.C. Campbell of Henderson County/Rural Little York is quite happy to delay college a year, as he will be spending a year promoting agriculture.
He will be traveling the state and visiting chapters, banquets, conferences, and it could be possible he will be attending an event in Henderson County if contacts are made and secured at the State FFA Office in Springfield where J.C. will be when he is not traveling.
J.C. explained of his interest in FFA in a phone interview Monday from Springfield.
“It all started in Junior High when I saw my two older sisters take part. I saw them come out of their shells and step into leadership roles.
“For me it was huge draw. I became familiar with the FFA program through them. And I knew that was the path I wanted to go down, and I haven’t looked back since.”
When asked if he’d plan on being President, he said, “I never thought I would be president. I remember when they came to visit our chapter and thought it was really cool. But I was running for offices because I really wanted to take that opportunity to serve.”
J.C. continued in that until last year. That is when he served as Section President for our Section 4.”
J.C. explained there are 25 sections in Illinois and they come together to serve as the state officer team. Out of that team, 5 major state officers are selected, including State President, State Vice President, State Reporter, State Treasurer, and State Secretary.
To be eligible for the office of FFA State President you have to have served as a Section President.
J.C. also has acquired the necessary State FFA Degree.
“To obtain this you must keep a record book for 2 years of a supervised agricultural experience with a certain amount of money ($1500) and specified amount of hours and community service hours on top of that. At State convention there were 300 attendees who did that.
Over 5,000 attended the State FFA Convention at Springfield at the downtown Springfield, Ill State FFA Convention Center.
Not all FFA members come from the rural area. In fact, J.C. said because of the leadership skills that are obtained through FFA, there is a larger number of non rural than rural members.
“My book was on beef production, cattle, and forage production.” Because of his book, J.C. won the top State Proficiency Award.
With all his accomplishments, J.C. remains humble and gracious and says he is so appreciative of everyone’s support.
On their family farm they have a cow-calf operation, grow corn, soybean, rye, and wheat. The rye is a cover crop which they use for bedding for their cattle. They have a 350 cattle herd which is way over 400 after the calves are born.
“My biggest focus was on forage production,” J.C. said. “It worked better for my schedule and I took it and ran for it.” And it paid off as he received a plaque ard recognition at state convention for his fine work.
J.C. said his biggest influence came from his parents.
“My father taught me to work hard and be determined. And my mother kept me grounded teaching me to be humble, kind, and generous.”
“I acquired a lot of first hand knowledge through 4-H and from my home life. We would attend several county fairs so a big influence was my parents.”
J.C. said he started with cattle, sheep and pigs one year, then general crops and woodworking in 4-H.
“My father was in FFA in high school and mother didn’t have the opportunity but she showed cattle and was big in 4-H.”
All of this has been a big influence on J.C. and where he has traveled. This year he’ll be passing it forward as he helps others and educates them on the importance of agriculture.
J.C. will be especially busy at the Illinois State Fair today (Wednesday) which is Ag Day. He has a TV interview and will be talking about FFA Barnyard which is an actual barnyard set up on Grandstand Ave. He explains that it is not a petting zoo, but instead of entertainment it is about education and teaching the public of the importance of the farm and all that goes on there and its importance.
J.C. will also be walking with Congressman Cheri Bustos in the evening, and then he and the state officers will be taking part and helping with the Sale of Champions, and will meet with Governor Bruce Rauner there.
After his year as FFA State President, J.C. can go on with his college plans with a lot more experience and knowledge.