Bureau celebrates anniversary at NIU

By Daniel T. McCarthy

The DeKalb County Farm Bureau will celebrate its 75th anniversary Saturday with a dinner and dance at NIU’s Holmes Student Center.

“This is a big event for the DeKalb area—with 1,200 to 1,300 people expected to attend,” Don Guehler, County Farm Bureau vice-president said.

The night’s agenda includes a business meeting at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m., a video presentation at 7 p.m. with Rozita Perez as keynote speaker and a dance at 8 p.m.

Perez was named Speaker of the Year by the National Management Association, the world’s largest association of professional managers, Guehler said.

Mariam Wassman, information specialist for the bureau, said the annual meeting will focus on Farm Bureau milestones. “In 1912 a group of farmers, bankers and newspapermen banded together for the purpose of improving farm life. At first, soil conservation was the major concern of the group, which was then called the DeKalb County Soil Improvement Association,” Wassman said.

Wassman said the association soon began working in other areas of farm life. “The county bureau began branching out by trying to improve production practices of livestock herds and improving crops by purchasing quality seed … By 1917, the seed purchasing business became too much for the bureau and a separate business was formed, now DeKalb-Pfizer Genetics, to handle seed problems,” she said.

Bureau membership reflects the diversification of the organization, with about 2,500 of the 6,000 members being non-farmers, Wassmann said. “A number of these non-farmers join the bureau because of its function as a legislative and governmental watchdog for the farmers’ interests,” she said.

Guehler, who is master of ceremonies for the evening, said the bureau has branched out through the years into marketing, educational and informational programs as well as family activities. The bureau also sponsors a number of sporting programs such as softball, baseball and tennis, he said.