IBA Member Awards

Your nominations for the Illinois Beef Association member awards are critical to recognize those individuals who "give their all" to make our industry the best it can be. Nominations can be made for your operation or on behalf of another producer. The winners will be recognized at the IBA Annual Meeting. We are very proud of the contributions made by the producers in our industry. This is an opportunity to recognize them both personally and professionally. 

*Producers that have won any of the following awards in the last 10 years are not eligible

Nominations are currently closed. 

Farm Family of the Year

To recognize a beef producer family in Illinois who has done an outstanding job in the production and promotion of beef and exemplified leadership skills on the county and state level. Farm Family of the Year will be awarded at IBA Summer Conference and presented at the Illinois State Fair.

Seedstock Breeder of the Year

To recognize a beef producer in Illinois who exemplifies integrity, leadership and success in the production and promotion of the purebred cattle industry.

Commercial Producer of the Year

To recognize a beef producer in Illinois who exemplifies integrity, leadership and success in the production and promotion of the commercial cattle industry.

Environmental Steward of the Year

To recognize a beef producer in Illinois whose natural resource stewardship practices protect the environment and contribute to productivity and profitability.

Outstanding Junior of the Year

To recognize a member of the Illinois Junior Beef Association who exemplifies integrity, leadership and commitment to being active in Illinois' beef cattle industry.

IBA Member of the Year 

(New in 2022) To recognize a member of the Illinois Beef Association that continually goes above and beyond to support the efforts of the Association, and demonstrates a commitment to the Illinois cattle industry, and its people. 

2022 Farm Family of the Year

J. WIllrett Farms, Jamie & Larisa Willrett

Jamie and Larisa Willrett, along with their children Justis, Olivia and Sawyer, own and operate a sixth-generation diversified cattle-feeding and grain farming enterprise in DeKalb County. Their long-standing commitment to the cattle feeding industry, continued focus on the beef consumer and legacy of contributions to their trade associations are just a few of the attributes that made them a standout. The Willrett family began farming in Northern Illinois in the 1850s. J. Willrett Farms was established in 1942 by Jamie’s grandfather. Today, the operation has a net feeding capacity of 12,000 head of steers annually. In addition to feeding cattle, the Willrett family also farms 4,000 acres of corn and soybeans. Jamie and Larisa are active as members and leaders in the Illinois Beef Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. Justis works on the family farm and serves on the DeKalb-Kane County Cattlemen’s Board, Olivia works in risk management for a cattle feedlot in Colorado and Sawyer is serving on the Nebraska Collegiate Cattlemen’s Board while finishing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

2022 Commercial Producer of the Year

Cramer Family Farms 

Cramer Family Farms is a multi-generational family farming operation that consists of 1500 acres, 250 head cow/calf operation, and the capacity for 500 head of finishing animals. Ron Cramer was an early adopter of intensive AI programs which led to genetic success and phenotypic predictability of their beef animals. In the early 90's Ron's daughter, Emily won the carcass contest at the Illinois State Fair. Fast forward to 2015, Ron and his son Lonnie discussed the direction and future of their cattle operation, and in 2016, their monoslope finishing barn was completed. Ron has always believed that farmers are caretakers of the land and livestock for the short time that we are on the earth. 

2022 Outstanding Junior of the Year

Garrett Rhode 

Garrett Rhode's passion for the cattle industry and commitment to those younger than him secured his spot as the Illinois Junior Beef Association President and the 2022 Outstanding Junior of the Year - two titles that he doesn't take for granted. With two younger brothers, Garrett understands the importance of serving as a role model and helping the next generation to succeed. 

Garrett is active in the Illinois Junior Simmental Association, the University of Illinois Hoof n' Horn club and is a member of the University of Illinois livestock judging team. Following graduation, Garrett knows he wants to stay involved in the livestock industry and continue helping his brothers to build their cow herd. 

2022 Seedstock Producer of the Year

C-mor Beef Farms, Art Farley 

C-MOR Beef Farms is nationally recognized as a premier Simmental operation. Art Farley has been a true innovator when it comes to raising Simmental cattle. Beginning in 1978, Art quickly recognized the value in black-hided cattle and began selecting based on color long before the practice became popular in the Simmental breed. His forethought in breeding for black-hided more moderate-framed cattle in the 1980s led to his program’s dominance. Over the years Art has raised many competitive show heifers, herd sires, and several prominent cow families trace back to the C-MOR brand. 

In 1997, Art founded the “Pride of the Prairie” Simmental influence production sale and hosted this sale for 15 years on his farm. Art was recognized as the Illinois Simmental Association Pioneer Breeder in 2017 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the breeding of Simmental cattle and for his support, service and contribution to the ISA. Art was an ISA Board of Directors member for 12 years, serving in every office as needed including President for six years.  Art has been an IBA member for decades. In 1991 C-MOR Beef Farms was selected as the IBA Commercial Producer of the Year. Art was a supporter of the IL Beef Expo from its inception--consigning sale cattle and donating to the Junior Heifer Show. Art was an ISA Board member when the Illinois Breed Associations came together with IBA to establish the Expo and was a supporter of the idea.

2022 Environmental Steward of the Year

Head Bros. Land & Cattle

Over the past decade the Head family has expanded their operation with guidance from various government programs which have helped them grow in a way that benefits their land and the environment. Through EQUIP they have put in miles of new fences, cross-fenced pastures, installed water lines and automatic waterers, rocked stream crossings and various other infrastructure. They have also built a dry pack barn which allowed them to run more cows without putting additional pressure on limited pastures. With this addition came more manure and a manure management plan. The operation has also entered into the Conservation Stewardship Program with NRCS which has brought a wide variety of conservation practices to the farm, from VRT fertilizer spreading, to cover crops which have allowed them to try new practices and learn what works and fits their operations. The Head family is dedicated to caring for their land and livestock to ensure a bright future for the next generation. 

2022 IBA Member of the Year

Al Lyman 

The inaugural recipient of the Member of the Year award, Al Lyman, is no stranger to the cattle industry. Originally from Iowa, Al became involved in his county beef association at a young age. Upon moving to Illinois, Lyman took every opportunity to learn from Warren Hadley, his now father-in-law, and Warren's father Gilbert L. Hadley, who served as National Cattlemen's Beef Association president from 1969-1970. Al became involved in the Henry County Beef Producers (IL) and was a member of the Young Beef Leaders program. Al has served in many leadership roles within the Illinois Beef Association and NCBA. Lyman just finished a three-year term as the NCBA Executive Committee Region III Federation Vice President, and currently is serving on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. 

Al Lyman continuously advocates for people to become more involved as a in the organizations where they benefit. He was even quoted saying "there is room for everyone at the table of leadership." Al is a shining light of leadership within the cattle industry while simultaneously promoting beef and improving his home cattle feeding operation along with his wife, Karen.  

Past Award Winners

View an archive of our past award winners!

2021 | Frost Family | Tallula

2020 | Edenburn Family | Penfield

2019 | Graff Land & Livestock | Middletown

2018 | Pfundstein Family | Sterling

2017 | Adams Farms | Sandwich

2016 | Kendall Tarr Family | Newton

2015 | Prescott Family | Sherman

2014 | Curt Rincker Family | Shelbyville

2013 | Mike McClelland Family | Bowen

2012 | Larson/ Martz Family | Maple Park

2011 | Kocher Family | Henry

2010 | Roger Nordman Family | Oregon

2009 | J. Willrett Family | Malta

2008 | Pfundstein Family | Sterling

2007 | Bliler Family | Mechanicsburg

2006 | Vern & Jean Schiller Family | McHenry

2021 | Lorenzen Farms | Chrisman

2020 | Double Diamond Angus | Chrisman

2019 | Adcock Land & Livestock | Moweaqua

2018 | Curtin Land & Cattle | Blue Mound

2017 | Tree Lane Farms | El Paso

2016 | Diamond A Farms | Altamont

2015 | Dameron Angus | Lexington

2014 | Prairie View Farms/Alan Miller | Gridley

2013 | Lowderman Cattle Company | Macomb

2012 | Wildberry Farms | Hanover

2011 | Murphy's Angus | Illiopolis

2010 | Perks Ranch | Rockford

2009 | Panther Creek Ranch | Bowen

2008 | Rincker Simmentals | Shelbyville

2007 | Musgrave Angus | Griggsville

2006 | Andras Stock Farm | Manchester

2005 | Tomlinson Farms | West Frankfort

2004 | Sauk Valley Angus | Rock Falls

2003 | Sunnyhill Angus Farm | Fairview

2002 | J. Ben Curtin | Taylorville

2001 | Max West | Omaha

2000 | Ellis Farms | Chrisman

1999 | Brecher Angus Farm | Groveland

1998 | John & Fred Curtain | Blue Mound

1997 | Kramer Farms | Farina

1996 | DeKap Angus | Lanark

1995 | Jim & JoAnn Enos | Stockton

1994 | Gerald & Lois Neher | Anna

1993 | Bill Eiten | Huntsville

1992 | Bud Hobbs | Good Hope

1991 | Norman Bruce & Les Mathers | Mason City

1990 | Lester & Tom Saxe | Thompsonviile

1989 | Bill & Steve Florshuetz | Sublette

1988 | Rincker Brothers | Strasburg

1987 | Jim Hall | Eddyville

1986 | Jay Book | Sterling

1985 | Ivan & Frank Rincker | Strasburg

1984 | Clifford & Bruce Betzold | Nokomis

1983 | Fred Killam | Jacksonville

1982 | Lawrence Meyer | Topeka

1981 | Stanley Nesemeier | Lanark

1980 | W.B. Williams | Plymouth

1979 | Herman Schaefer | Morris

1978 | Rock River Farms | Byron

1977 | Gibb Angus Farms | Piper City

1976 | Loren Schlipf | El Paso

2021 | O'Hern Stock Farms | Vermont

2020 | Weber Beef Inc. | Geneseo

2019 | Dean Beef & Bacon | Le Roy

2018 | ODK Wagenknecht Farms | Milledgeville

2017 | Kassing Farms | Mount Sterling

2016 | Bob Fidler Family | Fairview

2015 | Head Cattle/Dipper Farms | Blue Mound

2014 | Black Gold Ranch/Steve Foglesong | Astoria

2013 | Bill Bass | Cobden

2012 | Quarter B Farms | Pleasant Plains

2011 | Hadden Farms | Jacksonville

2010 | Slykhuis Farms | Raleigh

2009 | Gehrke Farms | Delavan

2008 | Stan & Lisa Buzzard | Beecher City

2007 | Freedom Hills Ranch | Mt. Carroll

2006 | Trevor & Jane Toland | Macomb

2005 | Larry & Barry Dowell | Stronghurst

2004 | Ken & Sara Nimrick | Stronghurst

2003 | David & Steven Krupps | Mt. Sterling

2002 | Cliff Schuette | Breese

2001 | Mark Kern | Mt. Vernon

2000 | Indian Knoll Cattle Company | Taylorville

1999 | Mike & Tom Endress | Tremont

1998 | Unsicker Farms | Peoria

1997 | Bill Boston | Roodhouse

1996 | Mike Kitley | Flora

1995 | Bill Hesler | Salem

1994 | David C. Howard | Hanover

1993 | Charles Postel | Rockbridge

1992 | Midland Coal Company | Farmington

1991 | Art Farley |Mahomet

1990 | Carl Hartweg | Carthage

1989 | Walt JoAn Mary & Mark Bollman | Ava

1988 | Ray Peugh | Sterling

1987 | Ed Whitaker | Forest City

1986 | Mike & Dave McGee | Catlin

1985 | Olin & Larry Kennedy | Forest City

1984 | Ransom Tompkins | Fairview

1983 | Delmar & Joyce Nelson | Elizabethtown

1982 | Jim Neumann | Milan

1981 | Harry & Rick Kline | LeRoy

1980 | William Romersberger | Eureka

1979 | G. W. Campbell | Villa Grove

1978 | Rober & Lloyd Simon | Princeton

1977 | Doug Vandermyde | Morrison

1976 | John Jameson | Canton

2021 | Wildberry Farms | Scales Mound

2020 | The Sanderson Family | Clare

2019 | Hillstown Farms | Marissa

2018 | Lamoreux Farms | Lanark

2017 | Isermann Farms | Streator

2014 | Trevor Toland | Macomb

2013 | Ted Krauskopf | Highland

2012 | Larson Farms Partnership | Maple Park

2011 | Pfundstein Farms | Sterling

2010 | Funk Farms Trust | Shirley

2009 | Irl Rincker Farmily | Shelbyville

2008 | Ron & Jeanne Helm | Oreana

2007 | Zane & Connie Schneider | Trenton

2006 | Jim & Mary Burrus | Jacksonville

2005 | Terry & Michele Rush | Pittsfield

2004 | Bill Rudow Family | Pana

2003 | Cliff Schuette Family | Breeze

2002 | Tom & Mike Endress | Tremont

2001 | Riddell Polled Herefords | Sparland

2000 | Clarence & David Allbritten | Belknap

1999 | Otis & Otto Rincker | Strasburg

1998 | Jim Doane | Barry

1997 | Alan Adams | Sandwich

1996 | Dean Larson | Prophetstown