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Local agribusiness professional attends 87th annual conference

DECATUR – Randal S. Fransen, AFM of First National Bank of Dwight, joined about 130 agribusiness professionals at the 87th Annual Meeting of the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers (ISPFMRA) Feb. 12 through Feb. 14.

The meeting began with a full day educational seminar informing members about wind turbine valuation considerations.

The next day, the group heard from multiple agricultural professionals, including U.S. Farm Report host and contributing Farm Journal and Top Producer author, John Phipps, according to a news release.

Phipps is a sixth generation Illinois farmer who shared his unique and sometimes humorous perspective on the U.S. Agricultural picture.

The professional managers and appraisers also heard from attorney Michael Barton concerning tax and estate issues affecting Illinois farmland owners, according to the release.

A session focusing on Cellulosic Ethanol information was presented by John Pieper, Stover Workstream Leader for Dupont Pioneer. Mark Schweitzer, Director of Intermodal Container Freight for Archer Daniels Midland Company, also addressed the group.

Managers and appraisers at the meeting also were addressed by Deputy Director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Chad E. Shipmaker.

Shipmaker shared information concerning goals of the foundation, including farm scale testing of agricultural production and conservation farming methods.

The final activity was a Society Scholarship Auction. Members of the ISPFMRA participated in an auction that generated more than $9,000, which is used annually to provide Illinois agriculture college student scholarships.

The annual conference concluded with an appearance from Illinois Director of Agriculture, Robert Flider who presented a report on The State of Illinois Agriculture. A tour of the Caterpillar Facility in Decatur was the finale.

Fransen, Vice President and Farm Manager at First National Bank of Dwight, currently serves as president-elect of the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers.

His term as president of this statewide organization will begin in 2015. He holds the title of Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) from the American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers.

A limited number of Professional Farm Managers earn this designation following years of education, testing and practical experience managing farmland properties.

For more information on the Illinois Society, visit or call Fransen, AFM, at 815-584-1400.

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